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Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Sting Among Artists to Participate in Tsunami Fundraising Efforts

Many more artists are donating their time and talents to fundraising efforts for the tsunami victims in Southern Asia. Among them: Willie Nelson headlined the "Tsunami Relief Austin to South Asia" concert in Austin, Texas on January 9. Other performers included Ray Price, Patty Griffin, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders.

On January 12, Terror Squad's Remy Martin hosts a benefit concert in New York City. The event will feature rap duo M.O.P. Brian May recently announced that proceeds from the one-thousandth performance of the Queen-based musical We Will Rock You will go to the Disaster Emergency Committee.

Sheryl Crow, Kenny Chesney and Christina Aguilera are among the performers who will appear on a live NBC telethon, set for January 15.

On January 29, Canadian stars Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan will take part in the "Concert For Tsunami Relief" in Vancouver.

On February 10, Sting will perform a concert in Perth, Australia and he'll donate all of the proceeds from the show to the tsunami victims.

And, British DJ Mike Read has donated his song "Grief Never Grows Old" to raise money for the tsunami victims. Cliff Richard, Boy George, Chris Rea, Robin Gibb, Olivia Newton-John and other British artists will lend their voices to the single, which will be released under the group name One World Project.

Pop singer Aaron Carter, 17, says he survived a "near death experience" in Florida January 6. The younger brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter was driving his Cadillac Escalade when a mattress fell off of a truck traveling in front of him. He ran over the mattress, which got stuck under his vehicle. Carter was able to pull off the road, but the mattress caught on fire and caused his Escalade to explode. Luckily, he escaped with only minor injuries.

Sales of albums, singles and digital tracks totaled 817 million in 2004. According to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks sales, it's the first time since 2000 that sales surpassed the 800 million mark. Most of the increase was a result of huge digital track sales. 141 million were sold in 2004, compared to only 19.2 million in 2003. Album sales increased 1.6 percent in 2004.

Legendary singer Dionne Warwick is working on a duets album for release in 2005. Titled My Friends and Me, the collection will include collaborations with Elton John, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, and other stars.

Matchbox Twenty's drummer Paul Doucette and his wife Moon Unit Zappa, daughter of the late rock legend Frank Zappa, welcomed their first child on December 22. The couple named their daughter Matilda Plum.


The 20th annual gospel music Stellar Awards will be presented on January 15 in Houston, Texas. The event will be co-hosted by Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin. This year's top contenders include Fred Hammond and the Williams Brothers, who each received six nominations. Close behind with five nods apiece are CeCe Winans, Tonex and Bishop Paul S. Morton.


On January 12, Alison Krauss & Union Station kick off their "Lonely Runs Both Ways" tour in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The first leg of the outing includes shows in 17 East Coast cities through February 11. The band's album of the same name features the current hit "Restless."

Country star George Strait will kick off his 2005 tour on January 13. Concerts begin in Charlotte, North Carolina and are scheduled to wrap up in Denver, Colorado on March 5. Newcomers Dierks Bentley and Amber Dotson will be Strait's opening acts.

On January 14, Country stars Brad Paisley and Sara Evans will begin their co-headlining "Mud & Suds" tour in Verona, New York. Their show on January 15 will be a homecoming benefit in Wheeling, West Virginia, near Paisley's hometown of Glen Dale. Proceeds will go to flood relief organizations in the Ohio Valley. The area was hit with record rainfall last September. Andy Griggs will open shows on the tour, which runs through mid-March.