News on John Lee Hooker, Desert Sessions & More
The estate of bluesman John Lee Hooker has sealed a worldwide licensing deal with Eagle Rock Entertainment for audio and video projects featuring the late singer/guitarist, Billboard Bulletin  reports. The first release under the agreement will be "Face to Face," an album of previously unreleased Hooker studio recordings, completed under the supervision of his daughter, singer Zakiya Hooker, after his June 2001 death. Eagle Records label will issue the album Sept. 23.
Eagle is also planning a second volume of final Hooker recordings, as well as a historic 1949 session cut at the Detroit home of animator Gene Deitch. Eagle Vision, Eagle Rock's home video arm, plans to produce a new DVD about Hooker in collaboration with the estate.
-- Chris Morris, L.A.
The highly anticipated ninth and 10th volumes in Queens Of The Stone Age principal Josh Homme's Desert Sessions will be released Oct. 7 via Ipecac Recordings and Homme's Rekords Rekords. Originally expected in August, the sets are subtitled "I See You Hearin' Me" and "I Heart Disco." As previously reported, a host of rock luminaries make appearances, including Polly Jean Harvey, Dean Ween, Twiggy Ramirez and Josh Freese.
"Nothing is written ahead of time," Dean Ween tells Billboard.com of the sessions. "There are instruments everywhere. I am playing bass while Polly Harvey is playing organ sitting next to me! I am pretty used to that kind of environment in Ween, because that is how we do things. We just f*** around."
"There is a mellower, dark brooding vibe to some of this that is more realized than on some of the other ones," Homme told Billboard.com in May of the recordings. Prior Desert Sessions have featured members of Soundgarden, Hole, Monster Magnet and Kyuss.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith will release "Rarities" Sept. 16 via Linus Entertainment. The collection includes demos, a live song, unreleased tracks and B-sides that were included on albums in different territories.
The artist recently spent time in London recording material for a new studio album with producer Martin Terefe. Sexsmith will tour Canada for most of September before beginning a week-long tour of Germany late in the month. More Canadian shows will follow.
In related news, Sexsmith will perform this weekend as part the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon with Cher, Celine Dion, Clay Aiken and Joan Jett, among others.
-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto