News on Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Continental Drifters

"I think the music world is split into two sides," says Paul McCartney, "where you get the people who are not going to last very long and who used to be called 'bubblegum' -- now it might be a bit more like 'boy band-ish' or whatever -- and then there's kind of the 'men' bands [grins] on the other side of the world, where they're more mature artists who tend to last a bit longer because they're not so packaged, so manufactured."

McCartney's comments on the state of music -- as well as songwriting, the upcoming Wings anthology "Wingspan," due May 8 via MPL/Capitol/EMI, and much more -- come from an additional full page of questions and answers from Billboard editor in chief Timothy White's exclusive March interview with the artist. The expanded text has been amended to "The White Paper" feature in Billboard.com's online archives, which can be found by clicking here.





As many as 15,000 people are expected to participate in the inaugural Willie Nelson 10K for Farm Aid, a charity race set for Oct. 21 in Austin, Texas. Farm Aid co-founder and Austin resident Nelson, an avid runner himself, will treat participants to a post-race concert.

"It's a pleasure to host a road race and concert where runners can support family farmers," he said. "I'm excited. If the Austin race is successful, maybe we should go to other parts of the world with it."

Nelson founded Farm Aid with Neil Young and John Mellencamp. Since 1985, Farm Aid has distributed more than $16 million to farm and rural organizations.





Beginning today (April 17) and lasting seven weeks, music from the upcoming Continental Drifters album, "Better Day," will be previewed on the band's official Web site. Starting with "Too Little Too Late," one new track will be streamed through the site each week until the June 5 release (bumped from its originally planned May 15 premiere) of the album via Razor & Tie. Streaming interview footage of the band talking about each song will also be featured.

The band -- bassist Mark Walton (Dream Syndicate), drummer Russ Broussard, keyboardist Peter Holsapple (db's), his now-ex wife singer/songwriter Susan Cowsill, guitarist Robert Mache, and bassist Vicki Peterson (Bangles) -- plans to tour the U.S. following the album's release, beginning on the West Coast.

The 12-track "Better Day" is the rootsy pop collective's third album, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 1998 set "Vermillion." In February, Razor & Tie issued a newly remixed and remastered edition of the band's 1994 self-titled debut.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.





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