News on Celine Dion's baby, Martina McBride live, and Jon B.'s new album

Singer Celine Dion gave birth to a boy in Florida early Thursday, three weeks ahead of her due date. Named Rene Charles, the first child for Dion and husband/manager Rene Angelil weighed in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and both mother and child are "doing marvelously well and are in perfect health," according to a statement.

Dion, who announced her pregnancy last June after taking a break from performing due to difficulty in conceiving, achieved her pregnancy through in vitro fertilization. In December, the entertainer revealed she had a second embryo stored at a New York fertility clinic, and plans on having another child in the future.





Martina McBride has signed on as the headliner for Nashville's second annual Country Music Marathon concert. The April 28 event at Music City's Gaylord Entertainment Center will close a weekend of running and music featuring 10,000 marathoners and more than 40 live bands staged along each mile of the 26.2-mile race course.

Organizers of the Country Music Marathon hope to raise $5 million to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through its Team In Training program. Tickets for the concert will be available in March via Ticketmaster. For more information, visit the event's official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.





Jon B. will on March 20 release his third album, "Pleasures You Like" (Epic). Described as a mix of retro grooves and hip-hop beats, the set features guest appearances by Nas, Babyface, and Eve. The artist wrote or co-wrote every song, and produced most of the album, which was recorded at his VibeZelect Studios in Pasadena, Calif.

First single, "Don't Talk," debuted last week at No. 48 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. A Marcus Rayboi-directed video has been produced to support the track.

Jon B's last album, "Cool Relax," peaked at No. 33 on The Billboard 200 in May 1998, and spawned the single "I Do (Whatcha Say Boo)," which topped out at No. 18 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y

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