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Satchmo.com - New Orleans Music News & Louisiana Music News - Archive 15

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Satchmo.com Music News Archive (as of April 30, 2002)
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Stones Not Rolling: bad news for Mandeville, LA rockers 12 Stones; the group was scheduled to open for Creed on a nation-wide tour that would have hit 20 stops between April 29th & May 31st; sadly, Creed singer Scott Stapp was injured in an auto accident, forcing the postponement of the tour; 12 Stones released their first album earlier this year on Wind-Up Records (who's roster also features Creed and Drowning Pool); a single ("My Life") from their self-titled debut album was included on "The Scorpion King" soundtrack.

The Killer Divorces Again: rocker Jerry Lee Lewis and his sixth wife (Kerrie) are calling it quits after 18 years of marriage; in a press statement, the couple said the divorce will be amicable and that Kerrie will remain as president of their company, JKL Enterprises; the pair were wed in Memphis in 1984 (Jerry Lee was 48; Kerrie was 22); Jerry Lee was served with the divorce papers on their 18th anniversary (April 24, 2002).

Jazz Passing: our sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Preservation Hall clarinetist David Grillier, who passed away on Wednesday, April 24th in Reading, PA at age 67; the New Orleans native had been hospitalized for several weeks after suffering a heart attack while on tour with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Grillier began playing the clarinet at age 10; he was a member of the Air Force Band in the early 50's, and he worked with many local legends after leaving the military; notable associations include Smiley Lewis, Bobby Mitchell, Olympia Brass Band, and Tuxedo Brass Band (see selected album credits); Grillier had been a regular at Preservation Hall for many years, and was featured in the November, 2000 PBS special "Preservation Hall Jazz Band: A Night In New Orleans"; services are scheduled for Tuesday, April 30th, at Beecher Memorial United Church of Christ (1914 Miro St.), beginning at 9 a.m.

Drifters Return: the Continental Drifters resurfaced in their first live performance in over 6 months at the Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette on Friday (April 26); the band was joined by founding member Ray Ganucheau and drummer John Maloney; the Drifters have been sidelined since the cancellation of a German tour in October (due to the 09/11/ attacks), and the subsequent departure of band members Susan Cowsill and Russ Broussard (both now with The Bonoffs); the revamped Drifters play at Jazz Fest on Sunday (April 28th), Howlin' Wolf on Tuesday (April 30th), and Carrollton Station (May 5th).

Festival Webcasts: can't make it Louisiana for the festivals? not to worry, catch live web simulcasts of Festival International de Louisiane (via KRVS in Lafayette) and the New Orleans Jazz Fest (via WWOZ FM).

Landreth Webcast: if you missed Sonny Landreth at Jazz Fest on Friday, shame on you! As luck would have it, you can catch a webcast of Sonny, live from Grant Street Dancehall in Lafayette tonight (April 27), beginning at 11:00 pm (CT).

NOLA Jazz Fest 2002: check out our Jazz Fest page for a guide to free in-store performances during Jazz Fest, a schedule of Virgin MegaTent artist appearances, and more!

"O Brother" Tour Makes LA Stop: the popular "Down From the Mountain" tour, featuring music from the "O Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, has added 12 more dates, including a stop in Shreveport on August 10th (tickets go on sale on May 3rd); the line-up, which includes Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Chris Thomas King, will be augmented on selected dates by The Cox Family, The Fairfield Four, The Flatlanders and the Peasall Sisters.

Willie, Aaron & The Boys: Aaron Neville is among the superstars paying tribute to country legend Willie Nelson at a concert taking place in Nashville on Sunday, April 14th; luckily, the show is being taped, and will air on the USA channel on May 27 (see our TV Page for more info).

