Much like the legend of Robert Johnson, Minnesota music lovers have come to a crossroads.

But unlike Johnson’s supposed crossroads, area fans of R&B/soul, hip-hop, jazz, rock, reggae, blues and more won’t have to make a deal with the devil to fulfill their musical desires.

According to blues mythology, Johnson – the man guitar great Eric Clapton calls, “the most important blues singer that ever lived” – was known as a mediocre-at-best guitarist who met-up with the devil at a Mississippi crossroad and in exchange for guitar playing greatness, he traded his soul. As theorized in the Netflix documentary, “Devil at the Crossroads,” the more likely explanation for Johnson’s remarkable mastery of the stringed instrument was his tutelage under bluesman, Ike Zimmerman. It was said Zimmerman and Johnson would practice at night in a graveyard, thus fueling the devil rumors. In addition to the instruction from Zimmerman, Johnson added a seventh string to his guitar and a metal tube over one of his fingers that would rub the strings on the instrument’s neck creating a high-pitch sound; a technique known as slide guitar.

Johnson, whose likeness graces this edition’s cover, died at 27, but his music and his legacy remain constant.

Another constant is a slew of great summer concerts in the state. Whether it’s a State Fair lineup that consists of the likes of Lionel Richie, Tony, Toni, Tone and Hall & Oates or a hip-hop mega show (June 15) at Treasure Island Casino (Welch, Minn.) featuring 50 Cent, Ice T, Slick Rick, Biz Markie, EPMD, Too Short, J.J. Fad, Das EFX and more, this summer has something for everyone. Here’s a look at some of the key shows coming to the Great North.

Music at the Zoo

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones featuring Victor Wooten, Roy “Futureman” Wooten and Howard Levy – June 26

Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns featuring Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, Kenny Lattimore and Aubrey Logan – Aug. 25

Robert Cray – Aug. 28

Target Center

Cardi B – July 28

Xcel Energy Center

Jennifer Lopez – June 28

Ariana Grande – July 8

Khalid – July 23

Santana – Aug. 3

Mystic Lake

The Roots – June 30

Michael McDonald & Chaka Khan – July 7

Gladys Knight – Aug. 9

Ben Harper and Trombone Shorty – Aug. 14

First Avenue and affiliate clubs

Southern Avenue, Turf Club – June 30

Jackie Venson, Turf Club – July 20

Rev. Sekou & The Freedom Fighters, Turf Club – July 31

Gary Clark, Jr., Surly Brewing Festival Field – Aug. 9

Lady Midnight, Turf Club – Aug. 9


Maceo Parker – June 11

Stanley Clarke – June 14-15

Cecile McLorin Salvant – June 19

Lisa Fischer – June 27

Gloria Gaynor – Aug. 10

Dobet Gnahore – Aug. 13

Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival (Duluth, Minn.)

Kymani Marley, Samantha Moon, Kabaka Pyramid and more – July 20

Minnesota State Fair

Hall & Oates – Aug. 28

Logic – Aug. 29

Lionel Richie – Aug. 30


Ginger Commodore sings Aretha Franklin – June 7

Wee Willie Walker – June 15

Annie Mack & Dave Keller – July 30

The Cedar

The Skatalites – June 4

Bombino with Corey Medina & Brothers – June 5

Rio Mira – June 23


Earthkry – June 29

Summer SKOLstice (June 20-22)

The Family Stone – June 20

Sheila E., Joss Stone, Vikings practice facility in Eagan – June 21

Judith Hill – June 22


21 Savage – July 30

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