Kevin Odegard of Minneapolis:

1 'Twas the Jam Before Christmas, Dakota. What do Prince, Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks have in common? Those magnificent Petersons, Minnesota's first family of music, who will celebrate the holidays on Sunday with three gigs.

2 "A Soldier in Prince's Revolution," Mpls.St.Paul magazine. In 1978, Bobby Z went from bar-band drummer to covert ops in the biggest rock act on the planet, remaining a loyal and discreet friend throughout his mentor's life. Here is Bobby unbound.

3 "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," Patti Smith. Standing in for Bob Dylan is not a sweet gig. Smith choked on emotion twice, then rallied to deliver a soul-stirring rendition of Dylan's 1963 lyric at the Nobel ceremony. She slew two dragons — fear and any doubt whether Dylan's work is literature.


Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:

1 Darlene Love, the Ordway. What a treat to hear "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" live instead of on Letterman.

2 Jesse Johnson, First Avenue. Backed by drummer Michael Bland and bassist Sonny Thompson, the ex-Time guitarist finally showcased his true guitar glory in a freewheeling, organic and thrilling 2½-hour marathon.

3 Bob Dylan's speech, Nobel Prize ceremony. Thoughtful, humble and on point. And he didn't even mention one musical figure. Too bad he had someone else deliver his words.