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Eminem's Back; Popular Green Day Album Becomes Musical Play 


29-year-old church music director Danny Gokey was voted off American Idol on May 13. That leaves 23-year-old Kris Allen and 27-year-old Adam Lambert in the 2009 American Idol race. The two-night finale will take place on May 19 and 20. Danny Gokey is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His wife of four years, Sophia, died of complications from heart surgery one month before he auditioned for American Idol. Danny has announced his plan to return to Milwaukee, where he'll begin work on his Sophia's Heart Foundation. Gokey also says, "I would like to start a movement with my music…Maybe it didn't line up with the goals of what (the show's producers) see as a pop star. I'm OK with that. I was a nobody and this show turned me into somebody. I do believe the best is yet to come for me. This is not the end of the road." Gokey will join the other Top 10 contestants on the upcoming "American Idols Live" tour. The outing begins on July 5 in Portland, Oregon.

Former Idol Studdard to Release 4th Album

On May 17, American Idol season two winner Ruben Studdard wraps up playing the lead role of Fats Waller in the touring company of Ain't Misbehavin'. Two days later, his fourth album, Love Is, will be released. The collection contains some original songs, plus covers of Al Green's "For The Good Times," Extreme's "More Than Words," Michael Jackson's "I Can't Help It," the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" and Johnnie Taylor's "Just Because." Ruben is currently on the R&B chart with the Ne-Yo penned track, "Together."

Popular Green Day Album Becomes Musical Stage Show

A musical based on Green Day's 2004 multi-million-selling album, American Idiot, is being made into a stage show. The musical will run September 4 - October 11 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Burbank, California. Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer collaborated on the show with Green Day's lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. Billboard reports that Green Day's new album, 21st Century Breakdown, is expected to debut at Number One next week (week ending May 30).

Eminem Releases New Album

On May 19, Interscope Records will release Eminem's first album in four years. Relapse will be followed later this year by the Detroit rapper's second project, Relapse 2. Dr. Dre produced all but one track on Relapse, which features the recent Top 10 single, "We Made You."

Lionel Ritchie Updates Sound with Help from Ne-Yo, Akon

Lionel Richie wanted to update his sound for his new album, "Just Go," so he enlisted the help of Ne-Yo, Akon and some of today's other top R&B songwriters. Lionel says he asked them to write songs that would "sound like Lionel Richie in 2009." Island Records will release Just Go on May 19. Its title track climbs to Number 12 on this week's Adult Contemporary chart (week ending May 23).

New Album Releases May 19

"Greatest Hits II" - Kenny Chesney
"Back On My B.S." - Busta Rhymes
"Live From Madison Square Garden" (double CD) - Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood "City of Black and White" - Mat Kearney
"Abnormally Attracted To Sin" - Tori Amos
"Lady Love" - LeToya
"Rock Steady" - Richard Elliot
"Jealous One's Still Envy" - Fat Joe
"So Glad I'm Me" by Lakisha Jones

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits

Attendance was up at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which took place April 24-26 and April 30-May 3. The festival drew more than 400,000 music fans. That's 25,000 more than 2008's numbers. Over 60,000 fans attended Bon Jovi's concert at the festival on May 2. Randy Phillips, who co-produced the show with Festival Productions said, "Bon Jovi's enduring appeal manifested itself in one of the biggest days ever at Jazz Fest."


Awards Presentations/Winners

On May 17, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum held its Medallion Ceremony for the 2009 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees. The newest members are Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy. Kyle Young, Director of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum says, "The music created by the 2009 Hall of Fame inductees collectively reflects the European and African musical forms and traditions that are the bedrock of Country Music. Roy, Charlie and Barbara - each in their own way - have nodded to tradition to create music relevant to the first generations of the space age and they have helped to extend the footprint of Country Music and American culture around the world. These are three of the 20th Century's most important artists."

The songwriting team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff will be named BMI Icons at the publishing rights organization's 57th annual Pop Awards. The event takes place on May 19 in Los Angeles. Gamble and Huff wrote such hits as "Me and Mrs. Jones," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," Back Stabbers" and "When Will I See You Again."

Look Who's Going on Tour!

On May 19, rock band Carbon Leaf will begin a U.S. tour in support of its new album Nothing Rhymes With Woman. Shows kick off in Boston, Massachusetts and wrap up on June 15 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The group will visit Voice of America on May 22 to tape a "Border Crossings" program with Larry London.

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