News on Michelle Branch, Stereolab, Cesaria Evora
Singer/songwriter Michelle Branch has lined up a fall tour in support of her sophomore Maverick album, "Hotel Paper." The trek begins Oct. 2 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and will wrap Oct. 29 in Oshkosh, Wis. Afterward, Branch has five dates on tap in Japan, beginning Nov. 4 in Tokyo. The artist recently finished a run of support dates for the Dixie Chicks.
"Hotel Paper" is No. 43 in its 11th week on The Billboard 200 and has sold 576,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The single "Are You Happy Now?" is No. 4 this week on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart.
As previously reported, Branch's performance of that cut is featured on the compilation "Sessions@AOL," due Oct. 14 from Atlantic.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Stereolab has readied its first new music since the December 2002 death of multi-instrumentalist Mary Hansen in a bike accident. A five-song EP, "Instant 0 in the Universe," will be issued Oct. 7 via Elektra and features the tracks "'... suddenly stars,'" "Jaunty Monty and the Bubbles of Silence," "Good is Me," "Microclimate" and "Mass Riff." Audio samples of the cuts are available on the group's official Web site.
Stereolab is also working on its first studio album since 2001's "Sound Dust," which debuted at No. 11 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The as-yet-untitled album is due early next year and will be followed by a spring North American tour.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Cape Verde-based island blues icon Cesaria Evora will follow the Sept. 23 release of her 10th studio album, "Voz D'Amor" (Bluebird), with a North American tour. The artist, a five-time Grammy nominee and the world's most acclaimed singer of morna (Cape Verdean slow blues), will hit the road Oct. 26 in Miami Beach, Fla., and traverse the U.S. over the course of the following month, with two dates in Canada. The outing will come to a close Nov. 23 in Philadelphia.
The 14-song "Voz D'Amor" was recorded in Paris and features classic Cape Verdean songs as well as a handful of new songs written specifically for Evora. Opener "Isolada" was written by Evora's uncle, Cape Verdean poet B. Leza, while the faster-paced "Velocidade" was penned by the late Cape Verdean composer Luis Morais. The album is Evora's first all-new set in two years; a Bluebird/RCA Victor greatest-hits collection, "The Very Best of Cesaria Evora," peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's Top World Music Albums chart last October.
-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.