Staff Directory 10644496

Jon Bream

Reporter and critic | Pop music
Phone: 612-673-1719

Jon Bream has been a music critic at the Star Tribune since 1975, making him the longest tenured pop critic at a U.S. daily newspaper. He has attended more than 8,000 concerts and written four books (on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan). Thus far, he has ignored readers’ suggestions that he take a music-appreciation class.

Bream has interviewed such music royalty as the King of Pop (Michael Jackson), the Queen of Soul (Aretha Franklin) and Prince as well as Bob Dylan, U2, three Beatles, four Rolling Stones and all of Maroon 5. He has performed with Alice Cooper, jogged with Willie Nelson and walked the streets of New York with Bruce Springsteen. A longtime voter for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bream has also written for the Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Vibe and other publications. He has a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, where he established the Jon Bream Scholarship for Arts Criticism.
Recent content from Jon Bream
A 1963 photo of Bob Dylan from Tony Glover’s personal collection, shot by Don Hunstein in Dylan’s New York apartment, (Courtesy RR Auction.)

12 things we learned from this unpublished 1971 Bob Dylan interview

In a rare straightforward chat, he told Tony Glover why he changed his name and what song he wrote for Barbra Streisand.
Bruce Springsteen performs during the closing ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto on Sept. 30, 2017. Springsteen's latest album, "Letter To Yo

Review: In latest release, Bruce Springsteen sends a vibrant 'Letter' about mortality

The 12-song disc ends up being both something of a retrospective and perhaps a valediction, Jon Bream says.
Local piano institution Butch Thompson, who is celebrating the release of his new album with the Southside Aces at Crooners.

Minnesota jazz piano hero Butch Thompson celebrates a new album while battling memory loss and hand disease

Pianist Butch Thompson touts a new album while fighting memory loss and a disease that affects his hands.
Joey Molland headed home from the Villa recording studio in Savage.

Badfinger's Joey Molland makes a solo album with a little help from his Beatle-y friends

"Be True to Yourself," his sixth solo album and the first in seven years, has echoes of John, Paul, George and sometimes even Ringo.
Marilyn Maye, 92-year-old queen of cabaret, performed in first of four nights in a newly heated outdoor tent at Crooners in Fridley on Wednesday. Nico

At a big top in Fridley, 92-year-old singer shows her musical and comic mastery

The 92-year-old cabaret queen beguiled with music and humor in a big tent at Crooners.

Massive reissue of Prince's best album shows he had 'no time for self-pity' in 1987

The super-deluxe reissue of "Sign o' the Times" shows the masterwork still holds up — and then some.
Krysta Ruiz took a picture of a waterfall as she and Ryan Sanchez visited the Japanese Gardens at Como Conservatory.

Pandemic is perfect time to savor the gardens at St. Paul's Como Park

St. Paul attraction offers some Zen and a little paradise, too.
COVID survivor Nachito Herrera will livestream a performance at the Dakota later this month.

No concerts? Even so, there's no lack of options for music fans

Chris Riemenschneider and Jon Bream Star Tribune Just when music fans finally started getting out again, the weather is pulling them back in. COVID-era…
BrownMark performs with The Revolution during Rock the Garden outside Walker Art Center in 2017. Star Tribune file

Bassist BrownMark's life with Prince & the Revolution detailed in new memoir

Bandmate BrownMark: 'He left me in a hotel room for three days'
Pepe Willie outside the Capri Theater, where he helped put together Prince's first professional concert. Shari L. Gross •

Prince's early mentor Pepe Willie tells his rock 'n' roll tale in new memoir

Early mentor Pepé Willie: 'We used to call him the Lonely Guy'
Nachito Herrera says a melody came into his head when he awoke from a coma, which he turned into a piece called “Hope.”

Minnesota pianist on surviving COVID-19: 'This is the worst thing I've had in 54 years of my life'

After a nearly fatal case of COVID-19, Minnesota pianist Nachito Herrera will play a mini-grandstand concert.
Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams sounds off: 'I haven't lost my idealism and my spirit'

Three-time Grammy winner Lucinda Williams will kick off the Star Tribune State Fair's virtual grandstand, a 12-day online concert series, on Thursday.
Guitarist Pat Donohue of “Praire Home Companion” plays a show at Dick Cohn’s home in St. Paul.

