Billboard Bits: CMA Awards, Depeche Mode, John Mayer

News on CMA Awards, Depeche Mode, John Mayer

ChesneyKenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson and George Strait are the first confirmed performers for the Country Music Association's 39th annual CMA Awards, set for Nov. 15 at New York's Madison Square Garden. The show will air live on CBS. Brad Paisley and Lee Ann Womack are tied with a leading six nominations each.

As previously reported, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn of country duo Brooks & Dunn will host for the second consecutive year. This year marks the first time the show has been held outside of Nashville, and the first time tickets are being sold to the general public.

-- Phyllis Stark, Nashville

DepecheDepeche Mode has partnered with Apple's iTunes Music Store to offer early access to tickets for the veteran band's upcoming North American tour, the first such promotion the service has undertaken. Beginning today (Sept. 13), fans who pre-order Depeche Mode's new album, "Playing the Angel," via iTunes will be given a password that allows them to purchase up to four tickets to an upcoming show.

The general public on-sales for the tour won't begin until Sept. 24.
As first reported here, the trek will kick off Nov. 2 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; "Playing the Angel" is due Oct. 18 via Sire/Reprise.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

TrioThe John Mayer Trio has picked a two-night Chicago stand as the source for its first album, a live disc due Nov. 22 via Aware/Columbia.
Originally expected out in December, the set will be recorded Sept. 21-22 at the House of Blues in the Windy City.

The group -- guitarist/vocalist Mayer, drummer Steve Jordan and bassist Pino Palladino -- has done some studio work as well. Its first single, "Who Did You Think I Was," is virtually backed with the b-side "Come When I Call" and is available beginning today (Sept. 13) exclusively via Apple's iTunes music store. Acclaimed director Gus Van Sant has shot a video for "Who Did You Think I Was."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.