1. Jay-Z, "Blueprint 3"

    September 11, 2009 3:50 PM EDT Out of Jay-Z 's 11 releases, his latest album, "Blueprint 3," has taken him the longest to record and deliver. But as expected, the new set is worth the wait. On the synthesizer-heavy track "What We Talking About" (featuring Luke Steele), Jay-Z calls out the Game and…

  2. Lil Jon Going Global With 'Crunk Rock'

    September 10, 2009 12:31 PM EDT L il Jon is acutely aware that he has kept fans waiting five years for "Crunk Rock," the followup to his 2004 album, "Crunk Juice." But now that the release is finally close to seeing the light of day, he is promising to pull out all the stops. "This album has all the…

  3. Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban Lead CMA Awards Nominations

    September 09, 2009 2:32 PM EDT Brad Paisley leads the nominees for the 43rd annual CMA Awards with six nominations, while Taylor Swift , Keith Urban and several other country stars follow closely with four nods each, it was announced today (Sept. 9). Paisley, who is also set to co-host the Nov. 11 ceremony with Carrie…

  4. Q&A: Kevin Calaba, Stars Of Track and Field

    September 01, 2009 10:51 AM EDT In 2006, the world awoke to a buzz out of Portland. Someone had found the audacity to name their band after a Belle and Sebastian song. Rather than fey chamber pop, though, Stars of Track and Field played precise, drummer-free electro rock, with vocals that sounded more like Snow Patrol than…

  5. Love and Theft, "World Wide Open"

    August 25, 2009 2:08 PM EDT Love and Theft 's familiar sound is probably lost on the younger demographic the trio tends to attract, but that may play in the band's favor when it comes to appealing to country fans. The group's harmonies, which are always at the forefront, are reminiscent of The Eagles and…

  6. Miley Cyrus, "Party in the U.S.A."

    August 24, 2009 1:44 PM EDT The heated online debate about Miley Cyrus' Teen Choice Awards performance of "Party in the U.S.A." threatens to overshadow one of her most entertaining songs yet. The loose, reggae-powered pop tune-appearing on an Aug. 31 mini-album exclusive to Wal-Mart-is Cyrus' take on…

  7. Hanson To Debut New Songs On Fall Tour

    August 21, 2009 1:14 PM EDT Hanson plans to play a bunch of new music for its fans this fall -- even though the sibling trio's new album won't come out until probably the spring of 2010. "We've tried since we started to not go more than a year without throwing something new to the fans," singer…

  8. Chart Beat Thursday: Black Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz, Miley Cyrus

    August 20, 2009 5:13 PM EDT BEST WEEK EVER?: It would be an historic Billboard Hot 100 this week if just one landmark record was broken, but when the Black Eyed Peas and Jason Mraz each rewrite 51 years of Hot 100 achievements, the chart dated Aug. 29, 2009, is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary of its entire…

  9. Jay-Z Unveils 'Blueprint 3' Track List

    August 19, 2009 10:24 AM EDT Jay-Z revealed the track list to his upcoming eleventh studio album, "The Blueprint 3," on his official website, www.jay-z.com , yesterday (Aug. 18th). Slated for a September 11th release date, "Blueprint" will be released on Jay-Z's own Roc Nation with distribution…

  10. Stephen Stills Mines Archives For Two New Sets

    August 18, 2009 2:00 PM EDT As he continues to work on his own box set retrospective, Stephen Stills has mined his distant and recent pasts for a pair of fall archival releases. On Sept. 22 the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will release "Manassas -- Pieces," a 15-song collection of outtakes and…

  11. Les Paul: Original Guitar Hero

    August 13, 2009 8:47 PM EDT Legendary guitar and recording innovator Les Paul, 94, died Aug. 13 from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital. A key pioneer in electric guitar sounds, responsible for developing and lending his name to what many consider rock'n'roll's definitive…

  12. Death Cab's Ben Gibbard, Jay Farrar Team Up For Kerouac Soundtrack

    August 13, 2009 2:46 PM EDT In an ode to iconic author Jack Kerouac, alt-country veteran Jay Farrar has teamed up with Death Cab for Cutie 's Ben Gibbard for a collaborative album entitled "One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur," Billboard.com has learned. The twelve song set is due…

  13. Les Paul Dies At 94

    August 13, 2009 12:27 PM EDT Les Paul , the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday. He was 94. According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains…

  14. Justin Moore, "Justin Moore"

    August 11, 2009 3:45 PM EDT On his debut single, "Small Town USA," country singer Justin Moore praised dirt roads, beer, Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. Fans of that song will love his new self-titled album, which is loaded with references to .44s, the preacher's daughter and working hard. Not much…

  15. Three 6 Mafia Lays Down 'Laws Of Power'

    August 04, 2009 11:40 AM EDT Three 6 Mafia is in the final two weeks of work on its next album, "Laws of Power," which is due out Nov. 10. "We've probably got about 20 songs, about 90 percent of the album done," the group's Juicy J tells Billboard.com. But his partner, DJ Paul, notes that …

  16. Coldplay Dazzle, Close Out Wet All Points West Fest

    August 03, 2009 10:32 AM EDT After a soggy Friday and sunny Saturday, the thunderstorms returned for the third and last day of All Points West, this time resulting in major delays and canceled sets for the festival held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. But after the rain cleared and mercifully stayed away,…

  17. Song Debut: Juliette Lewis's "Romeo"

    July 31, 2009 4:53 PM EDT An actress of startling range, Juliette Lewis has released an EP and two albums since 2003 with her band the Licks . Citing a desire to strike out in new directions, Lewis disbanded the group in 2009, forming the New Romantiques soon after. The resulting album, "Terra Incognita,"…

  18. Jordin Sparks, "Battlefield"

    July 24, 2009 4:43 PM EDT On her 2007 self-titled debut, former "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks compared love to permanent body art and her entire supply of oxygen. Lyrical themes get a bit murkier on her appropriately titled sophomore effort, "Battlefield." "You better go and get your…

  19. Psychedelic Songwriter John Dawson Dies At 64

    July 24, 2009 9:23 AM EDT John "Marmaduke" Dawson, a longtime Grateful Dead collaborator who co-wrote " Friend of the Devil " and developed a devoted following with his psychedelic country group New Riders of the Purple Sage, has died. He was 64. Dawson died Tuesday from stomach cancer in San…

  20. Bill Frisell, "Disfarmer"

    July 21, 2009 11:35 AM EDT The music of omnivorous guitarist Bill Frisell reflects an eclectic range of influences, including Thelonious Monk, John Hiatt and Boubacar Traore. On "Disfarmer," he draws inspiration from the Depression-era portraits of little-known Arkansas photographer Michael Disfarmer. The…

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