Boogie Down(town): the NOLA Downtown Development District kicks of their "Wednesday in the Square" series of outdoor concerts in Lafayette Square today (04/10) with a performance by Bag of Donuts; shows take place each Wednesday evening (5:00 - 7:30 pm) through June 26th; upcoming concerts will feature George Porter Jr., Rosie Ledet, Marcia Ball, The Radiators, The Iguanas, Irma Thomas, John Boutte, and Ellis Marsalis, among others.

Cagle Hits #1: Chris Cagle's single "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out" has hit #1 on the Billboard Country Chart (week of 04/13); this is the first #1 tune for the Louisiana born (DeRidder), Texas-raised country rocker.

Gold Records: rapper Lil' Romeo ("Lil' Romeo") and rising country star Chris Cagle ("Play It Loud") were among music artists receiving Gold Record certifications from the RIAA in March, 2002; other achievements in March included the "O Brother" soundtrack reaching the 5 million sales plateau (5x Platinum).

Leroy Heads To Studio: local trumpeter & Harry Connick, Jr. sideman Leroy Jones (web site) will be in the studio in April, working on his first "pure" solo album since his critically accclaimed '96 Sony release, "Props For Pops"; the new CD, tentatively titled "Back To My Roots", will feature music in the quintet format as well as brass band music; tracks will include several new compositions, plus new arrangements of classic tunes; the new CD should hit the streets circa July of 2002.

Satchmo's Cornet in Smithsonian: Louis Armstrong's first cornet will go on display at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History on Monday, April 1st; the battered horn, which Louis received while at the Colored Waif's Home in New Orleans, was formerly on display at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint; the cornet was auctioned by Sothebys last October, where it fetched a whopping $108,000; Branford Marsalis (are those Michael Jackson's gloves?) was on hand at the Smithsonian on Thursday (03/28), helping to kick off their first ever Jazz Appreciation Month.

Big Easy's: the 15th Annual Big Easy Entertainment Awards are scheduled for April 22, 2002 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel; special honorees this year include Sam Butera, Clarence "Frogman" Henry and Nicholas Payton; click here for more info, and a complete list of nominees.

ACM Awards: nominations for the 37th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards were announced on 03/14; nominees with Louisiana ties include Brooks & Dunn (x6), Tim McGraw (x4), Trace Adkins, and Chris Cagle (for Top New Male Vocalist); the "O Brother" received two nominations, and bassist Michael Rhodes is nominated in the Instrumentalist categories; winners will be announced on May 22nd (airing live on CBS); here's a complete list of nominees.

Kid's Choice: Nickelodeon's 15th Annual Kids' Choice Awards will take place on April 20th in Santa Monica, CA; nominees include Britney Spears (x2) and Lil' Romeo; the event airs live on Nickelodeon.

Essence Fest: the 2002 Essence Music Festival is scheduled for July 4 to July 6 at the LA Superdome; performers include Alicia Keys, Al Green, Mary J. Blige, India.Arie and Faith Evans; in related news, the Essence Fest has vowed to remain in New Orleans through 2006.

Connick Gets Patent: entertainer Harry Connick, Jr. has received a patent for an electronic sheet music distribution system that he created and uses for his own big band; the system runs on G3 Power Macs, and was developed after Harry and his band played an outdoor concert; the sheet music was being blown around, and he figured why not have his band members read their music from computer screens instead; Harry first used the system for his 1999 big band tour, and each member has their own work station; here's a photo of the system, courtesy of Connick Big Band trumpeter Leroy Jones.

2002 Grammy Awards: congrats to all 2002 Grammy winners and nominees from Louisiana; those taking home awards on February 27 included Chris Thomas King, The Cox Family, Lucinda Williams and Harry Connick, Jr.

"Last Call" for Mystikal: if you will be in the NYC area on March 6th you can call up for free tickets to catch Mystikal perform on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly"; call 212-664-4550 and leave a message with your name, email address, phone number, number of tickets needed and mention that you want to see Mystikal; the performance is scheduled to air on March 14th on NBC, and it will repeat the next day on E!

