Staff Directory 6370499

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
Jackson Browne performed on Monday, Nov. 29, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Review: James Taylor's got a friend in Jackson Browne in St. Paul

Review: The comforting quintessential '70s singer-songwriters were comfortable sharing personal stories about the Twin Cities.
Silk Sonic is Anderson.Paak and Bruno Mars.

6 cool things in music: Silk Sonic, Gully Boys, Rock Hall induction and more

On "Tonight Show," Kristin Chenoweth shares details about her date with Prince.
New Minneapolis super duo Dave King and Leo Kottke at the Dakota

Guitar great Leo Kottke and drum master Dave King form a new Minneapolis super duo

Kottke's traditional Thanksgiving concert has become a three-night duo stint at the Dakota.
Jon Batiste received 11 Grammy Award nominations, including ones for album of the year and record of the year.

Young pop stars, Jon Batiste and good ol' Tony Bennett top the 2021 Grammy race

Prince and Dylan received nods but Adele wasn't eligible despite having 2021's best-selling album.
Chris Botti performs in Napa, Calif.

In Minneapolis, jazz trumpeter Chris Botti comes across like Ed Sullivan

Review: He trotted out guests including an operatic tenor, balletic violinist, R&B vocalist and Rolling Stones saxophonist.
Taylor Swift

6 cool things in music this week include Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Taylor Swift and Divinity Roxx

Shout-outs, too, to the Suburbs, Suicide Commandos, Vial and Brothers Osborne.
Tim McGraw will headline Winstock country fest in 2022.

Tim McGraw, Jake Owen will headline Winstock country fest in 2022

Minnesota's first-of-the-season country hoedown will also feature Brothers Osborne and Jimmie Allen on June 17-18.
Bob Dylan in 1963.

Bob Dylan Center acquires early recordings before the singer was famous

The artifacts include 1960-61 tapes in a Madison, Wis., apartment and his first big concert in New York City in '61.
The cast of ‘Rondo ‘56’ rehearses at Crooners. From left, pianist Dan Chouinard and singers Charmin Michelle, T. Mychael Rambo and Thomasina Pet

In words and songs, 'Rondo '56' tells the story of St. Paul's Black neighborhood displaced by I-94

The stage show delivers a tough message through song: "Music opens and heals the wounds at the same time."
T.J. Osborne, left, and John Osborne of Brothers Osborne celebrate CMA Award for best vocal duo

In Minneapolis, Brothers Osborne show country is inclusive but not for everyone

Review: They celebrated another CMA vocal duo of the year award with guitar fireworks and post-Halloween skeletons.
LL Cool J

6 cool things in music this week include Dave Grohl, Jennifer Hudson, Duran Duran and Billy Strings

A half-dozen cool recent things in music, from two points of view:Trevor Tinberg of St. Paul:1 Duran Duran, "Future Past." Their 15th studio album features…
James Walsh of longtime Minneapolis rock band Gypsy.

Celebrating 50 years, Minnesota rock legends Gypsy release a COVID-fueled album

Singer James Walsh said the new songs came to him in the night as he battled coronavirus last winter.
Marisha Wallace at the Dakota

Broadway star Marisha Wallace shows off her wondrous voice in Minneapolis debut

Review: There were many wow moments including "Purple Rain" in Prince's hometown
Thomas Rhett

Get ready for a rockin' country New Year's Eve with Thomas Rhett in St. Paul

The "Beer Can't Fix" hitmaker will headline the Wild's Winter Classic NYE's Bash at Xcel Energy Center
Elvis Costello performs Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 at First Avenue in Minneapolis.

In overdue First Ave debut, Elvis Costello triumphs with humor, classics and rockin' new tunes

Review: The Rock Hall of Famer reflected on his 1978 Minneapolis debut and previewed his urgent-sounding 25th album.
Brandy Clark

Our Friday Best: Dave Chappelle, Brandy Clark, 'Little Women,' flying pigs & more

Critics' picks for entertainment in the week ahead.
Bob Dylan returned to the stage Tuesday in Milwaukee with a revamped band.

After 2-year concert hiatus, ever-surprising Bob Dylan returns to embrace his 'Rough and Rowdy Ways'

REVIEW: A reassuring Milwaukee gig showcased new material and some choice oldies.
Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey turns to her 'sisters' for help in painting 'Blue Banisters'

POP/ROCKLana Del Rey, "Blue Banisters" (Interscope)The melodically roving title track to the ever-prolific Del Rey's second album of 2021 feels like a kind of spiritual…
Mick Jagger, drummer Steve Jordan and Keith Richards rocked at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 24.

