Billboard Bits: R.E.M., Wainwright, Graham Coxon
News on R.E.M., Loudon and Rufus Wainwright, Graham CoxonR.E.M. has been added to the list of performers for the 15th annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, to be held this October at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. As previously reported, Pearl Jam and event organizer Neil Young are the only other performers confirmed for this year's event, which raises funds for the San Francisco-based Bridge School, a learning facility for physically challenged and severely speech-impaired children.
R.E.M. played the benefit in 1998, when the group backed Young on his 1974 classic "Ambulance Blues." The track was later released as a limited-edition Christmas single to the R.E.M. fan club.
-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.
Along with a new album, "Last Man on Earth" (due Sept. 25 via Red House Records), singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III is expanding his acting resume. The artist has a recurring role as the dysfunctional father of a college freshman on "Undeclared," set to premiere Sept. 18 on Fox.
Series creator/director Judd Apatow ("Freaks & Geeks") is a longtime fan of Wainwright and worked to get him involved without knowledge of his prior acting experience. Wainwright previously appeared on the "M*A*S*H" television series, as well as on the silver screen in last year's Sandra Bullock flick "28 Days," in 1989's "Jacknife" starring Robert DeNiro, and in the 1985 Neil Simon film "The Slugger's Wife." The artist is also is the father of singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, whose recently released DreamWorks album "Poses" includes his dad's song "One Man Guy."
Produced by Stewart Lerman (Dar Williams, the Roches), "Last Man on Earth" originally was titled after opening track "Missing You," but was changed after Wainwright polled the audience during a performance at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, Calif. The set, the artist's first for Red House, follows 1999's "Social Studies." A U.S. tour is planned following a July 28 appearance at the Cambridge (England) Folk Festival.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has finished his third solo album, "Crow Sit on Blood Tree." The set is due Aug. 6 internationally on Coxon's own Transcopic label. Among the tracks confirmed for inclusion are "Big Bird," "Burn it Down," "Thanks God for the Rain," and "A Place for Grief." No North American release information has yet been finalized.
According to Transcopic's official Web site, the album will be accompanied by five promotional videos. In a similar fashion to Coxon's first two solo albums -- 1998's "The Sky is Too High" and last year's "The Golden D" -- "Crow Sit On Blood Tree" was recorded in just one week. It also features artwork drawn by the artist, who created the cover for Blur's 1999 album "13" (Virgin).
-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.