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Etheridge Says She's Cancer Free; Rick James' Posthumous Album to be Released

  • Mary Morningstar

The new Broadway musical Lennon will open on August 14. In the play, nine actors, five men and four women, portray the late Beatle John Lennon, telling his story through his words and music. According to Playbill's website, Lennon is "a musical biography, a concert, and a celebration all in one. From the Beatles to the Bed-Ins, from his musical partnership with Paul to his life partnership with Yoko, 'Lennon' will bring you back to a time when music could change your soul…and one musician could change the world."

44-year-old rock singer Melissa Etheridge has announced that she is now cancer free. Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2004 and had surgery to remove the tumor. She also underwent chemotherapy treatment. Melissa and her partner of two years, actress Tammy Lynn Michaels, are now planning to add a child to their family. Etheridge and her former partner, Julie Cypher, have two children, whose biological father is legendary musician David Crosby. In other news, Melissa has a greatest hits compilation coming out in October. The Road Less Traveled will include her best known songs, plus four new tracks and the live version of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" that Melissa sang with Joss Stone at this year's Grammy Awards. She'll also include her version of Tom Petty's "Refugee."

On August 18, the first of six regional auditions will take place for the fifth season of American Idol. Following the stop in San Francisco, auditions will be held in Austin, Texas August 25; Boston, Massachusetts August 31; Memphis, Tennessee September 5; Denver, Colorado September 11; and Chicago, Illinois September 16. Singers between the ages of 16 and 28 are eligible to try out for the show.

On August 16, Sanctuary Urban Records will release the album Rick James was working on at the time of his death. His final album, Rick James Forever, includes collaborations with Johnny Gill, Howard Hewitt and James' daughter Ty. Rick James died on August 6, 2004 of a heart attack. An autopsy found several different narcotics in his system, including cocaine and methamphetamine.

The fourth album by Country star Brad Paisley will be released on Arista Nashville Records on August 16. Time Well Wasted included guest appearances by Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Bill Anderson and Little Jimmy Dickens. The album's first single, "Alcohol," is in the Top 10 on Billboard's Country chart. Paisley will kick off a 30-city U.S. tour on September 23 in Portland, Oregon.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS:

Paul Brandt and new Country group The Road Hammers lead the nominees for the 2005 Canadian Country Music Association Awards (CCMA's). Each picked up six nominations, including Album of the Year and Single of the Year. Following close behind is last year's CCMA best new artist winner George Canyon with five mentions and Carolyn Dawn Johnson, who received four nominations. This year's CCMA ceremony will take place on September 12 in Calgary. A full list of nominees is available at www.ccma.org.

LOOK WHO'S GOING ON TOUR!

Latin pop star Marc Anthony, Puerto Rican pop singer Chayanne and Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez will begin a concert tour together this week. The outing starts on August 17 in Houston, Texas and continues in 15 other U.S. cities before winding down in Miami, Florida on September 17.

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