Anne Q. Ulseth of Minneapolis:
1 Outlaw Music Festival, Milwaukee. An epic marathon of some of my favorite tried-and-true musicians: Margo Price, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.
2 Jason Isbell, the Palace. Seeing Isbell twice in one weekend was too good to be true. He ended both sets with a powerfully evocative cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.”
3 Regina Marie Williams, the Dakota. June gave me two chances to see my favorite Twin Cities artist: her stellar Nina Simone repertoire and then her interpretations of standards.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 “Garbage: This Is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake.” A pink-accented coffee-table book by the Madison, Wis., band itself, with vivid photos and diarylike recollections, including its first live gig ever at the 7th Street Entry in November 1995.
2 “Motown the Musical,” Orpheum. Two compelling reasons to see this: the numerous great songs and Allison Semmes, who has perfected Diana Ross’ voice (singing and speaking).
3 Garland Jeffreys, the Dakota. The poetic New York rocker gets better with age and top-notch new songs.