Like it or not, Pharell Williams' "Happy" is likely to be the top-selling single of 2014. And yes, its buoyant '60s soul vibe and simple, positive message is modern pop perfection. But scanning the rest of this year's biggest hits, one is struck by a consistent theme: All of these songs are distinct ... More >>
Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison can't believe it has been 30 years since the release of Prince's iconic Purple Rain movie soundtrack.Ellison's love of cultural expression on the acoustic guitar has long been a part of his interactions with the public. Notably, he covered Woody Guthrie last year ... More >>
Billy Bragg has carved out two very different niches for himself on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Having come up in London during the 1970s and '80s under the iron rule of Margaret Thatcher, Bragg is today recognized in his homeland as one of the country's most accomplished protest musicians. H ... More >>
The rejoicing that began at midnight at City Hall spread blissfully throughout the early morning hours, as the first of many same-sex couples were married in Minnesota. And those warm emotions spread all the way to Washington, as Rep. Keith Ellison celebrated marriage equality in Minnesota with a li ... More >>
Tyler Flory is a teacher at Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins. His Music Class column ties together his job and his music fandom in a neat little package.I use music in my classroom to lower the stress level and to change the mood. During the previous two weeks, my students had quite ... More >>
The prodigal son Owl City will be perform a sold-out show at the Varsity Theater on Friday evening, but if you are older than 14, Hot Chip will rock the First Avenue stage in Downtown Minneapolis. MaLLy will perform a free show at Northrop Plaza, but make sure you show up in time to catch the infect ... More >>
Country rap, or "hick-hop" as it's sometimes called, may seem to capture either the height of musical irony, or the height of its stupidity. Probably both. But in the book The Accidental Evolution of Rock 'n' Roll, prolific music journalist Chuck Eddy traces the sub-genre's roots all the way back to ... More >>
For all of the profound mythologizing that is done over the illustrious music career of Bob Dylan, he began the process just like any other musician with the bold but tentative first steps of a debut record. While very few Dylan enthusiasts will list Bob Dylan as among their favorite (or even ... More >>
By Craig HlavatyBruce Springsteen's Thursday started with a keynote speech in one of the big ballrooms at the Austin Convention Center, and ended with a mythic three-hour set at ACL Live across town, in front of a few thousand people cooing "Bruce."The keynote and the show went hand in hand. If y ... More >>
You load 16 tons, whaddya get? Well, you'd be lucky to get a coal mining job these days. Okay, so lucky's perhaps not the most apt word, but plenty of folks would be happy to get one, anyway. Today, in recognition of the horse muck the folks in power have gotten us stuck in, and in honor of the fo ... More >>
Though they just released their first full-length album last summer, the Woody Guthrie-inspired Walker Fields have already recorded a live follow-up full-length, and they are giving away the entire thing for free online.
A few personal favorites herein.
As I culled through lists of new and upcoming releases from new and up-and-coming country artists, I couldn't help but notice a pattern: many were by women, and most of those by women who seemed to be taking country in a slightly new direction (occasionally, the "new" direction one that count ... More >>
Photos by Steve CohenJoan Baez has been performing for over 50 years, and her voice is just as lovely as ever. "I've had to drop my songs down a few notches to match my voice now," she noted apologetically during her show at the Minnesota Zoo last night. But aside from a few key changes her old c ... More >>
Head injuries, monkeys, country music and sexism: What to expect at the rodeo.
November 16; First Avenue; 612.332.1775
What are those little white boxes with wires telling us to do?
Larry Long overturns the "great man" theory of traditional music, one folk at a time
After leaving House of Pain, rapper Everlast discovers the hardships of an endangered middle class
Make time to check them out
Two albums devoted to Woody Guthrie discover new notes in the people's music. Does the song remain the same?
In his new book on America's folk revival, Robert Cantwell looks at our post-war romance with the "real."