Billboard Bits: Mariah Carey, Simple Plan, Caitlin Cary

News on Mariah Carey, Simple Plan, Caitlin Cary

MariahThe National Basketball Association (NBA) has tapped Mariah Carey to perform during the halftime break in its 52nd annual All-Star Game, set for Feb. 9 in Atlanta. The performance will air live on the TNT cable network in the U.S., and will be seen in more than 200 countries around the globe. Coverage of the game at Atlanta's Philips Arena will begin airing at 7 p.m. ET.

As previously reported, Nelly, Ja Rule, Jermaine Dupri, the Clipse, and Nappy Roots will be among the artists performing at Club NBA, a related four-day event at the city's Georgia World Congress Center. The day prior to the game will boast Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, B2K, and LL Cool J taking part in the NBA's "Read To Achieve" charity event.

"Charmbracelet" is Carey's latest release, and her first for her Island-associated MonarC label. The set debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 3 on The Billboard 200, and has moved 830,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Simple PlanModern rock outfit Simple Plan has been tapped to support Avril Lavigne on her maiden North American headlining tour, kicking off April 15 in Cleveland. The group's Atlantic debut, "No Pads, No Helmets... Just Balls," jumped 59-44 last week on The Billboard 200. The single "I'd Do Anything" debuted last week at No. 35 on Billboard's Top 40 Tracks tally.

Simple Plan will warm up for the Lavigne trek on a February U.K. tour with Bowling For Soup, kicking off Feb. 13 in Leicester. The group is also booked for an appearance tomorrow (Jan. 28) on NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and a Feb. 4 visit to ABC's "The Jimmy Kimmel Live Show."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

CaitlinFormer Whiskeytown vocalist/violinist Caitlin Cary's second solo album, "I'm Staying Out," is due April 22 from Yep Roc Records. The album, the follow-up to last year's "While You Weren't Looking," will feature guest appearances by the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Audley Freed, and Mitch Easter. A supporting U.S. tour is in the works for the spring and summer.

Produced by former dBs member Chris Stamey, "I'm Staying Out" features accompaniment by Cary's longtime backers Jen Gunderman (piano, organ, accordion, and vocals), Dave Bartholomew (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals), Brian Dennis (guitar), and Jon Wurster (drums and percussion). Producer Don Dixon also joined the band in the studio, adding bass, guitar, and vocal harmonies.

"I think you can hear a band on this record," Cary says in a statement. "It was made by the touring group and there's give and take that comes from us knowing and reacting to one another, which allows each instrument to take its proper place and really shine."

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.