A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
John Bergstrom of Edina:
1 The New Standards, Sheldon Theatre. Not the boys by themselves, or a holiday show, but they were joined by some really talented singers and players in Red Wing to cover classic film scores, from "Alfie" to "Chinatown" to "Goldfinger." A lot of fun.
2 Roger McGuinn, Hopkins Center for the Arts. I have always loved the Byrds but didn't fully appreciate what a prolific musician McGuinn is — acoustic/electric six- and 12-string guitar and banjo. And he seemingly knew and/or has played with everyone. Fascinating history.
3 Michael McDermott, Rieder Homestead. Often a solo performer, the Chicago singer played with his band, including his wife, Heather Horton, this time. Great show in an idyllic setting on a beautiful night in Delano. Michael is an amazing songwriter/performer whom people may never have heard of. Think classic Springsteen and Prine, then add a raw, intensely personal and straight-from-the-heart vibe.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 Apple Music's Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs Playlist. They've chosen 16 songs by contemporary Black voices. Highlights include Alex Isley's dreamy "We Are One," Lupe Fiasco's trippy "Galveston," Bun B's festive "This Is What We Do" and WSTRN's spiritually tinged "Free Your Mind."
2 Minnesota Black Music Awards. In saluting the 40th anniversary of the inaugural of the awards, founder Pete Rhodes has resurrected the event as a series of four livestreamed ceremonies from a TV studio. The gospel recognition prizes last Sunday were efficient, uplifting and enriching. Awards were presented to Gary Hines and Ashley Commodore, among others; Jamela Pettiford, Jovonta Patton and some newer names gave powerful performances.
3 RIP, Joel Whitburn. From his basement home office in suburban Menomonee Falls, Wis., this obsessive, nerdy music fan compiled the history of Billboard charts into a series of books. Just the facts. Before the internet, his research provided essential resources for DJs, journalists and others in the music industry.
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