Weekend Jams: Bonerama will be joined by George Porter, Jr. and Kevin O'Day at The Old Point Bar in Algiers on Friday night (03/01); the New Orleans Nightcrawlers will be funking up the Dragon's Den on Saturday (03/02); 'Crawlers percussionist Big Chief Smiley Ricks will be celebrating his birthday, and the band are expected to be joined by other Mardi Gras Indians and percussionists.

Eddy & Buckwheat: Cajun and country crooner Eddy Raven will be releasing his next single, "New Orleans Is A Mighty Good Town", in April; the track is a duet with Buckwheat Zydeco, and Buckwheat will also appear in the video for the tune; the song is also available on Raven's album, "Living In Black and White".

Jazz Fest: the initial lineup of performers for the 2002 Jazz and Heritage Festival have been announced; see our Jazz Fest page for details.

Marsalis Starts New Label: Branford Marsalis and his pop Ellis are launching a new indie record label, Marsalis Music, which will be distributed by Rounder Records; among the first releases will be Branford's "Footsteps of Our Fathers", due late this summer; "Footsteps" will feature classics including Coltrane's "A Love Supreme", Sonny Rollins' "Freedom Suite", Modern Jazz Quartet's "Concord", and Ornette Coleman's "Giggin'".

Grammy Hall of Fame: recordings added to the Grammy Hall of Fame for 2002 include Fats Domino's "Ain't It A Shame" and Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene" and "Midnight Special"; this is the second Domino recording added to the Grammy Hall of Fame ("Blueberry Hill" was inducted in 1987), and the second and third for Leadbelly.

Van Cliburn Honored: Shreveport, LA native and renowned classical pianist Van Cliburn will receive the President's Merit Award at The Recording Academy's "Salute to Classical Music", scheduled for February 24th in Los Angeles; read more.

FQ Fest: the 19th Annual French Quarter Festival will take place from April 12-14, 2002 at various venues in the Quarter and along the riverfront; the preliminary list of performers includes Los Hombres Calientes, Kermit Ruffins, John Boutte, Lucien Barbarin, Anders Osborne, Bonerama, Wardell Quezerque's Big Band, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, and a host of others.

Hanks A Lot: country music star and Shreveport native Hank Williams, Jr. will be featured performing with rap/rocker Kid Rock in the second installment of CMT's "Crossroads" series, which teams country stars with performers from other genres; the show debuts on CMT on Sunday, March 17th; Williams will also be appearing on "Grand Ole Opry Live" that weekend, and CMT will also air a candid interview with Williams on their "Inside Fame" series; see the TV Page for more info.

Butler on Basin Street: local label Basin Street Records has signed piano great Henry Butler to their roster of New Orleans artists; Henry's first BSR release is scheduled for April.

Get The Message: I finally coughed up the bucks to get rid of the pop-up ads on our message boards; check 'em out - there's boards for general discussion, press releases, areas for musicians, and much more; if you want to start a new topic, just drop me note; happy posting!

Trombone Shorty Makes Grammy Jazz Band: congratulations to multi-talented musician and NOCCA student Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty) who was one of 34 students nationwide to be selected for one of three Grammy Jazz Ensembles; the students will be flown to Los Angeles for rehearsals and will then perform at noted L.A. jazz clubs (with special guests Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz and Kurt Elling); they will also perform at events leading up to the Grammy's, and will attend the 44th Annual GRAMMY Awards as guests of the Recording Academy; see Grammy.com for more info.

Crescent City Soul: Capitol/Imperial/Minit Records will release the four CD "Crescent City Soul" series of New Orleans R&B classics and rarities on March 12th; see Crescent City Soul artists & track listings.

We Got The Beat: don't forget OffBeat Magazine's 2002 "Best of the Beat" Awards, taking place this Friday; tickets are available to the general public for the first time, so there's no excuse not to show up; musical guests will include Anders Osborne, Rosie Ledet(!), MuleBone, Papa Grows Funk and the legendary Eddie Bo! If ya can't make it to NOLA for the show, tune in to WWOZ, who will simulcast it online and at 90.7 on the FM dial in the Big Easy.

