Greg Gibson of Brooklyn Park:
1 “A Prairie Home Companion,” the Palace. The season premiere showcased how sharply host Chris Thile has focused the musical elements. What a superb house band, and Chris Stapleton did stunning acoustic tunes.
2 Dan Wilson, the Fitzgerald. When he was celebrating “Re-covered” (his album of songs he wrote for others), the highlights were only possible here: brother Matt Wilson and John Munson’s shout-out about getting Dan’s name in lights.
3 Rhiannon Giddens, the O’Shaughnessy. In explaining what kind of music she plays, she revealed her humble nature, sense of history, broad palette and joy in performing.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Chick Corea and Steve Gadd Band, the Dakota. These jazz giants and their all-star group played with finesse, imagination, passion and exciting chemistry.
2 Margo Price, Xcel Energy Center. Opening for Chris Stapleton, she showed her Loretta-meets-Emmylou style, personality and respect for her fine musicians.
3 The Mavericks, State Theatre. America’s greatest dance band sparkled once again. Highlights: “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” (by Raul Malo solo) and the long encore.