The band R.E.M. with lead singer Michael Stipe performs on the plaza of Rockefeller Center during NBC's Today Show in New York April 1, 2008
The band R.E.M. with lead singer Michael Stipe performs on the plaza of Rockefeller Center during NBC's Today Show in New York April 1, 2008

R.E.M. Calls it Quits

R.E.M. announced on its website that the rock band is breaking up after 31 years.  Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills wrote, ?To our fans and friends:  As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band.  We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished.  To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.?  R.E.M.?s biggest hits include ?Stand,? ?Shiny Happy People,? ?Losing My Religion? and ?Everybody Hurts.?  This past March, R.E.M. released its 15th and final album, Collapse into Now.

Elton John Launches New Vegas Show

Elton John
Elton John

Elton John will begin his new show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on September 28.  ?Million Dollar Piano? is scheduled to run for three years.  Elton performed his first Vegas show, ?The Red Piano,? at The Colosseum from 2004 to 2009.

Lady Antebellum Scores Another Billboard Hit

Lady Antebellum's "Own The Night" CD
Lady Antebellum's "Own The Night" CD

Lady Antebellum sold 347,000 copies of its third album Own the Night its first week of release.  That was enough to give the collection a Number One entry on both the Country and Billboard 200 charts.  In other chart news this week, Tony Bennett?s duet with the late Amy Winehouse on ?Body and Soul? debuts at Number 87 on the Hot 100 pop list. Bennett, 85, is now the oldest-living artist to land on that chart.  He surpasses previous record-holder George Burns, who was 84 when he scored a hit with ?I Wish I Was 18 Again? in 1980.

New CD Celebrates Nirvana's 20th Anniversary

Nirvana's "Nevermind" CD Deluxe Edition
Nirvana's "Nevermind" CD Deluxe Edition

Universal Music is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nirvana?s major label debut album Nevermind with the release of a Super Deluxe Edition.  The expanded set?s four CDs contain the original album, demos and other rare tracks, radio sessions, alternate mixes, live recordings, and more.  Also included is a DVD with the four music videos from Nevermind, unreleased BBC recordings and the band?s Halloween 1991 concert in Seattle, Washington.

Toby Keith is Country's Biggest Money Maker

Toby Keith's "35 Biggest Hits" CD
Toby Keith's "35 Biggest Hits" CD

Forbes has released its list of the biggest money-makers in Country music.  The list represents earnings from May 2010 to May 2011.  At Number One is Toby Keith with an estimated gross income of $50 million.  Rounding out the Top 10 are Taylor Swift ($45 million), Brad Paisley ($40 million), Tim McGraw ($35 million), Rascal Flatts ($34 million), Kenny Chesney ($30 million), George Strait ($24 million), Alan Jackson ($22 million), Carrie Underwood ($20 million) and Sugarland ($18 million).

New Album Releases September 27:

?The Great Escape Artist? by Jane?s Addiction
?Future History? by Jason Derulo
?Lady and Gentlemen? by LeAnn Rimes
?Vice Verses? by Switchfoot
?Neighborhoods? by Blink-182
?Sweetheart of the Sun? by The Bangles
?All We Need? by Rachael Lampa
?Laughing Down Crying? by Daryl Hall
?Steady Love? by Maria Muldaur
?25 Years? by Sting
?Hits from Yesterday & the Day Before? by Barenaked Ladies
?Return to Santa Monica? by Everclear
?Note of Hope: A Celebration of Woody Guthrie? by various artists

Awards Presentations/Winners:

The 22nd annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards will be presented in Nashville on September 29.  The Boxcars lead this year?s contenders with 10 nominations, including Entertainer of the Year.  The new bluegrass group shares the IBMA?s top category with Dailey & Vincent, The Grascals, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers and The Gibson Brothers.  Following close behind with eight nods is Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.  Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas and The Gibson Brothers picked up seven mentions each.  Sam Bush will host the awards ceremony at Nashville?s Ryman Auditorium.  (Complete list of nominees at

Look Who's Going on Tour!

On September 25, pop-rock singer Matt Nathanson kicked off a North American headlining tour in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He?s supporting his first new album in four years, ?Modern Love.?  The 25-city ?All Night Noise Tour? runs through November 5.

Country singer Keni Thomas begins his ?Black Hawk Down Middle East Tour? on September 27.  The former Army Ranger fought the Black Hawk Down battle in Mogadishu, Somalia.  In addition to entertaining U.S. troops with his music, he?ll meet with soldiers to share stories.  The motivational tour wraps up on October 7.  In other news, Keni?s memoir, ?Get It On! What It Means To Lead the Way,? will be released on October 1.

On September 29, Country star Luke Bryan will play the first of six shows on his charity ?Farm Tour.?  This marks the third consecutive year for the tour, which allows Bryan to give back to local farming communities.  Proceeds from the concerts will go toward college scholarships for a student from a farming family in each city.