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Backstreet Boys Release New Album; Madonna Publishes Another Children's Book

  • Mary Morningstar

On June 14, Jive Records will release the much-anticipated new album by the Backstreet Boys. Never Gone comes five years after the release of the five-member vocal groups last album Black and Blue. Released in 2000, that collection has sold nearly 5.5 million copies in the United States.

Callaway Arts & Entertainment released Madonna's fifth children's book, Lotsa de Casha, on June 7. Nicholas Callaway, who founded the company, describes the book as "a whimsical updating of the age-old truth that money can't buy happiness." Lotsa de Casha tells the story of the richest man in the world, who loses everything but gains a friend. It will reportedly be the last in Madonna's successful series of children's books.

American Idol season four winner Carrie Underwood has signed with Arista Records. Her first single, "In Your Heaven," will be released on June 14. It will also include Carrie's version of Martina McBride's 1994 hit "Independence Day," which she performed during the American Idol competition. Underwood's full album will follow later this year. The 22-year-old singer from Oklahoma will tour with nine other American Idol finalists beginning July 12 in Fort Myers, Florida.

"American Idol Live" is currently scheduled to stop in 41 cities through September 10, but more dates may be added.

Garth Brooks has split from his career-long label Capitol Records. The announcement was made on June 3 and although details are to remain confidential, the split is reportedly a mutual agreement between Brooks and Capitol. Garth signed with Capitol in 1988, and since then, he's sold more than 100 million albums to become the best-selling male solo artist ever.

Bob Geldof has added a sixth show to his free "Live 8" concerts. The first five all-star shows will take place in London, Rome, Paris, Berlin and Philadelphia on July 2. On July 6, the final "Live 8" event will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Among the numerous stars signed on for the concerts are Madonna, Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, U2, Stevie Wonder, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Andrea Bocelli, Dido, Bon Jovi, Sting, 50 Cent, and many, many more. Geldof organized the "Live 8" concerts to raise awareness of poverty in developing countries. The G8 Summit will take place July 6 - 8 in Gleneagles, Scotland.

MUSICAL EVENTS/FESTIVALS/BENEFITS:

The 32nd annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival will begin on June 16. The Colorado event in San Juan Valley runs through June 19 with performances by Alison Krauss & Union Station, Earl Scruggs, Stanley Clarke, Leo Kottke, and others.

AWARDS PRESENTATIONS/WINNERS:

Broadway's The Light in the Piazza earned wins in both musical categories at the June 5 Tony Awards, which were held at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Ted Sperling, Adam Guettel and Bruce Coughlin won in the category of Best Orchestration. Adam Guettel won a second Tony Award for Best Original Score Written for the Theater.

TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION:

On June 17, pop singer-songwriter James Taylor will begin a 34-date North American concert tour in Hartford, Connecticut. The outing is scheduled to wrap up in Rosemont, Illinois on September 2.

According to Billboard Boxscore, the Eagles have the top-grossing tour so far this year with $76.7 million in ticket sales. The legendary group will kick off another round of U.S. dates on August 11 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

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