Billboard Bits: 'Nashville Star,' TRL Awards, moe.

Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson to appear on 'Nashville Star,' fourth annual TRL Awards set, moe. plans tour, festival and cruise dates.

Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson have signed on to appear on the opening episodes of the fourth season of "Nashville Star." The USA Network's country music talent competition will get underway March 14. As previously reported , veteran artist Wynonna and "hick-hop" country rapper Cowboy Troy have signed on to co-host.

Big & Rich will be on hand for the premiere episode to perform and join judges Anastasia Brown and Phil Vassar. The second week will boast a performance by Wilson, while comedian Larry the Cable Guy will join the judging panel.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.






Appearances by Mariah Carey, Madonna, Kanye West, Bono and a performance by Chris Brown will be among the highlights of MTV's 4th annual TRL Awards. The Feb. 25 broadcast will honor some the best artists and best guest appearances on the program of the past year.

Madonna will be honored with a lifetime achievement, while Bono will reap the most inspired artist award. The show will be hosted by TRL's Damien Fahey, Vanessa Minnillo and Susie Castillo and will feature an interview with Christina Aguilera about her upcoming album.

Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, Shakira and Carey are nominated form TRL's 1st lady award while Kanye West, Eminem, 50 Cent or My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way will take home the man of the year award. Ciara, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Brown are all nominated for best new artist. Viewers will determine the winners of nine categories through balloting on the MTV
Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.






Jam band juggernaut moe. has set dates for its second music cruise, sailing Jan. 7-14, 2007 from Miami to St. John, St. Thomas, San Juan and Great Stirrup Cay. The distant plan will follow what promises to be a busy 2006 for the group, which,
as previously reported, is gearing up to host its snoe.down festival March 17-19 in Lake Placid, N.Y.,

Warming up for that event, the group will play a week of dates that opens Feb. 24 in Austin, Texas, with the North Mississippi Allstars on board to open. Also on tap is a performance each night of the sixth annual Summer Camp festival, set for May 26-28 in Chillicothe, Ill. Umphrey's McGee and Keller Williams are also confirmed for the event, which will boast more than 70 artists.

En route to an appearance at the fifth annual Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee, the group will play a handful of Northeast U.S. dates beginning June 7 in Utica, N.Y., and is busy planning the seventh annual moe.down event for the U.S. Labor Day weekend holiday (Sept. 1-3).

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.