Tommy Woodward of Sartell, Minn.:
1 Bruce Channel, Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Cruise. Singing “Hey! Baby” on the 23rd annual cruise to Grand Cayman, he received the same resounding applause given to the Mavericks.
2 McCrary Sisters, Sandy Beaches Cruise. The gospel-inspired quartet got the audience jumping on “I Can See Clearly Now”/“Let the Sun Shine In” and then the prayerful “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun.”
3 Marc Broussard, Sandy Beaches Cruise. I saw his acoustic gig at the Dakota in the fall. Backed by a combo, he delivered three rocking, funkified sets.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Bruce Springsteen plays secret White House concert. On Jan. 12, the Boss serenaded the Obamas, with 15 acoustic songs including “Tougher Than the Rest” and “Land of Hope and Dreams.”
2 Patti LaBelle, the State. The soul diva raised the roof and spirits, with her voice, personality and Prince’s “Yo Mister.”
3 Cash Only, the Cabooze. Several Twin Cities bands saluted Johnny Cash with style and spirit, including Sherwin Linton, who was sans bassist because of technical issues.