Billboard Bits: Babyface, Underwood, Chimaira

Stories on Babyface, Underwood and Chimaira.

BabyfaceIn addition to previously confirmed dates with Anita Baker, Babyface will play a handful of headlining shows leading up to the release of his album "Grown & Sexy," due June 26 via Arista Records. The tour will open June 23 in San Diego and close July 30 with Baker's Chicago show.

Babyface co-produced the majority of "Grown & Sexy" with Gregg Pagani (LeAnn Rimes). Two cuts on the set were produced by the artist with production duo Underdogs (B2K, Omarion).

Here are Babyface's tour dates:

June 23: San Diego (Viejas Casino)
June 25: Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl; w/Baker)
July 16: Auburn Hills, Mich. (Auburn Hills Palace; w/Baker)
July 17: Indianapolis (Black Expo-American Legion Mall)
July 21: Mashantucket, Conn. (Foxwoods Casino)
July 22: Atlantic City, N.J. (Music Box at Borgata Casino)
July 23: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach Amphitheater; w/Baker)
July 28: St. Louis (Pagent Theatre)
July 29: Milwaukee (Pabst Theatre)
July 30: Chicago (United Center; w/Baker)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

UnderwoodCarrie Underwood is preparing to step onto a stage perhaps more formidable than the one that gained her millions of fans on her way to winning "American Idol." On June 10, the newly professional singer will make her Grand Ole Opry debut in Nashville.

The appearance will come as part of a host of Music City appearances curing CMA Music Festival Week. Prior to the Opry, Underwood will perform during the event's June 9 arena concert joining Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton and the Grascals, Julie Roberts, Sugarland, Trick Pony, Keith Urban, Phil Vassar and Lee Ann Womack at Nashville's Coliseum.

Underwood will also perform during the "
CMT: 100 Greatest Duets" concert, which will tape June 8 and air in September.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

ChimairaHard rock act Chimaira has finished work on its third full-lenghth album and is giving fans a free taste. The self-titled set is due in August via Roadrunner Records, but the label's
Web site is already offering an MP3 download of the song "Nothing Remains."

"I can't say that this is what the rest of the record sounds like, because each song has its own personality," the band's Mark Hunter says. "But I will say a lot of what happens on this song you can expect from other tracks. [I] hope that makes sense."

"Chimaira" is the follow-up to 2003's "The Impossibility of Reason," which bowed at No. 2 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 117 on The Billboard 200. The set has sold 90,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The band has a brief European tour set for later this month, with three dates in the United Kingdom and one at the Fields of Rock festival June 18 in The Netherlands. Chimaira will be back in the United States to kick off the multi-artist Sounds of the Underground tour June 25 in Lowell, Mass.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.