Billboard Bits: McGraw, Carousel Of Hope, 'Elwood's Blues'

Stories on Tim McGraw and the CMA Awards, Carousel Of Hope benefit and Dan Aykroyd's 'Elwood's Blues' book.

Tim McGrawWith a performance of "How Bad Do You Want It," Tim McGraw will open the 38th Annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards ceremony, set for Nov. 9 at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House and airing live on CBS. The song comes from his latest album, "Live Like You Were dying," which recently debuted on top of The Billboard 200.

McGraw joins previously announced performers Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn and Shania Twain. Brooks & Dunn will host.

As previously reported, Alan Jackson leads the list of CMA nominees with seven nods, followed by Keith, who has six. Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss and Gretchen Wilson are each nominated for five awards.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

BeyonceBeyoncé, Faith Hill and Josh Groban will perform at the annual Carousel of Hope charity gala, Oct. 23 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The event, which benefits the
Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver, will be hosted by Jay Leno.

Actress Halle Berry will be honored with the Brass Ring Award, previously bestowed on Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Hillary Clinton, among others.

There was some speculation that the 27-year-old event might be canceled in the wake of co-founder Marvin Davis' death over the weekend, but his wife insists otherwise. "It will be a bittersweet evening, but Marvin would want it to go on," Barbara Davis says. "It's been our passion for nearly 30 years to raise money for children with diabetes."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Buddy GuyActor and blues aficionado Dan Aykroyd has teamed with radio producer Ben Manilla to write "Elwood's Blues: Interviews With the Blues Legends & Stars," due Nov. 1 from Backbeat Books. Much of the material in the book stems from the Aykroyd-hosted syndicated show, "The House of Blues Radio Hour."

Among the artist interviews and biographies featured are Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Marcia Ball, Keb' Mo' and Susan Tedeschi. The book also includes a list of essential blues tracks as selected by Aykroyd, as well as transcripts of comedy skits he's performed as his Elwood Blues character on the radio show.

A portion of the proceeds from "Elwood's Blues" will benefit the nonprofit
Blues Foundation.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.