A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Regina Marie Williams in "Sister Act," Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. She is outstanding in a role that's made for her. Her performance of the theme song was truly transcendent.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Vieux Carre. Bringing Mardi Gras to a cozy basement club in St. Paul, the 39-year-old New Orleans group insisted everyone dance, keeping a staid Minnesotan audience shaking it for most of the night.
"PBS Soundstage – Dr. John New Orleans Swamp." A rare video performance of Professor Longhair kicks off this hourlong 1974 special showcasing the funky talents of the Meters, Earl King and Dr. John. Everyone plays a short set, and they all join together for a rousing finale of Longhair's "Big Chief." YouTube it.
Brian Balleria, Mpls.
Lizzo, First Avenue. The way she commanded the stage with confidence and charm suggests that she could be a major force if she can take her show around the world. Goosebump moment: "My Skin."
Paul Simon, "A Prairie Home Companion." He re-imagined some classics backed by the acoustic Punch Brothers and premiered a playful new song, "Wristband." A perfectly casual and satisfying turn by the biggest superstar to play this radio show. Goosebump moment: "The Boxer."
Charles Kelley, "The Driver." On his solo debut, the male voice of Lady Antebellum sings about his love/hate with Nashville, but it's his deliciously soulful voice that stands out. Highlight: "I Wish You Were Here" with Miranda Lambert.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune