Billboard Bits: Pearl Jam, Gov't Mule, the 5 Browns
News on Pearl Jam, Gov't Mule, the 5 BrownsAs Pearl Jam nears completion on its new studio album, the group has finalized the track list for its upcoming holiday single, sent annually to members of its Ten Club fan organization. This year's single will feature a live cover of the Elvis Presley-popularized "Little Sister" with Robert Plant, taped last October in Chicago, as well as demo of the new song "Gone," which was debuted that same month during a show in Atlantic City, N.J.
Before the band gets busy with promotion and touring, guitarist Mike McCready will stage a March 18 benefit for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation at Seattle's Showbox. McCready will play with his UFO tribute band, Flight To Mars, on a bill that also features the Supersuckers and Lee Rude and the Trainwrecks.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Gov't Mule has begun work on its next studio album at Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio just outside Austin, Texas. Due Aug. 22 via ATO, the as-yet-untitled project will be produced by Big Sugar guitarist Gordie Johnson. It will be the follow-up to 2004's "Deja Voodoo," which debuted at No. 86 on The Billboard 200.
The band has launched a special section on its Web site to keep fans apprised of the album's progress via a blog, photos and streaming video.
As previously reported, Mule leader Warren Haynes will take a break from recording to play with the Allman Brothers Band during its two-week stand in March at New York's Beacon Theatre.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Last year was a great one for a quintet of fresh-faced, unassuming young Utah siblings. With their self-titled debut for RCA Red Seal, the 5 Browns scored a No. 1 hit on Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart, remaining there for eight weeks. The family Brown -- Desirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody and Ryan -- returns April 4 with a new album of classical favorites arranged for piano, "No Boundaries," which it hopes will attract an even wider audience.
The release includes new versions of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Stravinsky's The Firebird, the "going home" theme from Dvorak's Ninth Symphony and Copland's Appalachian Spring. "No Boundaries" will also be released on DualDisc, featuring arresting videos of the Browns performing outdoors at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats.
-- Anastasia Tsioulcas, N.Y.