The winner and runner-up of the American Idol season 6 competition are working on their debut albums. 2007 American Idol Jordin Sparks and runner-up Blake Lewis have been in the recording studio between concert dates on this summer's "American Idols Live!" tour. The outing wraps up on September 22. Sparks plans to finish up her album in Los Angeles after the tour ends. Lewis has already recorded eight songs and describes his sound as "very inspired by Michael Jackson, Prince, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, (and) the Cure." "It's all over the map, really. Very influenced by '80s hip-hop, old-school breaks, whatever," he says.
More details have emerged about Van Halen's upcoming tour. The band has confirmed that their 25 concerts will begin on September 27 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The tour is scheduled to wrap up on December 11 in Calgary, Alberta. During a recent press conference, lead singer David Lee Roth said, "This is not a reunion. This is a whole new band." 52-year-old guitarist Eddie Van Halen added, "It is totally blowing our minds and I think it will yours, too. It's better than it's ever been." They also revealed plans to perform in Asia and Australia, but dates have not yet been set. David Lee Roth said the group hopes to begin work on a new studio album following the tour.
On August 21, Harmony Books will publish Patti Boyd's memoir Wonderful Tonight. Patti is the former wife of the late Beatle George Harrison and Eric Clapton. She inspired Clapton's 1972 Top 10 hit "Layla" and Harrison's "Something." In related news, Clapton's autobiography is scheduled for release on October 9. Several other artists will also have books out in the coming months. They include "SLASH" by Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash (October 16), "Lyrics" by Sting (October 23) and "Runnin' Down a Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" by Tom Petty (November 1).
A new nightclub called LUX will open on August 31 at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Investors in the club include Christina Aguilera and DJ AM, who was once engaged to Lionel Richie's daughter Nicole Richie. Britney Spears will host the opening.
Matchbox Twenty's greatest hits album, Exile On Mainstream, will be released in October. The collection will include 11 of the band's biggest hits, plus 6 new songs. Matchbox Twenty will support the album with U.S. concerts in January 2008. Australian shows are also planned in March. After wrapping up the tour, lead singer Rob Thomas will begin work on his second solo album.
The Associated Press reports that Lisa Marie Presley has recorded a duet with her late father Elvis Presley. Her vocals were added to his 1969 recording of "In The Ghetto," which is available (beginning August 17) on www.spinner.com . Lisa said, "We had two hours to lay down my vocals. So the next morning, I heard the rough and I've never cried when I've done anything, ever, but I just lost it when I heard it." Proceeds from the single and video will fund temporary housing for the homeless in New Orleans.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on August 21 include: "Because I Love It" by Amerie, "Real Things" by Joe Nichols, "This Delicate Thing We've Made" by Darren Hayes, "One Man Band" by Swizz Beatz and "The Heroin Diaries" by Nikki Sixx.
New albums scheduled for release on August 28 include: "Open Book" by Evelyn 'Champagne' King, "Hustlenomics" by Yung Joc, "Classic Songs: My Way" by Paul Anka (includes duets with Jon Bon Jovi and Michael Buble), "The Altar and The Door" by Casting Crowns, "Lifeline" by Ben Harper, "Noreality" by Noreaga and "How You Live" by Point of Grace.
On August 24, rapper Kanye West will host a concert in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois to benefit his foundation. The Kanye West Foundation works to "combat the severe dropout problem in high schools across the U.S. by developing student-centered programs geared towards increased literacy, heightened self-worth, independent thinking and self-actualization through the arts." The benefit will include surprise guests and a sneak peek at his upcoming album Graduation, which is due out on September 11.
Nominations for the 41st annual Country Music Association, CMA, Awards will be announced on August 30. Tune in to ABC-TV's Good Morning America to hear the final nominees announced live by Country singer Sara Evans. The 2007 CMA Awards will take place in Nashville on November 7.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
On August 23, Stevie Wonder will begin a 13-city tour in San Diego, California. "A Wonder Summer's Night" tour marks his first outing in more than a decade. The itinerary wraps up on September 20 in Boston, Massachusetts. Stevie will appear at the September 18 "The Dream Concert" at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The show will honor Dr. Martin Luther King and raise money to build Dr. King's Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Country singer Clint Black will kick off his "Up Close & Personal" tour on August 23 in Cerritos, California. He'll stop in more than 45 North American cities before wrapping up dates in Monterey, California on November 20. Clint says the concerts will run longer than shows he's done in the past to give him the opportunity to include more of his hits and album cuts that reach back to his early material. He'll also be introducing four or five new tunes from his upcoming album, due in stores October 9.
On August 27, British singer Joss Stone will begin a North American tour in Los Angeles. She'll be supporting her latest album, Introducing Joss Stone. The tour ends in Detroit, Michigan on October 2.
The Police will take their reunion tour to Europe on August 29. Shows begin in Stockholm, Sweden. The band will also play concerts in Denmark, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Belgium and Wales. They'll wrap up the European leg on October 19 and head back to the U.S. for another round of concerts, which begin on October 31 at New York's Madison Square Garden.