Vocalist Shemekia Copeland led the field at the 2003 W.C. Handy Blues Awards, collecting three trophies during the ceremony last night (May 22) at Memphis' Orpheum Theatre. Copeland's Alligator album "Talking to Strangers" was named blues album of the year and contemporary blues album of the year, and the singer was named contemporary female artist of the year.
Singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman will kick off a U.S. tour June 7 in Seattle. The itinerary currently consists of 31 dates through an Aug. 2 show in Austin, Texas; more are expected. The first half of the tour will feature eastmountainsouth opening through July 8; Joseph Arthur is scheduled to open the rest of the shows.
Chicago instrumental rock outfit Tortoise is eyeing an early 2004 release for its fifth Thrill Jockey album, multi-instrumentalist John McEntire tells Billboard.com. "We have been working very sporadically for the past year-and-a-half on material that will constitute a portion of the new record," he says. "We are planning another long-ish session this summer, at which time we will be complete."
Thirty-seven years after aborting his most ambitious project midway through recording, former Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, plans to resurrect the long-lost "Smile" album in U.K. concerts next year. Wilson has set four dates at London's Royal Festival Hall for February 2004 as well as five additional shows throughout the U.K. the following month.
Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has inked a deal with Blue Note Records, with sessions for his label bow expected to begin this summer. Marsalis was signed to his previous label, Columbia, over two decades ago by current Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall, who at the time was Columbia's general manager.
Pop icon Michael Jackson was hospitalized briefly yesterday (May 21) after falling ill on the same day he was scheduled to give a deposition in a copyright lawsuit. The artist was hospitalized in Indianapolis for observation and treatment before the deposition began, Brian Oxman, an attorney for the Jackson family said.
50 Cent has returned to a familiar place: the top of Billboard's Hot 100. His single "21 Questions" featuring Nate Dogg climbs 2-1 on the chart, knocking Sean Paul's "Get Busy" to No. 2 after a three-week run at the summit.