Madonna Makes Donation to Italian Earthquake Victims
After a Malawian judge denied Madonna's request to adopt three-year-old Mercy James, the singer's lawyer, Alan Chinula, filed an appeal with the country's Supreme Court. The appeal reportedly will be heard within a few weeks. Meanwhile, the Malawi Human Rights Commission has gotten involved in the case. Chinula says, "We believe the honorable judge erred in her ruling because we believe the rights of the child were not fully considered." Grace Malera, who heads the Human Rights Commission's legal services, added, "We want to make sure that the rights of the child are fully protected." In other news, according to Madonna's spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, the singer has made a "substantial donation" for relief efforts in central Italy. A major earthquake there killed more than 285 people. Madonna's paternal grandparents lived in Pacentro, which is 60 miles south of L'Aquila, the epicenter of the April 6 earthquake. "I am happy to lend a helping hand to the town that my ancestors are from. My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones or their homes," Madonna said.
Chris Brown Pleads Not Guilty to Assault Charges
Singer Chris Brown entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on April 6. He's charged with assaulting and threatening his girlfriend Rihanna. According to the Associated Press, Rihanna's attorney, Donald Etra, said his client "is hoping for a deal before a preliminary hearing or trial in the case but that she will testify if required to."
Dave Matthews Band Welcomes New Member
Saxophonist Jeff Coffin was recently added as a touring member of the Dave Matthews Band. Last year, he filled in for original saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who was seriously injured in an all-terrain-vehicle accident. Moore later died from complications related to his injuries. Coffin is a three-time Grammy Award winner who performs with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. He also conducts clinics at high schools and universities to teach saxophone and performing techniques. (Find more Dave Matthews Band information in the Tours section).
Keith Urban Tops Billboard Album Chart
The week ending April 18, Country star Keith Urban scores his first Number One on the Billboard 200 with Defying Gravity. 171,000 copies of the album were sold its first week of release. Defying Gravity also debuted in the top spot on the Country Albums chart to become his third Number One release on that list.
New Black Eyed Peas Hit is Most Popular Digital Download
The Black Eyed Peas sold over 400,000 digital downloads of "Boom Boom Pow" its first week of release to earn a Number One entry on the Hot 100 chart. The song will be included on the band's upcoming album, The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies), which will be out on June 9. The Black Eyed Peas plan to perform a concert tour in support of the collection.
Scott MacIntyre Says Goodbye to American Idol
Arizona native Scott MacIntyre was voted off American Idol on April 8. The visually impaired 23-year-old performed Survivor's "The Search Is Over." Musical guests on the elimination show included Frankie Avalon and former American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler, who sang her latest hit, "Best Days Of Your Life." April 14, the remaining seven contestants will perform songs from motion pictures.
New Album Releases April 14
"Forever In A Day" - Day26
"Moving Forward" - Bernie Williams
"One Hundred Years From Now" - Dennis DeYoung
"California Years" - Jill Sobule
"Little White Lies" - Fastball
"Live 1969" - Simon & Garfunkel
The 10th annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will take place April 17-19 in Indio, California. Headliners include Paul McCartney, the Killers and the Cure. McCartney said, "I've heard that Coachella is one of the greatest festivals in the world. I'm really excited to get out there and rock!" Other performers will include Franz Ferdinand, M.I.A., Morrissey, Leonard Cohen, My Bloody Valentine and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Brad Paisley led the winners at the April 5 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards. He went into the race with a leading six nominations and won three, including Top Male Vocalist; Vocal Event of the Year for his duet with Keith Urban, "Start A Band;" and Video of the Year for "Waitin' On A Woman," a clip that features legendary actor Andy Griffith. Carrie Underwood took home her second consecutive Top Female ACM Award and also the night's top honor, Entertainer of the Year. Only seven women have won the Entertainer award since the category was introduced in 1970. This year's other winners included Taylor Swift, who picked up the Album of the Year trophy for Fearless. She also received a Crystal Milestone Award for selling more albums that any other Country artist during the past year and for bringing younger fans to the genre. Trace Adkins won Single Record of the Year for "You're Gonna Miss This," Jamey Johnson earned the Song of the Year songwriter award for "In Color," Julianne Hough was named Top New Artist, Sugarland beat out 14-year favorite Brooks & Dunn for Vocal Duo of the Year, and Rascal Flatts took home their seventh consecutive Vocal Group of the Year award, which sets a new record for most consecutive wins in that category.
Look Who's Going On Tour!
On April 12, The Dead (formerly known as the Grateful Dead) kicked off their first tour in five years. Original members Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart made the decision to reunite after performing at a campaign fundraiser for President Obama in October 2008. Shows began in Greensboro, North Carolina. The band will wrap up its 19-city outing on May 10 in Mountain View, California.
The Dave Matthews Band will support its upcoming album, Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, with a North American tour that begins on April 14 at New York's Madison Square Garden. The album will be released on June 2. After wrapping up shows on June 20, the group will head to Europe to perform shows in the U.K., France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. A second round of U.S. shows will follow from July 18 through early October.
On April 16, Jo Dee Messina will begin an intimate tour designed to give fans the chance to interact with her. Messina says, "They know the music, but I want the audience to get to know me. They get to ask questions, they get to request songs. They become part of the show and no two shows will be the same." The "Music Room Series" stage will be modeled after her home recording studio. The 12-date tour starts in Verona, New York and wraps up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 5.