A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:

Ruthie Foster, Hopkins Center for the Arts. The Texas blues singer extraordinaire brought her mostly girl band (plus local keyboardist Scottie Miller) to perform songs from her Grammy-nominated album plus some covers. A truly unique and pure voice at a great venue.

Eric Burdon, Medina. He sang his Animals and War hits plus a few from his new CD. At 71, this bluesy singer is surpassed only by Tony Bennett.

Katharine McPhee and Jennifer Hudson do “On Broadway” on “Smash.” It was surreal to watch two “American Idol” alums sing a duet on this melodramatic TV show. Thank you, Simon Cowell.
Claudia Lawrence, Richfield

Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook Elementary Choir, “America the Beautiful.” All these singers have been touched by tragedy from gun violence. Before the Super Bowl kickoff, the kids sang with charming innocence, while Hudson infused her vocals with passion, pride and pain.

Wild Belle, “It’s Too Late.” This tune by the Chicago brother-sister duo finds Natalie Bergman channeling Estelle in a lazy reggae-got-soul groove with horns. It will be featured on Wild Belle’s debut, due March 12.

Madeon, Xcel Energy Center. This 18-year-old French DJ warmed up Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters by playing almost exclusively instrumental jams by the likes of Zedd and Oliver before delivering the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” in Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Remix.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune