The lead singer of the Time before Morris Day, Alexander O'Neal was once so integral a part of the Twin Cities scene and key contributor to the Minneapolis Sound that his first album featured a photo of Mickey's Diner. Working with the Flyte Tyme production duo of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, O'Neal racked up a succession of hits through the 1980s that alternated between sleek, eminently danceable funk and earthy, romantic ballads, his finely textured voice a classic soul instrument favorably compared to Otis Redding's. When his career faltered stateside in the '90s, O'Neal moved to England to take advantage of an enthusiastic fan base there. After more than a decade, he returned to Minnesota earlier this year and released a solid new album, 5 Questions: The New Journey, that both celebrates the trademark Minneapolis Sound and looks ahead. O'Neal's Yuletide Dakota show will include material from the new album and a selection of his indelible hits, along with holiday nuggets, many no doubt from his 1988 Jam & Lewis-produced Christmas album My Gift To You.
Thu., Dec. 23, 7 p.m., 2010