News on New Edition, Shannon McNally, The Who
All-star R&B outfit New Edition has signed to Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy imprint for the release of a new album, due next spring. The group's lineup now includes Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, and Ralph Tresvant. Original member Bobby Brown, who was replaced by Gill in 1986, is not participating in the sessions, according to a spokesperson. Combs will produce the set with assistance from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as well as the Hit Men.
New Edition shot to fame with its self-titled 1984 MCA album, which featured the Hot 100 hits "Cool It Now" (No. 4) and "Mr. Telephone Man" (No. 12). The group disbanded in 1988, with members pursuing solo careers and such projects as Bell Biv DeVoe. New Edition later reunited for the 1996 set "Home Again," which hit No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and went on to sell 1.8 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"New Edition carved the path for what we know to be R&B today and are living legends," Combs boasted in a statement. "I look forward to working with all the members closely on their new album and re-introducing the world to a brand new New Edition. This new collaboration will inevitably make music history."
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
In advance of working on her sophomore solo album, singer/songwriter Shannon McNally will hit the road for a dozen dates beginning Nov. 1 in Madison, Wis. Along the way, she'll hook up Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller, who she'll open for Nov. 15 in Boston and the following night in Philadelphia.
Unofficially, McNally has already followed up her debut, "Jukebox Sparrows," which was released in January by Capitol. She and fellow singer/songwriter Neal Casal, who is also the guitarist in her touring band, recently completed "Ran on Pure Lightning," which is available through McNally's official Web site, and at her shows. As with "Jukebox," this acoustic folk album features a guest appearance by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
New Jersey-based Face Down Records (FDR) is compiling a tribute album to the Who that will feature tracks from Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio and Philadelphia-based rock act the Bigger Lovers, among others. Due in fall 2003, the set will be composed of "a nice mix of well-known and underground bands playing some of the more obscure tracks as well as the hits." The label is seeking contributions to join some of the others already lined-up, which include Original Sins and FDR's own Dipsomaniacs, the latter fronted by label founder Mick Chorba.
Earlier this year, FDR re-released "Left of the Dial: A Pop Tribute to the Replacements." The album was originally released in 2001 and included covers of Mats favorites by a host of indie bands including the Dipsomaniacs. This original 24-track disc sold out quickly and was supported by regional club shows featuring some of the bands. For more information on either project, visit the label's Web site.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.