Super Bowl BET: BET will be in town for Super Bowl XXXVI, and will air live versions of their Top 10 countdown show, "106 & Park", plus tape episodes of their series, "Oh! Drama"; special guests on the shows include Snoop Dogg, Faith Evans, Nelly, Mystikal, Master P, B2K, and the Cash Money Millionaires; see the TV page for more info.

Inside Trax: Dr. John makes a guest appearance on the new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion album ("Plastic Fang", due on April 9th); Jon Cleary provides keyboards, vocals and two songs on Bonnie Raitt's upcoming CD, "Silver Lining", also due in stores on April 9th; the Dirty Dozen Brass Band are set to release "Medicated Magic" on April 29th.

C-Murder Jailed: No Limit rapper C-Murder (Corey Miller) was booked on a second degree murder charge on Friday; the notorious rap star and brother of Master P, was booked in connection with the shooting death of an Avondale teen at the Platinum Club, a Harvey night spot on Manhattan Boulevard; Miller was arrested in August in Baton Rouge for attempted murder and illegal use of a weapon; here's more on the current charge from the Times Picayune.

Fun in the Sun: hey mon! "Fun in the SON" - Gospel Spring Break! is set to take place in Ocho Rios, Jamaica over three consecutive weeks in March; the gospel showcase will feature uplifting speakers, gospel performers, beach parties and other social events targeted towards "spring breakers"; scheduled performers include New Orleans' own Trin-I-Tee 5:7, plus Hezekiah Walker, Love Fellowship Crusade Choir, and the Kurt Carr Singers; visit JamaicaTravel.com for for info.

Handy Awards: the nominees for the 23rd Annual W.C. Handy Blues Awards were announced on Jan. 17th; Louisiana related nominees (many up for multiple awards) include Bobby Rush, Marcia Ball (both for Entertainer of the Year), Buddy Guy, Chris Thomas King, Mighty Sam McClain, Dr. John, Henry Gray, Henry Butler, the late Boozoo Chavis, Buckwheat Zydeco, C.J. Chenier, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Irma Thomas; awards will be handed out on Thursday, May 23, at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis.

TGIF: take off work early today and catch trumpeter Charlie Miller, leading a six piece band at the N.O. Jazz National Historic Park Visitors Center (916 N. Peters); the music is free, and it kicks off at 3:00 pm.

Musical Passings: our belated condolences to the family and friends of sax man Robert "Catman" Caffrey, who passed away in New Orleans on January 2 at age 75; Caffrey toured with Roy Brown, Guitar Slim, Smiley Lewis, Joe Turner, Earl King and Huey "Piano" Smith, and also played in the house band at the infamous Dew Drop in the 50's; Caffrey earned his nickname "Catman" while with Brown, as he often walked on the bar while blowing his sax; his saxophone partner, the late Leroy Rankin, was tagged "Batman," as he occasionally soloed from the rafters of clubs.

Satchmo FilmFest: Louis Armstrong fans will have an opportunity to catch several rarely aired films featuring Satch on the Turner Classic Movies channel in February; flix featuring Pops include "High Society" (1956), "New Orleans" (1947, with Kid Ory and Barney Bigard), "Cabin in the Sky" (1942), "Going Places" (1938), "Glory Alley" (1952) and "When The Boys Meet The Girls" (1965); also airing in February (on The Movie Channel) is "A Song is Born" (1948); get full details on these on our TV Page.

