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A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:

Kathy Tillotson Austin of Owatonna, Minn.:

1. Bernard Allison's album release of "Luther's Blues." The sold-out Hook and Ladder show featured his take on many of his father's songs. He and three other bandmates are from the area. Mention was made how Famous Dave's used to be their home, but maybe the Hook could be now. Let's hope so, as the sound and atmosphere were great. Bonus at the end included guests Jellybean Johnson and Shemeka Copeland straight from her Dakota show.

2. Our blues scene on the whole. Feeling grateful for the many good live-music choices in our area, local and touring acts. On April 12, blues fans had to (or got to) choose between Allison at the Hook, Copeland at the Dakota and other touring musicians Reverend Raven at the Blues Saloon and Eddie Turner at Shaws.

3. Raul Malo at the Dakota. More exciting than the solar eclipse that day for many Mavericks fans was the rare solo show by the band's singer. His big, distinctive voice, charm and humble nature delighted the sold-out crowd. His son, Dino, also joined in on drums for a few.

Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune critic:

1. Obi Original's April Residency at the Green Room. This past week's gig offered a hot blast of Afropunk grooves on a dreary Tuesday night. The lively, confident Nigerian transplant plays with a nine-piece band dubbed the Black Atlantics. They could teach fans of Vampire Weekend and the many other hip bands copping soukous guitar patterns where the stuff came from. The residency winds down next Tuesday.

2. Humbird, "Right On." Break out the "Judas!" heckles: Minneapolis folk music revivalist Siri Undlin has gone electric with her third album, issued last week. She and bandmates Pat Keen and Pete Quirsfield bottle the energy and volume they've built through heavy touring in Neil Young-echoing songs like "Cornfields and Roadkill," though Undlin still shows off her prowess at creating stunning intimate moments in the LP closer "Song for the Seeds."

3. "The Heart of Low," the New Yorker. While beautifully summing up the uniquely holy power of Duluth indie-rock trio Low, writer Justin Taylor's tastefully probing article also captures this pivotal moment for singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk as he looks at the hard road ahead after his wife and bandmate Mimi Parker's 2022 death to cancer. Thankfully, there's a lot more to be written, with both a Sparhawk solo album and music by his funk band Derecho Sound System in the works.

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