A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Star Tribune, March 11, 2012
Bruce Springsteen, "Wrecking Ball". One of the finest records of his 40-year careeer. He used samples from old Alan Lomax recordings brought up to date by producer Ron Aniello, with support from Tom Morello on guitar. The Boss' writing and ideas of a better world, both optimistic and pessimistic, are right on.
---MARC PERCANSKY, Magic Marc Productions, Minneapolis
Punch Brothers, Varsity. The quintet's instrumentation said "bluegrass," but its versatile sound said "wow" - from the hip Radiohead-like textures to the dramatic music-hall ditty "Patchwork Girlfriend" to the spirited sing-along "Rye Whiskey".
John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett, State Theatre. Their free-wheeling banter even had them laughing. Besides all the witty and silly repartee between the two veteran stars, there were many musical rewards, especially when Hiatt played guitar on guitar on Lovett's tunes ("Girl With the Holiday Smile," "My Baby Don't Tolerate," "White Boy Lost in the Blues") and Hiatt answered requests for "Memphis in the Meantime" and "Georgia Rae".
Regina Maria Williams, "When a Woman Loves a Man". After portraying Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone in shows, the Twin Cities theater star showcases her own jazz chops on this impressive collection of standards.
---JON BREAM, Star Tribune