Hank Cracks Top 10: Hank Williams, Jr.'s latest release, "Almeria Club Recordings", has debuted at #9 in this week's Billboard Country Albums chart; this marks Hank's first top 10 album in 10 years; you catch Hank performing "America Will Survive" at halftime of the Baltimore / Pittsburgh playoff game on Sunday ... elsewhere on the country chart, the "O Brother" soundtrack remains at #1 (and has been in the chart for 55 weeks); Brooks & Dunn's "Steers & Stripes" is at #8 (39 weeks on the chart), and Tim McGraw's "Set This Circus Down" is at #4 (38 weeks); Tim's "Greatest Hits" dropped 2 spots to #11, and has remained on the chart for a whopping 60 weeks!

Super Bowl XXXVI: Paul McCartney has been added to the line-up of performers scheduled for FOX TV's Super Bowl XXXVI pregame show; others appearing include Mary J. Blige, Marc Anthony and Mariah Carey; Irish rockers U2 will perform during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Ivan & Bruce on Letterman: Ivan Neville and (actor, singer and harp player) Bruce Willis will appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on January 29th; Ivan is the scheduled musical guest, but maybe we'll see Bruce sitting in; Bruce and his band The Accelerators are currently on tour with Ivan, and they recently performed at the NOLA House of Blues.

P and Romeo Get TV Series: father and son rappers Master P and Lil' Romeo will appear in a new TV sitcom set to debut in spring of 2002; the Nickelodeon series, "Pieces to the Puzzle", is loosely based on "The Partridge Family", with Master P playing dad and Lil' Romeo fronting the group.

WWOZ Live Broadcast: radio station WWOZ will be broadcasting a concert by young trumpeter Christian Scott, live from Snug Harbor on Wednesday, January 16 (11:00 pm, CT); backing Christian will be Devin Philips on sax, David Pulphus on bass, David Torkanowsky on piano and Ocie Davison drums; tune it at 90.7 FM or online, via their Internet simulcast.

Country Charts: Trace Adkins has the #1 tune (with "I'm Tryin'") on this week's CMT (Country Music Television) Top 20 Countdown, however, he will be overtaken by another Louisiana native -- Chris Cagle -- in next week's edition of the show; head to RockOnTV.com for CMT's "Top 20 Countdown" airdates

Concert Alert: tickets for Alicia Keys (02/18 at Saenger Theatre) go on sale on Saturday morning (01/12) at 10:00 am; tickets for Bob Dylan (02/17; Lakefront Arena) go on sale on Monday (01/14).

Radio Show to Spotlight Art & Culture: public radio station WWNO 89.9 FM is set to debut "Crescent City," a new show produced by WWNO that highlights New Orleans art and culture; the show, hosted by Ronnie Virgets, will premiere on WWNO on February 1st, with guests Ricky Graham, Peter Finney, Don Lee Keith, Ron Swoboda and Bruce Raeburn, plus musical guests Tom McDermott, Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris and Astral Project; this show will be taped on January 21st at Le Chat Noir; visit the WWNO web site for more info.

Drifters Changes: confirming recent rumors, the Continental Drifters web site has posted news that band members Susan Cowsill and Russ Broussard have left the group; no other details were mentioned, but Susan and Russ have been playing with a group called The Bonoffs for a couple of months now while The Drifters were on hiatus; fortunately, the remaining Drifters (Peter Holsapple, Vicki Peterson, Mark Walton and Robert Maché) are carrying on, and a couple of upcoming gigs are listed on their web site - will be interesting to see where this ever-changing band heads next; if you haven't caught The Bonoffs yet, you should; the group plays a mix of originals and covers, and currently have a steady gig at The Old Opera House on Bourbon Street (Thursdays 4 pm-8 pm, Fridays 2-8, Saturday 2-8, and Sunday 2-8); Bonoffs' CD's are available at their gigs.

Weekend Webcast: tune into WFUV.org for a vintage edition of "Mountain Stage" featuring performances by Sonny Landreth, Victoria Williams, and others; the show airs on Friday, Jan. 11 at 1:00 pm and Sunday, Jan. 13 at 5:00 am; coming up later in January on WFUV are birthday tributes to Allen Toussaint and Aaron Neville, plus music from Chris Smither and C.J. Chenier.