Review: Without their heartbeat Watts, Rolling Stones stage a good but not great show in Minneapolis

REVIEW: The usually manic Mick Jagger paced himself in a performance at US Bank Stadium that was short on fireworks.
A look back at every Rolling Stones concert in the Twin Cities, 1964-2015

A look back at every Rolling Stones concert in the Twin Cities, 1964-2015

The Stones have toured here 11 times over the years, leading up to Sunday's show at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Mick Jagger, center, of the Rolling Stones with bandmates, from left, Ron Wood, Steve Jordan and Keith Richards,

How can Rock Hall of Famers go on after losing a key bandmate? Lessons for the Rolling Stones

Ultimately it's all about the music, fans and other musicians say.
Dale Skjerseth, Rolling Stones production manager

Rolling Stones production manager started his career with Minneapolis bands

He takes problems to the tour's accountants, not Mick Jagger.
The Weeknd

The Weeknd calls off St. Paul show and his entire arena tour, aiming for stadiums next summer

No word on stadium dates but refunds will be automatically given for Jan. 21 Xcel Energy Center concert.
Martin Short, left, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez

Comedy legend Steve Martin gets serious about bullying, Selena Gomez and his upcoming Minnesota event

As his Hulu series "Only Murders in the Building" wrapped up, he talked about the virtual Q&A he'll do for PACER Center next month.
Christopher Cross

After COVID-related paralysis, '80s hitmaker Christopher Cross is 'Sailing' back to Minnesota

Headed to Treasure Island for a concert Saturday, he talks yacht rock and Billie Eilish.
Erykah Badu wowed at the Armory in Minneapolis.

Erykah Badu performs her neo-soul magic at the Armory in Minneapolis

REVIEW: In her first Twin Cities headline gig in 20 years, Badu mesmerized with her voice, visuals and aura.
Old Dominion: Whit Sellers, Brad Tursi, Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen and Geoff Sprung.

Country stars Old Dominion take fans on breezy ride at Mystic Lake

Special guest Caitlyn Smith sparks the beguilingly casual Nashville band
Lady Gaga

6 cool things in music this week include Tony Bennett, 'Frozen' and Jason Isbell

Six cool things in music this week, from two points of view:Ryan Johnson of Plymouth:Durand Jones and the Indications, "Witchoo." This song from the new…
 Luke Bryan

Minnesota's We Fest will roar back with Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert in 2022

Specially priced general-admission tickets will go on sale Tuesday.
Don Henley, left, and Vince Gill performing in 2019 in Los Angeles.

The Eagles revisit 'Hotel California' in St. Paul

REVIEW: The long concert was a generous, nostalgic treat.
Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay, shown at the 14th Annual ACM Honors at Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, in Nashville, Te

Dan + Shay find the right formula for success in concert

REVIEW: With imaginative and over-the-top enthusiasm, the country duo thrilled a Target Center crowd.

6 cool things in music this week include Harry Styles, Questlove, Davina & the Vagabonds, and Delfeayo Marsalis

Six cool things in music this week, from two points of view:Laura Pugh, Golden Valley:1 Davina and the Vagabonds, the Dakota. Music lovers were eager…
Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney from the duo Dan + Shay performed this summer for NBC’s “Today” show.

It took Dan + Shay '10,000 Hours' to become country music's hottest duo

Their first arena tour comes to Target Center on Saturday.
Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush performed Friday, August 24, 2018 at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand.

The 10 biggest modern country duos to know

The Judds: Active: 1983-91 plus reunions, most recently 2017. Key hits: "Mama He's Crazy," "Love Is Alive," "Grandpa." Wynonna Judd's powerhouse voice, Naomi Judd's winsome…
Funeral of John Nelson, Prince's oldest brother and one of his heirs.      ] GLEN STUBBE •   Thursday, September 16, 202

Prince's brother Johnny Nelson is remembered as a 'generous, wise spirit' who taught himself piano

Prince's oldest brother loved Westerns, Jesus and family gatherings.
Stokley Williams  AARON LAVINSKY •

Mint Condition hitmaker Stokley Williams launches ambitious solo album

Mint Condition singer Stokley's new solo album is a beat-driven tour de force.
Bob Dylan /  Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP

Bob Dylan, Prince land several tunes on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs of all time

The Replacements, Lizzo and Eddie Cochran also placed on this updated list topped by Aretha's "Respect."
Dua Lipa at the 2021 Grammy Awards. Photo by Francis Specker/CBS ©2021 CBS

Hot hitmakers Dua Lipa, Kid Laroi announce Minneapolis concerts for 2022

Tickets for the separate shows will go on sale Friday.
ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, left, with new bassist Elwood Francis at the Wayzata Beach Bash Friday.

