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Christina Aguilera Releases New Album; Alicia Keys Headlines AIDS Benefit Concert


On August 15, RCA Records will release Christina Aguilera's new double CD, Back To Basics. The collection is described as a "wildly inventive modern take on vintage jazz, soul and blues from the 1920s, '30s and '40s." Christina adds, "This is a concept album that follows a bold, set vision. The touchstones are Billie Holiday, Otis Redding, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald...what I used to call my 'fun music' when I was a little girl." The album's first single is "Ain't No Other Man."

On August 19, the Lifetime cable channel will premiere American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino's autobiographical film. The High Point, North Carolina native plays herself in "The Fantasia Barrino Story," which tells how she went from being a teenage school dropout and unwed mother to winning the 2004 title of American Idol.

Billboard has chosen Tony Bennett as the recipient of its 2006 Century Award. The 80-year-old singer will be presented with the honor in December during the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. The Century Award is Billboard's highest honor for creative achievement. Previous recipients include Chet Atkins, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, George Harrison, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, John Mellencamp, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Tom Petty, Carlos Santana, Sting, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.

Because FOX-TV just doesn't have enough reality shows, American Idol judge Simon Cowell will executive produce a new talent series that begins on August 29. "Celebrity Duets" will pair professional singers with non-musical celebrities and viewers will vote for the winning team. Cyndi Lauper, Taylor Dayne, Belinda Carlisle, Lee Ann Womack, Clint Black, Macy Gray and Brian McKnight are among the artists who have signed on to the show.

The city of Nashville is planning to create a Walk of Stars that will run from downtown to the business area of record and publishing companies known as Music Row. The sidewalk plaques will honor performers, songwriters, musicians, producers and other industry professionals. The first honorees will be announced in November in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards.

NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on August 15 include: Bonnie Raitt and Friends by Bonnie Raitt on Capitol Records; Hits by Boz Scaggs on Sony Records; What's Mine Is Yours by Eliot Morris on Universal Motown Records; the original motion picture soundtrack to Cheetah Girls 2 on Disney Records; and Dangerous Man by Trace Adkins on Capitol Nashville Records.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

Alicia Keys will headline a benefit concert to open the XVI International AIDS Conference, which runs from August 13-18 in Toronto. Conference participants are expected to number 20,000. The August 13 benefit concert will also include performances by Barenaked Ladies, Amanda Marshall, Our Lady Peace and Chantal Kreviazuk, as well as an appearance by actor Richard Gere. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to various AIDS organizations.

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