AMA's Recap: Tim McGraw and Brooks & Dunn, the only American Music Awards nominees with ties to Louisiana, both came home with awards last night (Jan. 9); McGraw picked up two awards (plus made a third trip to the stage to accept an award for his wife Faith Hill), and Brooks & Dunn picked up an award for "Favorite Band, Duo or Group" (for the third time); Britney Spears performed her new single at the event, and actually appeared to be singing for a change; presenters included father and son rappers Master P and Lil' Romeo.

Black Top Founder Dies: Black Top Records cofounder Nauman Scott passed away in New Orleans on January 8th at age 56; Scott formed Black Top Records with brother Hammond in 1980; their first release was Anson Funderburgh's "Talk to You by Hand", and the artist roster over the years included releases from Henry Butler, Earl King, Tommy Ridgley, Buckwheat Zydeco and Terrance Simien, among others; visitation is scheduled for January 10th (5:30 to 7:30 pm) at Bultman Funeral Home, and Friday, January 11th (1 to 2 pm) at Trinity Episcopal Church; the funeral takes place on Friday at 2 pm at Trinity.

2002 Grammy's - congrats to Basin Street Records & Los Hombres Calientes who are nominated for a Grammy in the "Best Latin Jazz Album" category; singer & songwriter Lucinda Williams is nominated in 4 categories on her own, and is part of 2 compilation albums that received nominations; other nominees with local ties include Harry Connick, Jr., Dr. John, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, BeauSoleil, Buddy Guy, Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, Chris Thomas King, The Cox Family and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown; here is a detailed list of "local" nominees.

Best of the Beat's: OffBeat Magazine's annual "Best of the Beat Awards" take place on January 25th; you can cast your ballot online for your favorite artists and albums by clicking here.

MTV Comes To Mardi Gras: MTV will head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras for the first time to cover the mayhem of carnival; "MTV's Mardi Gras 2002" will be hosted by MTV's Carson Daly and Louisiana's Britney Spears, and will feature live performances by No Doubt, Mystikal and Blink 182; "MTV's Mardi Gras 2002" will air on MTV on Saturday, February 16th, from 1-4 pm Eastern.

Michael White Webcast: ring in the New Year with Dr. Michael White and his Original Liberty Jazz Band, live from the Village Vanguard in New York City on New Year's Eve; JazzSet's "Toast of the Nation" program will also feature performances by Bobby Broom and his Quintet, Dianne Reeves, guitarist Romero Lubambo and Orlando Valle; you can tune into the event at WWNO.org or WBGO.org.

What's Up with Down?: Pantera singer Phil Anselmo and his side project "Down" are scheduled to release their second album in March 2002; the band line-up is the same as it was for their 1995 debut "NOLA", but with Pantera bassist Rex Brown taking over for Todd Strange.

King & Queen of Pop: CBS will re-broadcast the "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special" on Jan. 9th, with additional footage not shown in the original broadcast; new footage includes a Britney Spears duet with Michael Jackson (on "The Way You Make Me Feel"), and Lil' Romeo performing his hit "My Baby" (a tune based on the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back"); the Spears/Jackson duet was dropped from the original airing of the CBS special due to an exclusivity deal with HBO that prohibited Brit from appearing anywhere else on TV within a month of her live HBO concert special held on Nov. 18 (the Jackson special aired on Nov. 13th).

Charles Chavis Services: funeral services for Charles Chavis are scheduled for 10 am on Saturday, Dec. 29, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Lake Charles; visitation is 4:30-10:00 pm on Friday (with a rosary at 7:00 pm), and from 8:00 am on Saturday.

Musical Passings: our sympathy goes out to the family of Zydeco musician Charles Chavis, who passed away from a heart attack early Sunday morning (December 23) at age 45; this has been a tragic year for the Chavis family - Charles' father, the legendary Boozoo Chavis, passed away on May 5th (at age 70) after suffering a stroke; Boozoo's brother James had passed away just a few days earlier at age 62; Pancho Chavez (son of Boozoo, brother of Charles) was just released from hospital after a serious auto accident in November; Charles Chavis was rubboard player and vocalist of Boozoo's "Magic Sounds" band; funeral arrangements (TBA) are being handled by Hixson Funeral Home in Lake Charles.

Master P at Wherehouse Music: rapper Master P celebrates the release of his new album "Game Face" with an appearance at Wherehouse Music (3723 Veteran's Blvd in Metairie) on December 18th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Jazz Fest 2002: the 2002 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicks off on April 26th; check our Jazz Fest page for info on music artists scheduled (and rumored) to appear at the 2002 Fest.

Time Out: Harry Connick Jr. & His Big Band have cancelled their appearance at the Monday Night Football Saints vs. Rams game (December 17); however, Harry is scheduled to appear on NBC's Today Show on December 19th (with a small group including trumpeter Leroy Jones); the Big Band's current tour closes out on Sunday night (12/16), with a show at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City; after being on the road for the better part of 2001, Leroy Jones will get some time at home, with several local gigs lined up for late December and January; see our brand spankin' new Leroy Jones web site for dates and venues.

Lucinda & Elvis: "CMT Crossroads", a new monthly TV series pairing country artists with performers from other genres, will premiere on January 13 featuring Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello (see story and photos); future episodes will include a show teaming Hank Williams, Jr. with Kid Rock.

Musical Passing: St. Louis based blues man James Crutchfield passed away on December 8th at age 89; the Baton Rouge native grew up in lumber camps in Louisiana and Texas; he picked up a few licks from Little Brother Montgomery in Bogaulusa, and played with Elmore James and Boyd Gilmore in Mississippi before setlling in St. Louis in 1948; Crutchfield was still active on the St. Louis blues scene at the time of his passing; a solo album, "St. Louis Blues Piano", was released earlier this year on the Swingmaster label.

Lil' Romeo2: pint sized rapper Lil' Romeo will join Whoopi Goldberg on the TV game show Hollywood Squares during the week of December 24th (12/24 - 12/28); other stars appearing during the week include opera star Charlotte Church and country singer Billy Gilman (see photo).

New from McGraw-Hill: country music mega-stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are celebrating the birth of their third child, Audrey Caroline McGraw, who was born in Nashville on Dec. 6; said Tim, now the father of 3 girls, "I'm still king of the house and my girls will always keep me in line. I couldn't be happier".

Punk Covers Pops: a cover of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" will be the first release from late punk rock legend Joey Ramone's solo album; the single will hit radio stations in January; the album, titled "Don't Worry About Me", is scheduled for release on February 19th; Ramone passed away last April following a long battle with lymphatic cancer.

Jazz Aid: trumpeter Terence Blanchard and drummer Brian Blade were among the many jazz stars who took part in the "Made in America" benefit concert in New York City on Wednesday (Dec. 5); the show, which also featured Joshua Redman, Cassandra Wilson, Regina Carter, Brad Mehldau, Jane Monheit, and others was organized by Jazz Alliance International; the event raised an estimated $260,000 which will go to the Robin Hood Relief Fund in support of September 11th relief efforts.

Concert Notes: tickets for Creed (Jan. 24 at New Orleans Arena) go on sale on Saturday morning at 10:00 am; rising star Alicia Keys, on her first solo tour, is scheduled to play the Saenger Theatre on February 18, 2002.

Image Awards: nominees for the 33rd Annual NAACP Image Awards include sax man Branford Marsalis ("Outstanding Jazz Artist" category for his "Creation" album); the awards will be handed out on February 23, 2002, and TV coverage will air on FOX on March 1st.

