News on Matthew Sweet, Pat DiNizio, Jim Beam, Sizzlin' Country, Jessica Andrews, Billy Gilman, Paul Carrack

Matthew Sweet will join Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio as co-chairman of Jim Beam's B.E.A.M. advisory board, a program which awards a total of $100,000 in grant money to up-and-coming artists three times a year. Troy Gentry, of country act Montgomery Gentry, and Mike Peters, former lead singer of the Alarm, are also members of the B.E.A.M. board.

Now in its third year, B.E.A.M. will award a grant to both a rock and a country act, with applications available at Jim Bean's Web site. DiNizio will interview the finalists, and the grand-prize winner will be awarded a free, five-market tour -- on a Jim Beam tour bus -- as well as custom T-shirts and a $2,000 equipment budget. Previous winners include Gentry, Pollen, and Yo, Flaco!

-- Todd Martens, L.A.





Rising teen country stars Jessica Andrews and Billy Gilman will host the seventh annual Sizzlin' Country benefit concert, set for May 8 on the lot of Warner Bros. studios in Los Angeles. The performance lineup for the event, which raises funds for cystic fibrosis research and treatment, is still being finalized. In addition to the live sets, the event will feature a dinner, and both silent and live auctions.

RPM Management's Scott Siman will be honored with the Heart Of Country award, presented to an individual or corporation in recognition of contributions to their community. Last year's concert raised more than $500,000 for cystic fibrosis programs.

As previously reported, Andrews and Gilman plan to tour together this summer.





U.K. singer/songwriter Paul Carrack will mount a one-off 50th birthday concert May 4 at London's Royal Albert Hall, Billboard Bulletin reports. The concert, sponsored by communications system manufacturer Sennheiser, will be themed "A Night In Good Company" and will feature collaborators from Carrack's wide-ranging career, including Mike Rutherford from Mike + the Mechanics, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze, and Rod Argent.

Carrack can currently be heard guesting on Eric Clapton's new Reprise album "Reptile." His most recent solo set, "Compass," was issued in North America last fall by Nashville-based Compass Records.

-- Paul Sexton, London