A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
High 48s Bluegrass Brunch at the Aster Cafe. Every Saturday this winter has featured great bluegrass music, great food, with a great staff at a great locale. The High 48s have built a real sense of community at the Aster.
Cactus Blossoms, "You're Dreaming." Is it too simple to label the Cactus Blossoms an updated Minneapolis version of the Everly Brothers? On their new CD, they take old-school, '50s-style rock 'n' roll and make it sound contemporary. Their brotherly harmonies sound equally good live or recorded.
Treehouse Records/Taco Bell Super Bowl commercial. I'm still not sure of the connection between this longtime Minneapolis record store and the fast-food chain. I am quite certain Mark Olson, formerly of the Jayhawks, never thought one of his records would be a prop to hide a Taco Bell quesalupa in a TV commercial.
Kurt Thompson, Mpls.
King, the Icehouse. This L.A. trio, featuring a pair of twins originally from Minneapolis, mesmerized with gauzy, jazzy, sexy soul music. Think Sade squared fronting a modern Soul II Soul.
Ty Stone's James Brown tribute, the Parkway. He's a top-notch entertainer who has mastered JB's patter and outfits. Stone's voice doesn't reflect the right rasp, but he finds the funk nonetheless.
BUZ'N Half DUZN, Mystic Lake. The fourth annual country radio station round-robin concert featured three veteran soloists and three new duos. Fans knew Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan were winners, but the Brothers Osborne were the big surprise. Need to hear more from them ASAP.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune