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Popular Artists to Appear on Save Darfur Benefit CD; Former 'Idol' Contestant McPhee Makes Movie Debut


On June 12, Show Dog Records will release Country star Toby Keith's new album, Big Dog Daddy. Its first single, "High Maintenance Woman," peaked at Number 3 on the Country chart and remains in the Top 10 this week. On June 21, Toby will begin his "Big Dog Daddy" tour in Birmingham, Alabama. In other news, the Oklahoma native has announced that he recently recorded his second Christmas album, which will be out later this year. It's a double CD with ten religious holiday songs and ten Christmas classics. And, Toby will open his fourth "I Love This Bar & Grill" eatery in 2008. The restaurant will be built at the Cherokee Casino Resort in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Toby's three other restaurants are located in Oklahoma City, Las Vegas and Kansas City.

U2, the Black Eyed Peas, Country duo Big & Rich and Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour are among the artists who appear on the benefit CD Instant Karma: The Campaign To Save Darfur (Songs of John Lennon) The album hits record stores on June 12. Proceeds will go to Amnesty International's campaign to end the genocide in Darfur. Amnesty's executive director Larry Cox says, "There's no situation that demands action more than Darfur and this project seems like the perfect vehicle. It's about enlisting a new generation of activists. Young people are eager to help. …Our challenge is overcoming a degree of hopelessness. We can't afford to fail." In related news, rock band Green Day has designed Hard Rock International's 24th Signature Series t-shirt to benefit Amnesty's Darfur campaign. (Very cool shirt. Can be purchased at Hard Rock locations worldwide or at www.hardrock.com )

On June 16, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Keb' Mo' and Hubert Sumlin will be inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk. The induction ceremony will be followed by the King of the Blues Grand Finals, featuring performances by The Black Crowes, Hubert Sumlin, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the top four undiscovered blues guitar players in the country.

Singer Katharine McPhee will make her motion picture debut in the upcoming independent romantic comedy The Last Caller. The American Idol season 5 runner-up will play a self-obsessed woman in search of love, hope and meaning. She won't sing in the movie, which begins filming later this year. McPhee told Hollywood Reporter, "I'm up for a couple of big studio projects, but they weren't starring roles. I wanted to start off doing something a little different. It's something that a lot of people wouldn't expect me (to do)."

NEW ALBUM RELEASES

New albums scheduled for release on June 12 include: "Missing Years" by Little Texas, "Big Dog Daddy" by Toby Keith, "Insomniac" by Enrique Iglesias, "From Nothin' To Somethin'" by Fabolous, "Theology" by Sinead O'Connor and "Courage" by Paula Cole.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS

This week, tens of thousands of rock fans will be in Manchester, Tennessee to attend the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The four-day event, which runs from June 14 through June 17, will feature concerts by more than 50 acts, including the reunited Police, Lily Allen, Dierks Bentley, Franz Ferdinand, the Flaming Lips and the White Stripes.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION

On June 11, Genesis will begin their reunion tour in Helsinki, Finland. The band's lineup includes Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks. Twenty-four European concerts are scheduled through July 14, including an appearance at the July 7 "Live Earth" benefit in London. The first of the band's 24 North American shows takes place on September 7 in Toronto, Ontario.

The Fray will support its multi-million-selling debut album, How To Save a Life, with a U.S. summer tour, which begins on June 11 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The band will wrap up the trek with hometown shows in Denver, Colorado on August 4, 5 and 6.

On June 14, Alison Krauss and Union Station Featuring Jerry Douglas will kick off their "A Hundred Miles or More Tour" with a sold-out concert in Jackson, Mississippi. The outing includes appearances at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Crossroads Guitar Festival and the Newport Folk Festival. Shows are scheduled to wrap up on August 25 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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