Billboard Bits: Billy Ray Cyrus, Starsailor, Paolo Nutini

News on Billy Ray Cyrus, Starsailor, Paolo Nutini

Country veteran Billy Ray Cyrus returns July 18 with his next New Door/UME album, "Wanna Be Your Joe." Among the tracks set for inclusion are "Country Music Has the Blues" featuring Loretta Lynn and George Jones, "I Want My Mullet Back," the Dale Earnhardt tribute "The Man" and "The Freebird Fell," co-written by ex-Lynyrd Skynyrd member Artemis Pyle.

"Wanna Be Your Joe" is Cyrus' first country album since 2002's "Time Flies." The following year, he released the gospel-oriented "The Other Side." Look for the artist on tour throughout the summer, beginning with a show tomorrow (June 10) as part of the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Out since last October internationally, U.K. rock act Starsailor's third album, "On the Outside," will arrive Aug. 22 in North America via Artists' Addiction Records. The 12-track set includes a bonus song ("Empty Streets") not included on the international edition.

"On the Outside" was produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith) and recorded in Los Angeles. The band is in the midst of planning a 19-city North American tour, beginning in early September in Montreal. Dates will be unveiled on the group's
Web site.

Three songs from the new set will be available on the digital EP "In the Crossfire" on June 27. "On the Outside" will also be released in an expanded edition with a DVD that features four live tracks, a making-of documentary and the video for "In the Crossfire."

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Scottish singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini appeared at the New York Pops Birthday Gala at Carnegie Hall last month at the personal request of the evening's honoree, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun -- a pretty unprecedented accolade for an artist who's yet to release a record.

Nineteen-year-old Atlantic Records U.K. signing Nutini hails from Paisley, near Glasgow. He performed alongside Kid Rock and Liza Minnelli at the New York event. Ertegun "came to my New York debut in March," Nutini says. "The next thing I knew, he'd asked me to come back for the gala."

Early U.K. press coverage predicts James Blunt-style success for Nutini, whose music recalls such classic troubadours as James Taylor and early Van Morrison. His debut album, "These Streets," is due for U.K. release July 17, preceded by first single "Last Request" on July 3. A U.S. release through Atlantic will follow later in 2006.

-- Nigel Williamson, London