Michael Jackson has announced that he'll release a new album next year on Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa's 2 Seas Records. Now living in Bahrain, the 47-year-old self-proclaimed "King Of Pop" issued a statement that said, "I am incredibly excited about my new venture and I am enjoying being back in the studio making music." The album will mark Jackson's first collection of all new material since 2001's Invincible. British music executive Guy Holmes has been hired as CEO of 2 Seas Records. According to reports, he'll "oversee the making of the new album and the management of Michael's other business interests."
On April 25, Sony Music Group will release Bruce Springsteen's new album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. As the title suggests, Bruce covers songs made popular by folk legend Pete Seeger. In addition to "We Shall Overcome", they include "John Henry," "Shenandoah" and "Erie Canal." Springsteen is scheduled to perform songs from his new album at the New Orleans "Jazzfest" on April 30. He'll kick off an 18-city U.S. tour in Boston on May 27.
Former Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth has been fired from his CBS radio morning show. His final program aired on April 21. Roth told his audience he heard of his dismissal while in the car on his way to work that day. He said, "I was booted, tossed and it's going to cost somebody." Roth took over shock jock Howard Stern's time slot in January 2006. Stern immediately launched his own Sirius satellite radio show. Roth's low-rated program will be replaced by XM Satellite Radio's Opie & Anthony Show in seven markets.
Grammy-nominated producer Rodney Jerkins is readying the release of an all-star Hurricane Katrina benefit single. It's a remake of the Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family," which teams the female vocal group with Patti LaBelle, Ciara, Ray J, Chris Brown, and others. The single will be released in late June and included on a full-length CD, which will hit record stores on August 29 to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the devastating hurricane. Proceeds will go to volunteer agencies that focus on human and social services.
Colombian pop star Shakira is also involved in a humanitarian cause. She's working with other Latin artists to organize an event to raise awareness and money for impoverished people in Latin America. The Live Aid-style concert will reportedly take place sometime in 2007.
The 2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Jazzfest, will begin April 28. Producer/director Quint Davis announced in February that repairs to the Fair Grounds, which were flooded by Hurricane Katrina, had been completed. He's hopeful that New Orleans' first major event since the storm will have its usual tourist appeal. More than 90 percent of the Jazzfest performance slots were given to native musicians, including the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, The Radiators, Nicholas Payton and Fats Domino. This will be Domino's first public appearance since being rescued from his balcony days after Katrina struck. Also appearing at this year's event are Bob Dylan, Keith Urban, Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie, the Dave Matthews Band and Paul Simon, among many others. Jazzfest runs through April 30 and continues the weekend of May 5-7.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Sean Paul, Mario and Rihanna are on the bill for what is being called "the biggest ever line-up of hip-hop heavyweights and R&B superstars" to perform in South Africa. The first of three shows takes place on April 27 at the Johannesburg Stadium. Concerts are also planned in Durban on April 29 and Cape Town on May 1. Local South African artists will open each of the shows.
On April 27, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band kicks off its 2006 concerts in Ontario. The group will open Willie Nelson's Canadian shows through May 15. The Dirt Band, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, will continue their summer outing with appearances at fairs and festivals throughout the United States.