Tiny porch concerts are lifesavers for Twin Cities musicians, fans

Pat Donohue is perched at the top of the front steps with his acoustic guitar. At the bottom of the steps sits a…
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on police use of force and community relations on on Capitol Hill, Tu

Klobuchar explains her new bill to Rolling Stone: 'I don't want to lose music in America'

In an op-ed article, she argues that Congress should provide financial aid to independent music venues like First Avenue.
Maria Schneider

Grammy-winning Maria Schneider takes on Big Data in latest work

The Minnesota native releases a riveting double album, "Data Lords."
Josh Countryman, a choir teacher at Henry Sibley High School, worked from his garage studio. Countryman taught himself how to do virtual choirs and pu

From Minnesota high schools to Children's Theatre, virtual choirs catch on

Choirs overcome these pandemic times by blending technology and solo singing into virtual performances, some of which are included.
Jimmy Page’s guitar in Willie’s American Guitars in St Paul.

How Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page lost his prized guitar in Minneapolis and got it back 45 years later

This is the story of Black Beauty. Not the horse, but a legendary guitar. And the people who possessed it. Or were possessed by it.
The music camp in its 14th year goes virtual this summer, with an emphasis on what goes on behind the scenes to create songs.

Minnesota rock camp focuses on getting more girls into studio technology

The annual She Rock She Rock music camp goes virtual this year.
Former "Voice" contestants Kat Perkins and Nick Davis in the Dunsmore Jazz Room at Crooners Supper Club. Former "Voice" contestants Kat Perkins and Ni

'The Voice' contestants Kat Perkins and Nicholas David find lasting success in Minnesota

One-time national contestants have come home to build their careers.
Reid McLean

Reid McLean, organizer of Orchestra Hall's 'Day of Music,' died at 69

He had the vision, broad musical tastes and technical know-how as well as the confidence, patience and stamina to pull off a festival featuring 24…
Sounds of Blackness

This Juneteenth, listen to a powerful new protest anthem by Sounds of Blackness

Inspired by George Floyd and Fannie Lou Hamer, the Grammy-winning group drops its fiery, fierce "Sick and Tired."
Musician Bob Dylan onstage during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.

On 'Rough and Rowdy Ways,' Bob Dylan shows he's still delightfully confounding

On his first record of original material since 2012, he discusses mortality, history, inspiration and pop culture.
Joyann Parker sang on an outdoor stage with her Patsy Cline tribute band during a Crooners parking lot concert drive-in movie style.

5 places to see live music in the Twin Cities this week (yes, in person!)

A few venues are plugging back in with limited capacities.
Alan Leeds at home with a couple of James Brown items from his collection.

Edina man writes part history, part memoir about soul star James Brown — his ex-boss

Edina author writes about his "wild fantasy" years working with the Godfather of Soul.
Crooners’ drive-in concert series has been a big hit, but as the weather warms the supper club is transitioning to larger tent shows.

Live music in Twin Cities will return in new formats indoors and outside

Promoters get innovative with concert settings.
Twin Cities R&B favorite Joyann Parker opened Crooners' drive-in concert series with her Patsy Cline tribute band.

They gave a sitting ovation, at Twin Cities' first drive-in concert since pandemic

A drive-in concert at Crooners Monday evening brought live concerts back to the Twin Cities.
Bob Dylan, seen here in Martin Scorsese's "Rolling Thunder Revue" documentary, has been keeping fans guessing for decades.

At 79, Bob Dylan reminds us he's still full of surprises

"Murder Most Foul" is the latest unexpected move from the birthday boy. Here are 17 more surprises from throughout his career.
Bill Pagel at Bob Dylan's former Hibbing home.

Collector owns both of Bob Dylan's childhood homes – and his highchair

Bill Pagel has more than 15,000 photos, 4,000 concert posters and 18 four-drawer file cabinets filled with manuscripts and ephemera.
6 cool things in music this week include X, Jason Isbell, Avalon Jazz Band and Fergus Falls band director

6 cool things in music this week include X, Jason Isbell, Avalon Jazz Band and Fergus Falls band director

Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view. Ross Anderson of Marshall, Minn.:1 "Candide Overture" by the CNSMDL Clarinet…
Prince at the Met Center in 1982.

