On March 18, Sire Records released Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran. The double CD contains songs chosen by 26-year-old war veteran Tomas Young, who says, "The compilation record was an idea that grew out of my love of music and my reliance on it before, during and after the war. The songs I selected for the record were tracks that inspired, motivated, and at times, literally saved me over the past few years." Young enlisted in the U.S. Army two days after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. During his first week in Iraq, he was shot and paralyzed from the chest down. Among the artists represented on the 30-track album are Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Laura Cantrell, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters. All proceeds from sales of Body of War will go to Iraq Veterans Against the War, a non-profit organization chosen by Young.
Country superstar Alan Jackson debuts at Number One on the Billboard 200 and Country Albums charts after selling more than 119,000 copies of his new album Good Time. This marks the fourth time he's simultaneously entered both lists at Number One. Alan wrote all 17 songs on Good Time. Its current single, "Small Town Southern Man" climbs to Number 2 on this week's Country chart (week ending March 22).
Julio Iglesias, Jr. won Country Music Television's reality show Gone Country. John Rich of Big & Rich hosted the seven-episode series, which also featured contestants Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, actress/singer Maureen McCormick, American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo, R&B singer Bobby Brown and Wilson Phillips' Carnie Wilson. Iglesias was chosen as the winner by John Rich, who told Billboard magazine, "He doesn't know a lot about Country as far as modern Country, (but) he knows a lot about old Country because of his dad. We have been looking for a bridge to bridge that gap between the Hispanic community and Country music for forever. We could really use a couple of artists that speak their language and speak our language and bridge the two together. If he wanted to stick with it and take a serious run at it, he could do something." Julio's new single is "The Way I Want You."
Country star George Strait will launch the XM Radio channel "Strait Country" on April 1 to coincide with the release of his latest album, Troubadour. The 55-year-old Texan says, "It's always a thrill to hear one of your songs played on the radio, but to have XM Radio dedicate an entire channel to my music is just amazing." "Strait Country" will run on XM channel 17 through May 31. The radio shows will feature songs from his entire catalog, plus exclusive interviews with Strait.
On May 6, Atco Records will release R&B singer Keith Sweat's first album in more than five years. Just Me includes a duet with Keyshia Cole, titled "Love You Better." Sweat's biggest hits in the 1980s and '90s included "I'll Give All My Love To You," "Twisted" and "Nobody."
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums released on March 18 include: "Mail On Sunday" by Flo Rida, "Welcome To The Dollhouse" by Danity Kane, "Here Is What Is" by Daniel Lanois, "In Search of Paradise" by Meat Loaf, "Get The Party Started" by Shirley Bassey and "Live At The Ritz Atlanta" by the Indigo Girls.
The 2008 "My Coke Fest" will take place on March 21 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Headliners include Muse, Good Charlotte, Chris Cornell, 30 Seconds To Mars and Korn. A second show will be held in Cape Town on March 24. The 12-hour festivals are expected to draw thousands of rock fans.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
On March 20, the Eagles kick off a world tour at the 02 Arena in London. Five more concerts are scheduled at the arena on March 22, 23 and 26, and April 5 and 6. The group will also perform two shows in Sweden and two in the Netherlands to support its latest album "Long Road Out Of Eden."
Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z will begin their 24-date "Heart of the City" tour on March 22 in Miami. Blige will be promoting her new album Growing Pains and Jay-Z will support American Gangster, which became his 10th album to debut at Number One. Shows will wrap up on May 7 at Madison Square Garden Arena in New York.