Michael Miller of St. Paul:
1 Blitzen Trapper, Fine Line. My music buddies and I always try to be in the front row, and this time my wife of 31 years joined us. Watching her rock out, especially to one of my favorite bands, is a thrill that never ends.
2 Eric Gales, the Dakota. Never thought I’d need earplugs at the Dakota. This was a loud, blistering blues set by one of the masters. And when he pulled out his Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar, he raised the intensity even higher. It was a very fitting tribute to one of the best ever.
3 Moe, the Varsity. Jam band heaven. Moe’s guitar work is always astonishing. I’m still smiling.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Willie Nelson, “Vote ’Em Out.” In his new seasonal single, the American musical treasure offers a lighthearted, nonpartisan, pro-democracy rallying cry to make your voice heard at the polls.
2 “Prince: Before the Rain” by Allen Beaulieu. With rare access, the Minneapolis photographer captured Prince in the late ’70s/early ’80s, onstage, offstage and in photo studios. This historic stuff is a must for hard-core fans.
3 Pistol Annies, “Got My Name Changed Back” video. Chronicling the glammed-up country trio from the courthouse to the DMV to the bank, this cheeky video celebrates a new tune with jazzy harmonies that’s a modern-day, liberating answer to Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”