Prince breaks ground with new channel on SiriusXM

The new Prince Channel is SiriusXM's first devoted solely to one artist of color. And it's free this month.
Andrew Walesch

Crooners pulls plug on outdoor concerts

Plans to stage shows à la drive-in movies violate Gov. Tim Walz's latest directive.
Semisonic performed at 2019’s Basilica Block Party.

26th annual Basilica Block Party is the latest summer music festival to cancel

The popular fundraiser for the Basilica of St. Mary is called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Debbie Duncan performed in March at Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club in Fridley.

Crooners to bring live music back with parking-lot concerts

The Fridley supper club will offer live music in a drive-in movie style format during virus pandemic.
Prince performed at the old Met Center in Bloomington on March 7, 1982, a concert that was filmed for a never-finished movie called “The Second Comi

Our Prince wish list: 12 more items we hope to unearth from his fabled vault

Here's a wish list of 12 cherished items from Prince's fabled vault.
Legendary Cuban jazz performers jam in documentary film "The Buena Vista Social Club" (1999), directed by Wim Wenders.

From Amy Winehouse to ZZ Top: 27 great music documentaries

Go behind the scenes with some of the greatest stars and those you might have just met.
After burning out on bar gigs and guitar retail, Molly Maher turned to yoga, nature and a new way of making music, which can be heard on “Follow,”

Minnesota music queen Molly Maher pivots, finding new outlets and a new album

Minnesota music hero Molly Maher pivots, finding new outlets and a new album.
Nirvana, “MTV Unplugged in New York”

Singing the concert cancellation blues? Get your live music fix with these 25 films

With no concerts in town, these movie definitely guarantee a great performance to enjoy.
Twin Cities celebrity Fancy Ray McCloney at Elsa’s House of Sleep, a client of the TV pitchman/comedian. He’ll have a listening party on his Faceb

It's Fancy Ray McCloney Day in the Twin Cities: 'His shtick is almost like a spell'

Fancy Ray McCloney celebrates his debut album, "The Best Looking Man in Comedy."
Leslie Odom Jr.

Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr. on 'Hamilton' the movie: 'I'll be seeing it with fresh eyes'

Actor/singer, who won a Tony Award for portraying Aaron Burr, has been concentrating on his musical career.
Donna Pochie wears 'Irish' glasses during the South Side Irish Parade Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2019, in Chicago.

Could you use 'the luck of the Irish'? 13 songs for St. Patrick's Day

With St. Patrick's Day approaching, we recommend these songs about luck — good, bad and hopeful.
"We will do everything they ask us to do," Crooners owner Mary Tjosvold said Monday after hearing the governor's order to close all restaurants, bars

The last concert (for now) in Twin Cities was an uplifting evening at Crooners

Sunday's show at Crooners was about uplift in uncertain times.
Terry Walsh, right, leads the Belfast Cowboys. Photo by Renee Jones Schneider •

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Joe Bonamassa, Wynonna Judd & Belfast Cowboys

The big gigs for March 13-19, also including Leslie Odom Jr., Ana Popovic, Steve Aoki and good ol' REO.
Kenny Chesney has postponed his May 2 concert at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Twin Cities concerts are canceling over virus: 'This is all uncharted'

Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Rage and Lumineers called off their local concerts, but many upcoming shows are still on. For now.
As the new executive director at Paisley Park, Alan Seiffert talks about “amplifying Paisley Park as a creative sanctuary.”

Paisley Park gets a reboot: You can take cellphone pics, and even drink, too

Welcome to the post-Elvis era at Paisley Park. Four years after Prince's death, his Chanhassen studio has come alive again under a new director.
Bob Weir, Jay Lane, and Don Was, from left, of the Wolf Bros. during the first song of their show at the Palace Theatre in 2018.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Bob Weir, Best Coast, Three 6 Mafia, Black Lips

The big gigs for March 6-12, also including Hayes Carll with Allison Moorer, Omar Sosa, Yonder Mountain String Band, Liv Warfield, Wilco in Duluth and more.
Tanya Tucker hits Grand Casino Hinckley after Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings co-produced her latest album.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Rufus du Sol, Saint Motel, Tanya Tucker, Wire

The big gigs for Feb. 28-March 5, also including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bill Frisell, Sudan Archives, Destroyer and Kamasi Washington.
The Band (from left): Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm. The group is the subject of the new film "Once Were B

In a new film, rock legend Robbie Robertson remembers his brothers in song

The Rock Hall of Famer talks about the breakup of the Band, the booing of Bob Dylan and his new documentary.
Prince left behind a $100 million fortune to six sibling heirs — one of whom has now died.

