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Cindy Lauper to Make Broadway Debut; Pink to Release New Album


72-year-old singer Lou Rawls lost his battle with lung and brain cancer on January 6. News that the three-time Grammy winner had the disease was made public last month by his estranged wife and manager, Nina, during a marriage annulment hearing. The couple married in January 2004 and welcomed their first child together, a son named Aiden Allen Rawls, in January of 2005. Rawls' biggest hits included "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine," "Lady Love" and "Love Is A Hurtin' Thing."

The fourth album by pop/rock singer Pink is planned for release in April or May. I'm Not Dead marks her first new studio collection since 2003's Try This. She describes the album as her most personal to date. Tracks include "Dear Mr. President," a political song she wrote to promote change.

Cyndi Lauper will make her Broadway debut in the upcoming production of The Threepenny Opera. She replaces Edie Falco, who reportedly left the cast because of her commitment to the award-winning HBO series "The Sopranos." Previews of The Threepenny Opera begin on March 24 and the show is scheduled to open April 20.

Singer Jessi Colter, best known for the 1975 Number One Country hit "I'm Not Lisa," has recorded her first solo album in more than 20 years. Highlights of Out of the Ashes include her version of Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" and a duet with her son, Country newcomer Shooter Jennings. Jessi decided to return to her Country music career following the 2002 death of her husband, Waylon Jennings. She told The Hollywood Reporter, "I so realized the importance of music. Not that I could leave music - I'm a desperate writer…I needed expression. I began to live life one step at a time. I realized I had to keep living." Out of the Ashes will be released on February 21.

The Tennessee home owned by the late Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash was recently purchased by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. Gibb says, "This place will always be the spiritual home for the Cashes. My wife, Linda, and I are determined to preserve it to honor their memory. …We plan to use the home to write songs because of the musical inspiration." The asking price of the 18-room house reportedly had been dropped from $2.9 million to $2.5 million. It's located on a 1.8 hectare lakefront property in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville.

51-year-old Barry Cowsill, who performed in his family's 1960s pop group the Cowsills, was found dead in New Orleans on December 28. He had been missing since Hurricane Katrina hit the city four months ago. Barry's last communication with his family was a cell phone call to his sister Susan on September 1. According to Associated Press reports, the coroner hasn't determined the cause of death, but believes it was related to the hurricane. Richard Cowsill revealed that his brother Barry had been deceased "for quite some time."

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

On January 13 and 14, Country stars Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Rogers, Diamond Rio, George Jones, Vince Gill and others will team with NASCAR champions to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. In addition to concerts, the two-day "Sound and Speed" festival will offer interactive displays, auto racing shows and demonstrations, and autograph sessions.

The New York Guitar Festival will take place at the World Financial Center Winter Garden on January 14. The festival will open with artists covering songs from Bruce Springsteen's 1982 album "Nebraska." Taking part in the "Nebraska Project" are Michelle Shocked, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Laura Cantrell, and many others. The New York Guitar Festival, featuring 60 artists at seven venues throughout the city, will run through February 8.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On January 10, pop legend Billy Joel will kick off a U.S. concert tour in Jacksonville, Florida. 26 shows are currently scheduled through April 8. This past November, Columbia Records released the 4-CD/DVD box set My Lives, which spans Joel's entire career.

Country star George Strait will begin his 2006 tour on January 12 in Des Moines, Iowa. He'll be supporting his latest album Somewhere Down In Texas. Joining him on the tour are fellow Texans Tracy Lawrence and Miranda Lambert. Dates currently run through June.

After taking a break from touring in 2004 due to the birth of her third daughter, Country singer Martina McBride will hit the road this week to promote her new collection of Country standards, Timeless. Her 37-date itinerary begins on January 13 in State College, Pennsylvania and wraps up in mid-May.

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