News on Barry Gibb/Michael Jackson; Lonestar, Music Midtown

Groove ArmadaBee Gees principal Barry Gibb is currently collaborating with Michael Jackson on new material for an as-yet-undisclosed project, Billboard Bulletin reports. Gibb adds that after 40 years together as an act, the Bee Gees are taking a brief hiatus "to find ourselves as individuals." The group celebrated its career with a 2001 Universal studio album, "This Is Where I Came In," the retrospective "Their Greatest Hits: The Record," and an extensive 2002 tour.

Meanwhile, Gibb has inked an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music, which plans to license his work for films, TV, and commercials, as well as exploring print music and new-media opportunities.


-- Jim Bessman, N.Y.







Groove ArmadaCountry outfit Lonestar will give an acoustic performance tomorrow (Dec. 19) at the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville. This is the 10th year the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has presented a concert at the facility. Jo Dee Messina and Brenda Lee will also perform. Afterward, the artists will visit with children who are too ill to attend the concert and present them with a package of memorabilia.

"We are very fortunate to be able to spend Christmas with our families," Lonestar lead singer Richie McDonald said in a statement. "These kids are a real inspiration. This is more of a Christmas gift for us just to get to spend time with them."

Lonestar's last BNA studio album, "I'm Already There," debuted in July 2001 at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The title cut reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







Atlanta's 10th annual Music Midtown festival has once again locked in the first weekend of May for its three-day extravaganza. More than 120 acts are expected to perform on 11 stages from May 2-4. The artist line-up will be announced on March 11, and will be available on the event's official Web site.

Last year, the festival featured such artists as Ja Rule, Kid Rock, No Doubt, Bo Diddley, Puddle Of Mudd, and Cee-Lo, and drew more than 300,000 fans.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.