News on Red Hot Chili Peppers/Weezer, Krauss & More

RedRed Hot Chili Peppers and Weezer have been tapped to headline Las Vegas' centennial celebration. The show will be held July 2 on the ground of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; 50,000 free tickets will be distributed beginning April 18 via the event's official Web site.

The show will be the first of the year for the Chili Peppers, who have been at work on their next Warner Bros. studio album in recent months. Guitarist John Frusciante told Billboard.com late last year that a summer 2005 release was in the cards, but no details have yet been confirmed.

As previously reported, Collective Soul will headline the related "Road to Vegas" tour, a 10-date outing that kicks off May 27 in San Francisco. Beyond music, the tour promises interactive Vegas-themed pre-concert attractions, including gaming lounges, Elvis impersonators and showgirls.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







Krauss”Home on the Highways," a compilation of previously released Alison Krauss + Union Station tracks, will be available beginning May 10 exclusively at Cracker Barrel stores across the United States. In addition to 11 tracks -- including "Momma Cried," "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" and "Let Me Touch You for Awhile" -- the disc also features video of an impromptu jam session and other behind-the-scenes footage.

The disc is part of Cracker Barrel's sponsorship of Alison Krauss + Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas' Lonely Runs Both Ways tour, which plays Wilkes-Barre, Pa., tonight (April 11), and includes stops at Tennessee's Bonnaroo (June 10) and Colorado's Telluride Bluegrass (June 19) festivals.

In other news, the group will be seen tomorrow and throughout the 36th season of "Sesame Street," joined by Count Von Count for a new rendition of the PBS show's classic song "Sesame Jamboree." On Friday, the group will perform the National Anthem at Boston's Fenway Park prior to the Red Sox game against the visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







BuckOn his first new studio album in eight years, Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr. ventures into new waters, playing a Hammond B3 organ in addition to the accordion with which he is most often associated. Due June 7 via his own Tomorrow Recordings, "Jackpot!" boasts a dozen tracks, three of which find Dural playing the B3 he employed as a member of Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band in the 1970s.

"I've been playing my new B3 onstage for a while now, stretching out during encores, and for these sessions we pulled the organ back into the zydeco tunes while branching out in some new directions," Dural says.

The artist is backed on the set by his longtime band, which includes his son, Sir Reginald Master Dural, on rubboard and vocals. The group is rounded out by guitarists Paul "Lil' Buck" Sinegal and Olivier Scoazec, bassist Lee Allen Zeno, drummer Gerard St. Julien and trumpeter and Curtis Watson. Frequent collaborator Catherine Russell adds backing vocals.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







ChrisDJ/producer Chris Fortier helms the seventh volume of the Australian compilation series "Balance," due May 10 via Stomp/EQ. The triple-disc set features tracks from Rabbit In The Moon, !!!, Bent, Hard Floor, Carl Craig and Agoria, among others, as well as two selections from Lucas Rodenbush and Rub n Tugs' remix of David Gilmore Girls' "Crackhousewarmingparty."

"It is vastly different then anything I have done before," Fortier says of the collection on his official Web site. "I have really pushed myself and have gone in the most adventurous directions musically possible."

Fortier has a host of international performances lined up this month, beginning Friday (April 15) in Melbourne.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.