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U2, Green Day Help Reopen Louisiana Superdome; Tony Bennett Releases New Album


On September 26, Columbia Records will release the new Tony Bennett album, Duets: An American Classic. The 18-song collection features collaborations with U2's Bono, the Dixie Chicks, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and others. In addition to the many contemporary covers, Bennett included a new version of his signature song "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." NBC will air Bennett's television special, also titled "Duets: An American Classic," on November 21.

Justin Timberlake debuts at Number One on this week's Billboard 200 chart (week ending September 30) with his latest album FutureSex/LoveSounds. The album sold 684,000 copies its first week in U.S. record stores. Billboard.com reports that the album made Top 10 debuts in eight European countries. Justin spends his fourth week at the top of the Hot 100 chart with its first single "SexyBack."

Country star Brad Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, are expecting their first child in February. Kimberly stars in the weekly ABC television comedy "According To Jim." The couple met in 2002 when she appeared in the video to Brad's Number One single "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)." They were married in March 2003.

Detroit rocker and 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bob Seger has announced he'll soon kick off his first concert tour in more than ten years. Shows are expected to begin in November. The 61-year-old recently released Face the Promise, which debuted at Number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

On September 25, U2 and Green Day help reopen the Louisiana Superdome with a special concert before the Monday night football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. The Superdome, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, was used as a temporary shelter for 30,000 people who lost their homes during the storm. $184 million was spent to rebuild the sports stadium. New Orleans Saints quarterback said, "To think of all the people the Superdome saved, you look at that arena as more than just a football stadium." Cable channel ESPN will carry a live broadcast of the pre-game festivities.

NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on September 26 include: "20 Y.O." by Janet Jackson; "Release Therapy" by Ludacris; "Like Red on a Rose" by Alan Jackson (produced by Grammy-winning bluegrass artist Alison Krauss); "Ecce Cor Meum" by Paul McCartney; "Gallery" by Mario Vazquez; "Ta-Dah" by the Scissor Sisters; "Acoustic Hearts of Winter" by Aly & AJ; "Nashville" by Solomon Burke (includes duets with Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless and Emmylou Harris); "Nashville Rebel" by Waylon Jennings (4-CD box set with two previously unreleased tracks, including "The Greatest Cowboy of Them All," a 1978 duet with the late Johnny Cash); "Last Man Standing" by Jerry Lee Lewis; "Leavin'" by Natalie Cole; and "Straight Outta Lynwood" by Weird Al Yankovic.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

On September 26, some of today's biggest bluegrass stars will gather at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House to take part in the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Celebration. This year's event will feature appearances by four of the 2006 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Entertainer of the Year nominees - Cherryholmes, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Rhonda Vincent. The IBMA Awards will be handed out two days later (September 28 - see Awards section).

The 20th annual Farm Aid benefit will take place on September 30 in Camden, New Jersey. Among the artists joining Farm Aid founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp are Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews, Jerry Lee Lewis, Los Lonely Boys, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Earle and his wife Allison Moorer, and Allison's sister, Shelby Lynne. To date, Farm Aid has raised more than $29 million to help support family farms throughout the U.S.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS

The 17th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA) Awards will be presented on September 28. Alison Krauss & Union Station lead the nominees with 11 mentions, including Vocal Group of the Year and Instrumental Group of the Year. Other top contenders include Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and Cherryholmes, which won the IBMA's Entertainer of the Year Award in 2005. Marty Stuart will host the ceremony at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House.

Mariah Carey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eyed Peas and Nickelback each received three nominations for the 2006 American Music Awards. Following close behind with two nominations apiece are Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Foxx, Eminem, Rascal Flatts, Pussycat Dolls, T.I., Carrie Underwood and Kanye West. The AMA's will be handed out on November 21 in Los Angeles.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On September 27, Pink will kick off a European tour to support her latest album, I'm Not Dead. The 43-date outing begins in Zurich, Switzerland and will continue in 11 other countries, including Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, and Austria. Pink will wrap up concerts on December 13 in Hamburg, Germany.

Paul Simon will begin the second U.S. leg of his "Surprise" tour on September 29. The outing gets started in Seattle, Washington, then moves east across the United States. Simon will wrap up shows on October 24 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He'll head to Europe on November 3 to perform six concerts in the U.K., Ireland and Scotland.

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