Death of Prince heir complicates estate settlement even more

The death of Prince's brother, along with his contested will, and deals signed with entertainment company Primary Wave, are raising new questions in the efforts to settle the musician's estate.
Common performs before the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Chicago.

6 cool things in music this week include Brandi Carlile, Billie Eilish, Common, Rosanne Cash and Justin Bieber

Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.   Lisa Dahlseid of Robbinsdale: 1 Brandi Carlile, the Fillmore Minneapolis.…
Producer, songwriter and former pop hitmaker Raphael Saadiq plays First Avenue on Saturday touting his ambitious and personal new album, "Jimmy Lee."

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Big Turn Fest, Buddy Guy, Jill Scott, Raphael Saadiq

The big gigs for Feb. 21-27, also including Dashboard Confessional, the Cedar Commissions, Big Head Todd, Ben Noble and Echosmith.
Joe Henry released his latest album, “The Gospel According to Water,” in November. He plays Thursday at the Dakota in Minneapolis.

Joe Henry on fighting cancer and performing: 'I know that music saved my life'

Headed to Minneapolis, singer Joe Henry beat cancer to deliver a remarkable album.
Brandi Carlile performed at the Fillmore Minneapolis on Wednesday.

New Fillmore Minneapolis music club gets most things right but ...

Great sound is highlight of the new music club in North Loop.
Rosanne Cash will return to the Guthrie Theater on Monday.

At 64, Rosanne Cash says women her age have 'a lot to say, and a lot less to lose'

Rosanne Cash is not shy about speaking out when she's 64: "Women my age still have a lot to say, and we have a lot less to lose."
Heart Bones: Sabrina Ellis and Har Mar Superstar.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Iron & Wine with Calexico, Sudaka Fest, Heart Bones and the Suburbs

This big gigs for Feb. 14-20, also including Tove Lo, Ellis Delaney's release party, memorials for Ed Ackerson and Lexii Alijai, Rosanne Cash, a Louisiana twofer and a Paisley Park party with Meshell Ndegeocello.
Brandi Carlile performed at the Fillmore Minneapolis in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Brandi Carlile goes small for big event to open Fillmore Minneapolis

The Twin Cities hadn't experienced the singer-songwriter in an all-acoustic setting.
Brantley Gilbert, shown performing in 2013 at the Minnesota State Fair, played to a crowd of 8,000 at the Target Center on Friday.

Rowdy Brantley Gilbert brings bro-country to town

There was nothing subtle about his AC/DC concert for rednecks .
Roddy Ricch makes his Twin Cities debut Tuesday at First Ave after scoring a No. 1 hit with "The Box."

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Brantley Gilbert, Roddy Ricch, Korn, Brandi Carlile

The big gigs for Feb. 7-13, also including Robert Randolph, Grace Potter, an Otto's Chemical Lounge farewell and release parties by Sarah Morris, Sam Cassidy and Gambler's Daughter.
King Princess and her Cheap Queen Tour made a stop Feb. 4 at the Palace Theater in St. Paul.

It was coronation night for King Princess at St. Paul's Palace

In an exuberant Palace show, the singer proved that she has the stuff of pop royalty. All she needs now are hits.
Theo Crocker played the Instrument of Hope last summer at Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Made from bullets and hope, this trumpet will sound at Minneapolis concerts

A Twin Cities singer is bringing the Instrument of Hope, inspired by a Florida school shooting, to Minneapolis in honor of her sons' school lunchroom helper: Philando Castile.
Michael Kiwanuka plays the Palace Theatre on Monday touting his most acclaimed album yet.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Michael Kiwanuka, King Princess, Drone Not Drones, Armin van Buuren

The big gigs for Jan. 31-Feb. 6, also including Andrew Broder's Don't [Bleep] This Up fundraiser, Trippie Redd, Juliana Hatfield, Temples and Erik Koskinen's residency kick-off.
Alicia Keys, from left, and Dua Lipa present Billie Eilish with the award for best new artist at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 26, 202

Billie Eilish sweeps Lizzo in a historic Grammy battle of the newcomers

Lizzo seized her Grammy moment, but 18-year-old Billie Eilish pulled off a historic sweep of the top prizes.
In an effort to make up for a faux pas, female performers and host Alicia Keys were added to the 2019 Grammy Awards. Keys returns this weekend to host

Ouster of the Grammys' first female boss taints a strong year for women

Despite a stellar list of women nominees, misconduct claim has tainted Sunday's show.
Cardi B performed for only 50 minutes when she played Target Center in July.

