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Gwen Stefani Gives Birth; Beyonce to Release Second Solo Album


The Rolling Stones' web site reports that guitarist Keith Richards has fully recovered from the head injury he received in April while vacationing in Fiji. A statement from Richards said, "Excuse me, I fell off of my perch! Sorry to disrupt everyone's plans, but now it's full steam ahead! Ouch!!" The Rolling Stones were forced to postpone many of their European tour dates, which will now begin on July 11 in Milan, Italy. The band will also perform in Austria, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, England, Norway and Denmark.

The Dixie Chicks' new album, "Taking the Long Way," became their third release to debut at Number One on the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts (week ending June 10). Despite minimal airplay of the collection's first two singles, fans bought close to 526,000 copies of the album its first week in record stores. The Dixie Chicks are the first female group in chart history to have three Number One entries. (An English feature on the Dixie Chicks new album #7-401438 is now available in dalet.)

Singer Gwen Stefani and her husband Gavin Rossdale welcomed their first child together on May 26. They named him Kingston James McGregor Rossdale. Gavin has a 16-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Beyonce Knowles has set September 5 as the U.S. release date for her second solo album. The international release of "B'Day" will be September 4, the R&B star's 25th birthday. The album's first single, "Déjà vu," teams Beyonce with hip-hop star Jay-Z, who's rumored to be her boyfriend. In other news, Beyonce will be seen in the upcoming motion picture version of "Dreamgirls." The film, which also stars Jamie Foxx, Danny Glover and Eddie Murphy, will open on December 22.

Country legends George Jones and Merle Haggard will collaborate on a new album this year. "Kickin' Out The Footlights…Again" will feature George singing five of his favorite Haggard songs and Merle's versions of five of his favorite George Jones songs. They'll also duet on several tracks. Jones says, "The last time we recorded together was 25 years ago, and though we've both changed a lot over the years, our love for real country music and respect for each other has only gotten stronger. The fans want to hear Hag sing a Jones song and me sing one of Hag's." Haggard added, "I'm really looking forward to making this record. Jones and I can't help but be competitive and we'll make each other work even harder in the studio." "Kickin' Out the Footlights…Again" will be released on Bandit Records in October.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

The 2006 CMA Music Festival (formerly called Fan Fair) was held June 8-11 in Nashville. The event included daily concerts at the Riverfront Stages and nightly shows at the 67,000 seat Coliseum. Country stars offering more than 70 hours of musical entertainment include Brooks & Dunn, Trisha Yearwood, LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams, Jr., Martina McBride, and hundreds of other performers and celebrities. For the third year, artists from countries outside the U.S. will showcase their talent at the CMA Global Artists Party. Performers are not paid for their participation at the CMA Music Festival. The Country Music Association donates fifty-percent of the net proceeds to charity. In addition to the many concerts, Country fans will have the opportunity to meet their favorite singers at autograph sessions. Last year's CMA Music Festival attracted more than 145,000 people from all 50 states and 20 overseas countries. On July 24, ABC-TV will air a two-hour special of the festival's highlights.

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band, James Brown, Phil Woods, McCoy Tyner, Toots Thielemans, Wayne Shorter, Susan Tedeschi, Etta James, Little Feat, Soulive, Dickey Betts and Byron Stripling will headline the 5th annual Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York. The 9-day event will feature more than 170 concerts and 600 musicians representing more than one dozen countries. The jazz festival kicked off on June 9 and wraps up on June 17.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION:

On June 5, Ashlee Simpson began a summer North American tour in Santa Barbara, California. She'll be promoting her 2005 album "I Am Me," which has sold nearly 900,000 copies in the U.S. The tour is scheduled to wrap up on July 29th.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will kick off their "Highway Companions" tour on June 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The outing will support Petty's upcoming third solo album of the same name. Singer Stevie Nicks will open shows through June 21.

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