Singer-songwriter June Carter Cash, 73, died on May 15 of complications from heart surgery. The wife of Country legend Johnny Cash had a valve replaced at Nashville's Baptist Hospital on May 7. June began performing at age 10 on the Carter Family's radio shows. When the Carter Family disbanded in 1943, siblings June, Anita and Helen Carter went on the road with their mother as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. In 1961, June began touring with Johnny Cash, and they were married seven years later. In 1967, their duet Jackson won a Grammy Award. They earned another Grammy in 1970 for If I Were A Carpenter. June co-wrote Johnny's 1963 hit Ring of Fire, which was first recorded by her younger sister Anita. Johnny's version reached Number One on the Country chart. June won her most recent Grammy Award for her 1999 album, Press On. She recently completed a new CD, titled Wildwood Flower, which is scheduled for release in August.
May 19, Aretha Franklin will lead a candlelight vigil for rhythm-and-blues star Luther Vandross at the Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit. Vandross remains unconscious and in critical but stable condition at a New York Hospital. His mother, Mary Vandross, says she's optimistic that Luther will make a full recovery. Vandross' next album Dance With My Father will be released on June 10.
The Isley Brothers scored their first Number One debut on Billboard's Top 200 chart this week. The duo's latest album, Body Kiss, sold 155,000 copies its first week in record stores. Its current single, What Would You Do?, is a Top 20 hit on the R&B/Hip Hop chart. Nice birthday present for Ron Isley, who turns 62 on May 21. The last time the Isley Brothers held the top spot on the Top 200 Albums chart was in 1975 with The Heat Is On.
VH1's "Divas Duets" concert will take place on May 22 in Las Vegas. Hosted by Queen Latifah, the show will feature performances by Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Lisa Marie Presley, Jewel, Chaka Khan, Ashanti, Mary J. Blige and Beyonce Knowles. The stars will be joined by Stevie Wonder in a finale that will pay tribute his legendary career. Proceeds from "VHI Divas Duets" will go to the cable music channel's Save The Music Foundation, which has donated more than $25 million worth of musical instruments to public schools during the past six years.
Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin returns to his Spanish roots on his new CD, Almas Del Silencio. It marks his first all Spanish-language album since 1998's Vuelve. Martin's current hit, Tal Vez, debuted at Number One on Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks chart.
Country star Tim McGraw will perform a free concert dubbed the "One Base Show" for military personnel and their families at Fort Carson, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. McGraw says, "Our 'One Band Show' tour began shortly before the war, so it just seemed fitting that we add this show to give a little something back to those who sacrificed so much. It's our small way of saying thank you." Before the war began, Tim's wife, Faith Hill, performed for troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. One of her childhood friends is stationed there. The concert aired on ABC-TV's Good Morning America.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES / MAY 20:
Country stars Darryl Worley, Deana Carter, Diamond Rio and Sara Evans will perform at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's 9th annual "Sizzlin' Country Event." The show will take place on May 20 at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will also include a dinner and live auction to raise money for cystic fibrosis research and treatment programs.
May 22, Britney Spears will auction some of the costumes she's worn in her videos and concerts. The auction will take place online at www.gottahaveit.com. Proceeds will benefit the Britney Spears Foundation, which run week-long camps for children in need.
The 38th annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be presented in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 21. Reba McEntire will host this year's show. Leading the nominees are Toby Keith with eight mentions, Alan Jackson with six, and Trick Pony and Kenny Chesney with five nominations each. George Strait will receive the ACM's Special Achievement Award for taking 50 singles to Number One on the Country chart and Alabama will be given a Pioneer Award. Nominated for this year's fan-voted Home Depot Humanitarian Award are Brooks & Dunn, Lonestar and Wynonna. Among the many artists signed on to perform are Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, George Strait and Shania Twain. The show will air live on CBS-TV.
On May 22, the 24th annual W.C. Handy Blues Awards will take place in Memphis, Tennessee. Shemekia Copeland and Magic Slim lead this year's contenders with five nominations apiece. Following close behind are Solomon Burke, W.C. Clark and Charlie Musselwhite with four nods each. The show will be taped for later broadcast on public television.
LOOK WHO'S GOING ON TOUR!
May 20, Bon Jovi will begin the European leg of its "Bounce" tour in Barcelona, Spain. The 18-date outing is scheduled to run through June 28. The New Jersey-based rock band will also perform in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland and England.
Country legend Kenny Rogers will launch a U.S. tour in Vicksburg, Minnesota on May 23. He'll spend the rest of 2003 on the road promoting his upcoming album, Back To The Well. The set is due out in August and includes a duet with Tim McGraw called We Owe Them More Than That. The song is a tribute to four late Country legends, Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins, Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell.
May 24, rocker David Lee Roth will kick off a U.S. tour in Charlotte, North Carolina in support of his upcoming album, Diamond Dave. Scheduled to hit record stores on July 8, Diamond Dave includes three self-penned tracks, as well as covers of songs by the Hombres, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, the Steve Miller Band, the Beatles and Savoy Brown.