On May 9, Jive Records released pop singer Nick Lachey's new album, What's Left of Me. Lachey performed with the vocal group 98 Degrees in the 1990s. The boy band recorded four million-selling albums between 1997 and 2000. 98 Degrees went on hiatus in 2002 and Nick released his first solo album, SoulO, in 2003. Many of the songs on his new album reportedly deal with the breakup of his marriage to pop star Jessica Simpson, who filed for divorce in December of last year. The week ending May 13, the title track from "What's Left of Me" jumps from Number 33 to Number 6 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
Warner Brothers Records released Paul Simon's first new album in six years on May 9. Surprise was produced by Brian Eno, a former member of Roxy Music. Eno is known for his work with David Bowie, U2 and Talking Heads. Guests on Surprise include pianist Herbie Hancock and guitarist Bill Frisell. On May 7, Simon will make an appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake recently met in a Miami studio to record a duet called "Crowd Control." Nelly's next album, Loose, will be released on June 20, but reports indicate the duet will be saved for Justin's next album. In related news, Justin makes a cameo appearance in the video to Furtado's new single, "Promiscuous."
Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees plans to record a Country album. To inspire him, he recently purchased the Nashville home that belonged to late Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash. Gibb says, "The only way to make a Country album is to be in the middle of it."
Speaking of Nashville, the fourth season Nashville Star was crowned on May 2. 20-year-old Chris Young won a recording contract with the RCA Label Group and a Chevy Silverado truck. Young is a part-time college student working on a bachelor's degree in recording industry management. His debut album will be released later this year.
29-year-old Colombian singer Shakira led the winners at the 2006 Billboard Latin Music Awards, which were presented April 27 in Hollywood, Florida. She took home the trophies for Female Latin Pop Album of the Year for Oral Fixation, Vol. 1 and shared four awards with Alejandro Sanz for its hit single "La Tortura." Shakira also received the Spirit of Hope Award for her charitable work to improve living conditions for Colombian children. Other major winners included Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee, Colombian rock singer Juanes, Dominican singer Andy Andy and Mexican pop group RBD, who earned three awards apiece.
The 2006 Blues Music Awards, formerly known as the W.C. Handy Blues Awards, will be presented in Memphis, Tennessee on May 11. Singer and pianist Marcia Ball, guitarist Magic Slim and the late singer "Little" Milton Campbell are this year's leading nominees with four mentions each. Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush, Hubert Sumlin and Kim Wilson all received three nominations. The five nominees competing for the 2006 B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award are "Little" Milton Campbell, Bobby Rush, Magic Slim, Marcia Ball and Buddy Guy.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
Pearl Jam began its 2006 concert tour on May 9 in Toronto. The rock group's self-titled first album for J Records was released last week (May 2). U.S. shows run through July 23. From June 26 through July 3, Pearl Jam will join Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers for two-night engagements in St. Paul, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Denver, Colorado. Pearl Jam will perform a month-long European tour from August 23 to September 25.
On May 10, Country star Gretchen Wilson will kick off the second leg of her "Redneck Revolution" tour. The new round of dates begins in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gretchen will be supporting her latest album All Jacked Up, which has sold more than one million copies since its release last September. Trace Adkins will co-headline the tour to promote his upcoming CD, Dangerous Man.