On December 2, the 29th Kennedy Center Honors will be presented to film director Steven Spielberg, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, conductor Zubin Mehta and singers Smokey Robinson and Dolly Parton. The five icons will receive their awards during a State Department dinner. The following day, they'll attend a reception at the White House and a star-studded tribute concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show will be taped for a CBS television special, which will air in late December.
Singer Gwen Stefani's second solo album, The Great Escape, will be released in December, but she's already looking forward to her next studio project. During a recent interview with MTV Europe, Gwen said, "I can't predict anything, but I don't plan on making another one of these solo dance project records. I definitely feel myself going back to No Doubt after this to do a No Doubt record."
Pop/rock singer Uncle Kracker has finished recording his fourth album, Happy Hour. Atlantic Records will release the collection in early 2007. Uncle Kracker wrote all of its songs with his producer Michael Bradford. Guests include Leo Sayer, who joins Kracker on the title track, and Boyz II Men, who sing on "The One That Got Away."
Art Garfunkel and producer Richard Perry are putting the finishing touches on a new album of pop standards. Some Enchanted Evening features Garfunkel's covers of show tune classics by some of the greatest 20th century songwriters, including Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Antonio Carlos Jobim and George Gershwin. Garfunkel says, "I've been loving this stuff all my life. In this nervous world, I want to soothe. It's a great time for moderation, for thoughtfulness, for dialogue, for the great Exhale, for humor. A great time for a sweet sound, a visceral, charming, prayerful sound." The album will be released on January 30.
Singer and actress Mandy Moore has devoted the past few years to making movies, but she'll soon return to music with her first new album since 2003. Mandy told Billboard.com, "I'm so excited to be back and making music. It's my first love." She wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks on the album, which she describes as "a passion project." Mandy plans to tour around the time of the album's release in April.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on November 28 include: ""Light Grenades" by Incubus, "Farewell to the World" by Crowded House, "One Life" by Johnny Clegg and "On an Island" (CD/DVD set) by David Gilmour.
The Black Eyed Peas were triple winners at the 34th annual American Music Awards, which were handed out in Los Angeles on November 21. They were named Favorite Soul/R&B Group and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Group and also took home the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album award for Monkey Business. Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige and the Red Hot Chili Peppers each received two trophies. Kelly won the Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist honors. Mary J. Blige's album The Breakthrough brought her the awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist. The Red Hot Chili Peppers earned the Favorite Pop/Rock Group and Favorite Alternative Music awards. Other winners included Sean Paul, Nickelback, Jamie Foxx, Shakira, Carrie Underwood, Kirk Franklin, Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Eminem.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
On November 30, the 2006 GAC Country Christmas Tour will begin in Wichita, Kansas. This year's lineup includes Julie Roberts, Deana Carter, Blue County, Steve Azar and Buddy Jewell. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit World Vision Storehouse Project, a community store that helps meet the needs of underprivileged families.