Billboard Bits: Prince/Tamar, David Lee Roth, Silver Jews

News on Prince/Tamar, David Lee Roth, Silver Jews

In addition to prepping his new studio album, "3121," for a spring release via a just-announced deal with Universal Music Group, Prince is lending a helping hand to an up-and-coming artist.

Sources tell the artist has completed co-production and co-writing on the debut CD by Tamar, although it is unknown if a label is attached to the project. Tamar will appear in the latest incarnation of Prince's live band, New Power Generation, and has additionally been tapped to open all of the dates on his 2006 world tour as a solo act.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

As he prepares to take over for radio icon Howard Stern in several markets early next year, David Lee Roth will soon be heard in another unlikely place: a bluegrass tribute album to his former band, Van Halen.

Roth sings on versions of "Jump" and "Jamie's Cryin'" on "Strummin' With the Devil," due March 14 via CMH Records. Other VH favorites given the bluegrass treatment include "I'll Wait," "Hot for Teacher" (by David Grisman and Sons), "Eruption," "Panama" and "Unchained."

CMH has deluged the marketplace in recent years with bluegrass makeovers of everyone from Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones to the Strokes and Beck.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

As tipped here earlier this year, David Berman is taking his Silver Jews project on the road for the first time ever. Hosted by his wife Cassie, the "Love With the Lights On: Ballroom J Tour" will hit 10 U.S. cities in March, and will also feature what Drag City describes as "a fiery oratorical performance" by Pavement's Bob Nastanovich, a comedy duo and a "'professional style' multimedia stageshow."

The outing comes in support of the Jews' latest album, "Tanglewood Numbers." Berman told in July that previously, touring "was something I really felt couldn't be successful and shouldn't be done. But it has gotten the point where I can't afford to just make money off records. I'm so far in debt from hospital bills over the last few years and just not working, that I can't afford to be so protective of my art anymore. I refused to be an entertainer, but I guess I'm open to the idea of seeing if I can be an entertainer."

Here are the Silver Jews' tour dates:

March 10: Athens, Ga. (40-Watt Club)
March 11: Atlanta (the Earl)
March 12: Asheville, N.C. (Grey Eagle Tavern)
March 16: Charlottesville, Va. (Satellite Ballroom)
March 17: New York (Webster Hall)
March 19: Cambridge, Mass. (Middle East)
March 21: Philadelphia (First Unitarian Church)
March 22: Baltimore (Ottobar)
March 24: Columbus, Ohio (Little Brother's)
March 25: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Blind Pig)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.