How short is too short for a concert? Twin Cities fans, promoters weigh in

Headliners should play for well over an hour — but it all depends on audience expectations.
Yola performed at the Fine Line early in her sold out show Wednesday night.

In Minneapolis debut, British singer Yola proves she's award-worthy

The Grammy-nominated newcomer impressed in her Twin Cities debut.
North Mississippi All-Stars, led by brothers Luther Dickinson (second from right) and Cody Dickinson (right), return to town Saturday at the Fine Line

Twin Cities concerts of the week: North Mississippi Allstars, Your Smith, Crystal Method, Dolly Parton tribute

The big gigs for Jan. 17-23, also including Jordan Davis, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Marielle Allschwang and Ron Pope.
Yola performed during the Americana Honors & Awards show in Nashville.

The road from homelessness to happiness brings British singer Yola to Minneapolis

British vocalist Yola has gone from homelessness to happiness — with an Americana album, no less.
Yola makes her Twin Cities debut Wednesday at the Fine Line after earning a best new artist nomination in the Grammys.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Yola, Nico Muhly with Pekka Kuusisto, Cash and Joplin tributes

The big gigs for Jan. 10-16, also including a benefit for the Cedar Ave. tower fire victims, G. Love, Peter Asher, Taylor McFerrin, the Mad Ripple Hootenanny and Atmosphere.
Jack Torrey and Page Burkum of the Cactus Blossoms are once again settling in for weekly Monday gig at the Turf Club in January, where Charlie Parr is

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Charlie Parr, Cactus Blossoms, Keith Sweat and Radio K residency

The big gigs for Jan. 3-9, also including Rachael Kilgour, Le Vent du Nord and the Whiskey's Funky Sweater party.
Soul Asylum (Winston Roye, Dave Pirner and Michael Bland are pictured.)credit: Soul Asylum

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Snowta festival, Soul Asylum, Cheap Trick, PaviElle

The big gigs for Dec. 27-Jan. 1, also including Heiruspecs, Anonymous Choir, Flipp and the Honeydogs.
The Jayhawks return to the Palace Theatre on Saturday fresh off recording a new album. From left: Tim O'Reagan, Karen Grotberg, Gary Louris and Mark P

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jayhawks, JD McPherson, the Bad Plus, Little Fevers

The big gigs for Dec. 20-26, also including Kinda Kinky, Mark Mallman's Peace on Earth, Paul Metsa's 40th anniversary, the BoDeans, Sara Evans and a Willie Walker tribute.
From left, siblings Fred, Jearlyn, Billy, Jevetta and J.D. Steele sang at Jevetta’s Golden Valley home.

In a Twin Cities living room, the Steeles cook up their 35th annual Christmas show

The Steeles' annual Christmas show is a family affair, brewed up in a Golden Valley living room.
"Gift box with sheet music wrapping paper, on a red background with plenty of copy space.The wrapping paper is a section of Beethoven's Symphony Numbe

20 gift ideas for the music lovers on your holiday list

Giving the gift of music can be tricky. We're here to help, with suggestions for music lovers of all ages and styles.
Duluth trio Low marks the 20th anniversary of its "Christmas" album Friday at the Fitzgerald Theater.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Holiday shows by Low, Blenders and Sounds of Blackness plus Brother Ali & D4

The big gigs for Dec. 13-19, also including the Joy Formidable, Alexander O'Neal and 311.
Katy Perry, who performed last weekend during the B96 Jingle Bash in Rosemont, Ill., stuck to her hits Monday at Jingle Ball.

Katy Perry, Camila Cabello sparkle at the Jingle Ball in St. Paul

  KDWB’s Jingle Ball can be viewed as an annual December parade of pop stars in one long teen-thrilling concert on a school night. Or…
FILE - In a Sunday, April 7, 2019 file photo, Reba McEntire arrives at the 54th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena,

Country star Reba McEntire announces spring concert at Xcel Energy Center

Tickets to see the three-time Grammy winner go on sale Friday.