Billboard Music Awards: the 2001 Billboard Music Awards were held on Dec. 4th in Las Vegas; Tim McGraw picked up 5 awards including "Country Artist of the Year"; other winners included Lil' Romeo ("Rap Artist of the Year" and "Rap Single of the Year"), and Brooks & Dunn ("Country Single of the Year").

Football Notes: rock superstars U2 will perform at the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans on February 3rd, 2002; Harry Connick Jr. & His Big Band are scheduled to perform during halftime of the Saints / Rams game on Monday, December 17th.

People's Choice Awards: The 28th Annual People's Choice Awards will be held in Pasadena on January 13; musical nominees include Tim McGraw and Britney Spears; Metairie native Ellen Degeneres is up for two awards; the show will air live on CBS.

Britney Collects Toys: Britney Spears will be collecting new, unwrapped toys at her Madison Square Garden Concert on Wednesday, December 5th for children of the victims of the September 11th World Trade Center disaster and of the flight 587 tragedy; members of the N.Y.F.D, N.Y.P.D, and others will be in front of Madison Square Garden on 7th Avenue beginning at 5:30 PM to collect the toys that concert goers donate.

Musical Passing: Soul singer O.C. Smith (Ocie Lee Smith) passed away from a heart attack in Los Angeles on Friday (11/23) at age 65; Smith, a native of Mansfield, Louisiana, was best known for his 1968 Grammy winning hit, "Little Green Apples" (a #2 hit on both the Pop and R&B Charts); Smith was a minister in Los Angeles since 1985, and he presided over Thanksgiving services on Thursday; here's more on Smith's passing from the L.A. Times.

Garth Tops Britney: Britney Spears' new album "Britney" drops to No. 2 in the Billboard 200 albums chart this week, losing out to the new release from Garth Brooks (titled "Scarecrow"); however, "Britney" posted sales of 337,000 copies ("Scarecrow" moved 466,000 copies), which moves it to Platinum status (sales of 1 million units) in only it's second week of sales.

Essential Music: online retailer CDNOW have listed their "Essential Albums of 2001"; Louisiana music artists making the cut included Lucinda Williams, Harry Connick Jr., Britney Spears, Tim McGraw, and the "O Brother" soundtrack.

Musical Passing: Cajun music ambassador Ledel "Blackie" Forestier passed away in Lake Charles on Monday (11/19) from a heart attack at age 73; the long time leader of Blackie Forestier and The Cajun Aces was a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Cajun French Music Assn.'s Hall of Fame; Miguez Funeral Home (in Jennings, LA) is handling arrangements for Forestier; (also see this bio of Forestier).

Essence Fest Stays in NOLA: The Essence Music Festival has agreed to stay in New Orleans for the next five years; under a new contract, the three day festival will be held at the Louisiana Superdome and Convention Center through 2006, including next year's installment from July 4-6.

Cash Money Gives Back: the owners of Cash Money Records continue their annual Thanksgiving tradition of providing free turkeys for the needy in their hometown of New Orleans; Cash Money CEO's Ronald "Slim" Williams and Bryan "Baby" Williams, along with producer Mannie Fresh, and their entire roster of recording artists will be handing out turkeys and trimmings on Tuesday, Nov. 20th, from 3:00 - 5:00 pm, at A.L Davis Park.

WWOZ Live Broadcast: radio station WWOZ will be broadcasting the MaxJazz Showcase, live from Snug Harbor on Friday, November 16 (9:00 pm); the show will feature performances by Rene Marie, Peter Martin and Phillip Manuel; tune it at 90.7 FM or online, via their Internet webcast.

Hat Trick for Britney: as expected, the new Britney Spears album, "Britney", will debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart; first week sales of the pop star's 3rd album topped 745,000 units, making it the second highest debut of the year (behind 'N Sync, but higher than releases from Janet Jackson and Destiny's Child); Spears now owns the #1 and #2 positions for biggest first week sales by a female artist; she is also the first female solo artist to debut at No. 1 with her first three albums; read more.

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