Barry Epstein of Minneapolis:
1 Luis Miguel, Xcel Energy Center. The Mexican heartthrob, known as El Sol de Mexico, and his mariachi were magnifico. His mucho amor for his fans was evident throughout the long night.
2 “Rhiannon Giddens and What Folk Music Means,” New Yorker magazine. A great article profiling Giddens and 19th-century black folk music. Her many talents (she is writing an opera) are shown throughout the article.
3 Fred Armisen, First Avenue. This ultra-talented comedian/musician gave an incredibly entertaining performance. His history of punk rock drumming was a joy to behold.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Ingrid Chavez, Hewing Hotel. Performing on the Minneapolis rooftop at dusk on a gorgeous night, the former Prince protégée and “Graffiti Bridge” ingénue mesmerized with her poetry set to minimalist sounds, defined by Jaspar Nephew’s subtly expressive guitar atmospherics. She offered pieces written over the years but emphasized material from this year’s “Memories of Flying.” Highlight: “You Gave Me Wings,” written the day Prince died.
2 Bettye LaVette, the Dakota. The inventive song stylist delivered a retrospective of her 57-year career, doing Motor City oldies, a sampling of her great Bob Dylan album and interpretations of songs by George Harrison, Lucinda Williams and others. Feisty as always, she was in fine voice and irresistible spirit.
3 Dr. John’s final album. Rolling Stone reports that before his death on June 6, the legendary New Orleans piano man completed a yet-untitled collection of country classics, four full-band originals and remakes of some of his best known tunes with producer/guitarist Shane Theriot. Guests include Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville and Rickie Lee Jones. Release date to be announced. Ah, one last prescription from the good Doctor.