With new bassist, ZZ Top delivers its bearded boogie in Wayzata

Band's bassist died in July, but the bluesy trio was more refreshed than sad.
Davina & the Vagabonds, shown at the Hook & Ladder, will perform Friday at the Dakota.

Remodeled Dakota finally reopens in Minneapolis with New Orleans music and food

Club used its pandemic pause to give itself a noticeable makeover.
Lindsey Buckingham rehearsed at Sony Studios in Culver City, Calif., on May 17, 2017.

Ex-Fleetwood Mac star Lindsey Buckingham goes his own way to explore his troubles in Twin Cities concert

REVIEW: At Mystic Lake, he focused on his solo tunes but didn't ignore Mac hits.
Sly Stone in “Summer of Soul,” directed by Questlove

Questlove to appear at Paisley Park with his film 'Summer of Soul'

The film's director will do a Q&A and DJ set after a screening on Sept. 19.
Tim McGraw, who gave his sixth concert audience at the grandstand on Wednesday, had a near-capacity crowd of 12,480 (the largest at the grandstand thi

Tim McGraw scores with girl-dad country at Minnesota State Fair grandstand

He drew the State Fair grandstand's biggest crowd yet.
The Doobie Brothers went on without Michael McDonald on Tuesday night at the Minnesota State Fair.

Doobie Brothers rock State Fair without 'recuperating and isolating' Michael McDonald

The performance went on, as it has without McDonald for decades.
Michael McDonald in 2019 performs “Takin’ It To The Streets” and “Listen To The Music” with the Doobie Brothers before they announced their

Michael McDonald pulls out of Doobie Brothers' State Fair gig due to COVID

The opening act pulled out as well, but "the show must go on," band co-founder says.
The Spinners: Jessie Robert Peck, Marvin Taylor, Ronnie Moss, C.J. Spencer and Henry Fambrough

Spinners, Little Anthony deliver a tasty oldies show at Minnesota State Fair

They celebrated vintage R&B with show-bizzy style.
TLC shook the grandstand stage at Sunday’s Minnesota State Fair. Shaggy was anothere ’90s throwback artist to hit the stage.

TLC brings '90s nostalgia to State Fair Grandstand

Review: Opening act Shaggy upstaged the headliners.
Members of the Doobie Brothers, from left, Tom Johnston, John McFee, Michael McDonald and Pat Simmons.

Doobies are takin' it to the State Fair on reunion tour with Michael McDonald

After 26 years, Michael McDonald rejoins the Doobie Brothers for a State Fair gig.
Maren Morris delivered empowering songs with a passionate, alluring voice Friday at the Minnesota State Fair grandstand.

Maren Morris, Nashville's finest, sparkles at Minnesota State Fair

She showed humor, humanity and heart in an eclectic performance
Leon Bridges performing at August’s Railbird Music Festival in Lexington, Ky.

10 Twin Cities pop concerts we're most excited to see in fall 2021

The EaglesVince Gill and Deacon Frey, son of the late Glenn Frey, have breathed new life into the band, whose 2018 concert at Target Field…
Miranda Lambert CMT

After the lightning at State Fair, Lambert starts slow, then warms up

Review: Weather-delayed show got better after she let her hair down.
Brian SetzerPhoto by Russ Harrington

Despite hearing damage, Stray Cats' Brian Setzer is ready to rumble with a new Minnesota-made album

The pandemic forced Twin Cities guitar star Brian Setzer to hit pause — and then hit record.
Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium Wednesday night. Ron Wood,  Charlie Watts, and Keith Richards are at rear, from left.   ]    JE

Without Charlie Watts, there's no Rolling Stones anymore

This should be the last time, says our longtime critic.
John Popper of Blues Traveler performs at the 2nd Annual BottleRock Napa Festival at Napa Valley Expo on May 31, 2014, in Napa, Calif.

Blues Traveler singer injured in bus crash in Minnesota

John Popper will be able to perform Friday in Rochester.
James Taylor will perform at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Nov. 29.

