23-year-old pop star Britney Spears has announced that she's pregnant. Britney and her husband, Kevin Federline, posted a note to fans on Spears' website that says, "The time has finally come to share our wonderful news that we are expecting our first child together." Spears much-delayed fifth album was planned for a summer release in the U.S. There's no word on whether her pregnancy will delay its release even further. Spears was very public about her wish to be a "young mom." She's already had some practice. Federline has two children from his previous relationship with actress Shar Jackson. His daughter Kori is two years old and son Kaleb is eight months old. In other news, it has also been reported that Britney and Kevin's upcoming reality show for UPN will premiere on May 17.
55-year-old pop legend Billy Joel has completed his stay at the Betty Ford Center, where he received treatment for alcohol abuse. Joel checked himself into the center after suffering gastro-intestinal problems that led to a week-long hospitalization. Rumors that he was suffering from pancreatitis were denied by Joel's spokesperson.
Carlos Santana will receive music publishing company BMI's Icon Award at the 12th annual BMI Latin Awards on April 21. The award recognizes "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." Songwriters and publishers of the most played Latin songs on U.S. radio and television will also be honored at the event, which takes place in Las Vegas.
Pianist Johnnie Johnson died last week on April 13 at age 80. He reportedly had been hospitalized last month with pneumonia, but no cause of death has been given. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, Johnson appeared on such hits as Chuck Berry's "Roll Over, Beethoven," "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "No Particular Place To Go." During his long career, he also collaborated with Eric Clapton, John Lee Hooker and the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards.
The 2005 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will begin on April 22. During this year's event, hundreds of national and regional artists will perform on twelve stages at the New Orleans Fair Grounds. They include Nelly, the Black Crowes, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Dr. John, B.B. King, the Dave Matthews Band, Elvis Costello and New Orleans favorites the Neville Brothers. The first weekend of concerts wraps up on April 24 and will be followed by a four-day schedule of events that runs from April through May 1.
On April 22, Country stars Vince Gill and Toby Keith will headline a concert for the Oklahoma City National Memorial in Oklahoma City. Other artists from Oklahoma taking part in the show include Joe Diffie, Country newcomer Katrina Elam and Ty England, who performed in Garth Brooks' band. The Memorial Concert is being held as part of the city's week-long ceremonies to mark the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people on April 19, 1995.
On April 11, Country newcomer Gretchen Wilson picked up two more industry awards at the 2005 CMT Music Awards. She won the Breakthrough Video of the Year trophy for the clip to her first Number One single "Redneck Woman" and the Female Video of the Year honor for "When I Think About Cheatin'." The video to "Whiskey Lullaby," a duet recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, also won in two categories. It earned Brad and Alison a win for Collaborative Video of the Year and Rick Schroder the Video Director of the Year award. Other winners included Kenny Chesney, who took home the Male Video of the Year trophy for "I Go Back;" Keith Urban, Video of the Year for "Days Go By;" Tim McGraw, Most Inspiring Video of the Year for "Live Like You Were Dying;" Rascal Flatts, Group Video of the Year for "Feels Like Today;" and Toby Keith, who won the Hottest Video of the Year award for the clip to "Whiskey Girl." Highlights of the show included a surprise performance by Trisha Yearwood, who's taken the past three years off from performing and recording. She sang her new single, "Georgia Rain." It will appear on her next CD, "Jasper County," which is due out in September. And, 70-year-old Loretta Lynn was presented with this year's Johnny Cash Visionary Award for her influence and contributions to American music.
The top winners at the April 13 Gospel Music Association Awards (formerly known as the Dove Awards) included Switchfoot and the Crabb Family. Each received four honors at the ceremony, held at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Casting Crowns followed with three wins, including Group of the Year and Song of the Year for "Who Am I." Jeremy Camp was named Male Vocalist of the Year for the second consecutive year and Nicole C. Mullen won the Female Vocalist honor. She received the same award in 2002.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION:
Country star Alan Jackson will kick off his "What I Do" tour on April 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The outing will support Jackson's latest album What I Do, which debuted at the top of Country Albums chart and has sold more than one million copies since its release last September. Multi-million-selling singer Sara Evans and the new husband and wife duo The Wrights will open shows for Alan.
On April 22, 65-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot will begin a 35-date North American tour. He'll be promoting his 2004 album Harmony, which he released after suffering a near-fatal abdominal hemorrhage in 2002. Lightfoot was in a coma for six weeks following surgery and spent three months in the hospital.