Brad McLemore of Minneapolis:

1 Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, Mass. A great three-day festival curated by one of America’s most adventurous bands at the large contemporary art museum Mass MoCA. Me submitting a video playing “I’m the Man Who Loves You” and getting picked to sing it with Wilco made this my best weekend of the summer.


2 Steve Earle, Minnesota Zoo. Always a great storyteller with attitude, he saluted his mentor Guy Clark in story and song. It was like Texas singer/songwriter heaven.


3 Kacey Musgraves, Basilica Block Party. If only her solid songwriting mixed with adventurous arrangements and production were the norm in “new country.” Plus, I got to see the great Jayhawks and a bit of the great Semisonic.



Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:

1 Oral history of the 2009 MTV VMAs, Gil Kaufman’s interviews suggest that Kanye West was drunk on Hennessy when he bum-rushed the stage while Taylor Swift was accepting her trophy. Neither star talked for this recap, but revisiting the behind-the-scenes drama is intriguing.


2 Cardi B interviews Bernie Sanders, It’s encouraging to see concerned music stars use their visibility to promote intelligent discussion of such serious issues as racism, immigration, health insurance, college debt and wages.


3 Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire to join Carrie Underwood as hosts of CMA Awards. Let’s hope this is the first of many steps to boost the profile of women in country music, especially on the radio, charts and TV. So many newer voices including Ashley McBryde, the Highwomen and Caitlyn Smith deserve to be heard and seen.