Mike Ile of Wayzata:
1 Amy Helm, the Dakota. Levon’s daughter is a force in her own right, offering a powerful mix of soulful Americana.
2 “A Prairie Home Companion.” Chris Thile has hit his stride as host. His improv with Jon Batiste was mesmerizing. The new house band, with Sarah Jarosz and Aiofe O’Donovan, is masterful. And fun.
3 Summer music in Minnesota. There are strong lineups across the board, from the Basilica Block Party and Rock the Garden to the Minnesota Zoo and more.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Chance the Rapper, Xcel Center. Musicality, purpose, showmanship and excitement added up to the best arena gig of 2017 and best big hip-hop show since Kanye West’s in 2008.
2 Hypstrz, Hook and Ladder. These ageless punks roared on speedy covers of “96 Tears” and “Hold On, I’m Comin.’ ”
3 Pat Donohue, Paul Metsa and Willie Murphy. Donohue saluted Chet Atkins; Murphy played some serious blues, and Metsa did a Dylan tune with ad-libbed lyrics about Dick and Val Cohn, who were celebrating their 50th anniversary at this house party in St. Paul. An intimate local music treat.