A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
"Die With You" by Beyoncé. The song and video was released exclusively on Tidal, Jay Z's new streaming service. The intimate track, released on their wedding anniversary, reminds us why Beyoncé is such an icon.
Jamstik+ The SmartGuitar. A Minneapolis-based company created a digital guitar to connect with your iPhone or iPad. The product has raised more than $350,000 in just the past week on Kickstarter. This invention, now backed by Apple, has the makings of becoming really popular.
Judith Hill, Paisley Park. Regardless of the heated legal battle taking place, Prince and Hill put on a stellar show last weekend. Looks like the two aren't letting all the drama affect their journey to Hill's stardom.
Rachel Chazin, Minneapolis
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The Mavericks, the Pantages. Adding material from their second reunion album, "Mono," they proved to be America's greatest dance band once again. Frontman Raul Malo conquers crowds with his voice, charm and glee. Loved the birthday request for "Besame Mucho" and his kissing the 76-year-old birthday girl on the hand afterward.
The James Hunter Six, the Dakota. Even though he was in his polite supper-club performer mode instead of his rock-this-joint barroom/concert approach, Hunter still brought a winning soulfulness with his throwback sound that owes much to Sam Cooke, Van Morrison and boardwalk soul. Loved the horn section.
Dwight Yoakam, "Man of Constant Sorrow." It's a traditional bluegrass tune, with the best known interpretation by Ralph Stanley. But Yoakam totally rocks this song. It's a curveball that he converts into a grand slam. The tune is on the new "Second Hand Heart," which is good but not as triumphant as 2012's "3 Pears."
Jon Bream, Star Tribune