James Taylor, Jackson Browne set for Nov. 29 at Xcel Energy Center

The definitive 1970s singer-songwriters will bring their Rock Hall of Fame catalogs to St. Paul.
Kicker herey Lance “Tank 218” Tanskanen, left, listened as “The Bronx” performed at the Ledge Amphitheater. From left, Kermit Boyum, of White

The Ledge is state's over-the-top new music venue near St. Cloud

The amphitheater near St. Cloud was a big hit with rockers Rancid and Dropkick Murphys.
Justin Vernon will perform at the Water Is Life Festival in Duluth.

Our Friday best: Water Is Life Festival, Bay Front Blues Festival

Water Is Life FestivalLanding the first Bon Iver show in Minnesota in over two years would be remarkable enough, but the Water Is Life Festival…
Patti Smith performs at Surly Field on Saturday, August 7, 2021, in Minneapolis.

Review: Patti Smith rocks with power in Minneapolis

Review: Rock Hall of Famer mixes poetry, politics and humor in concert at Surly Field.
Charlie Watts at the Dakota in 2015 Star Tribune photo by Carlos Gonzalez

Shattered: Drummer Charlie Watts won't appear with Rolling Stones in Minneapolis

After a "completely successful" medical procedure, the drummer is resting while Steve Jordan will fill in.
“The Music Man” returned to Chanhassen Dinner Theatres last month. The company received a $7.6 million in federal relief under the Shuttered Venue

After a long wait, Minnesota arts venues finally get $173M in federal relief

The process "was grueling," said Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, but it received $7.6 million — one of 215 grants in the state so far.
Old Crow Medicine Show frontman Ketch Secor early in the band’s show at Canterbury Park.   ]  JEFF WHEELER •   Old Cr

Zoo music fans flock to Canterbury as Old Crow opens a new concert series

Canterbury Park proves to be a decent substitute for Music at the Zoo.
Princecopyright The Prince Estate/photo by Mike Ruiz ORG XMIT: MIN2107261109130008

'Welcome 2 America' shows that Prince is still full of surprises

REVIEW: Unearthed album could be a sign of our times.
Prince, seen in 1991, died without a will or heirs more than five years ago, and his estate is still being sorted out by his family.

Large music publishing firm controls half of Prince's estate

Primary Wave has bought out three siblings' interest in the estate; a deal on the value of Prince's real estate also has been reached.
Bob Dylan/ AP file photo by Chris Pizzello

First streamed concert shows another side of Bob Dylan

His intimate, artful show will be available until late Tuesday night.
Audience members wear beer-patterned cowboy hats while waiting for Darius Rucker to perform at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake Friday, June 18, 2021.

Country stars are leading the charge as music returns to Minnesota stages

No mask? No vax? No problem, as country acts return to Minnesota in a big way.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.Photo Marselle Washington/ Marco Imagery

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis release their first album as artists

Legendary producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis release their debut album as artists.
Prince wore these gold metallic shoes during his 2010-2011 Welcome 2 America Tour. All shows were performed on Prince’s iconic Love Symbol stage and

20 things to know about the new kaleidoscopic exhibit of Prince's shoes at Paisley Park

We get to the bottom of a new exhibit of the Purple One's shoes at Paisley Park.
Lady A Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Country trio Lady A finally returns to the stage in Minnesota: 'We're all going to cry'

Emotions will ride high when the country trio returns to the stage this weekend in Prior Lake.
Maren Morris / AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

Minnesota State Fair grandstand will feature Maren Morris, Kevin Costner and TLC

The Chainsmokers, Lake Street Dive and George Thorogood also will be part of the lineup.
Kiss the Tiger’s Meghan Kreidler performed at the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis.

Como Zoo announces free rock concert series for July

The outdoor shows will be held on Wednesdays after the zoo and conservatory close.
John Fogerty in 2019/ Photo by Amy Harris/ Invision/AP

With fireworks on and offstage, big-time rock concerts return with an ecstatic John Fogerty

At Mystic Lake Casino, the Hall of Famer thrilled a July 4th crowd raised on the Church of Classic Rock.
John Fogerty performed at the amphitheater outside Treasure Island Casino.

Rock Hall of Famer John Fogerty comes to Minnesota with song inspired by George Floyd

John Fogerty will bring his new song "Weeping in the Promised Land" to Mystic Lake on July 4th.
Amy Ray, left, and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls / Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/ AP

Indigo Girls headline free concert Monday to protest Enbridge pipeline in Minnesota

The Grammy winners will lend their voices to the protest against Enbridge's Pipeline 3 through northern Minnesota.
Brian Setzer/ Star Tribune photo by Tom Sweeney

Minnesota guitar hero Brian Setzer will drop new solo album in August

'Gotta Have the Rumble' is about hot rods and hearing problems, the rockabilly star says.