Billboard Bits: Robbie Williams, Michael Bolton, Unwed Sailor

News on Robbie Williams, Michael Bolton, Unwed Sailor

British hitmaker Robbie Williams has joined forces with cell phone carrier T-Mobile International and handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson to launch a branded mobile phone. The clamshell-shaped "Robbie Williams Edition" phones will roll out in time for the European leg of the artist's tour, which starts June 9 at Dublin's Croke Park Stadium.

The devices will be available only at retail outlets in T-Mobile's nine European markets. Branded with an embossed Robbie Williams logo on the back, the phones features a live recording, a Williams ringtone, an animation clip which is activated every time the phone is switched on or off and a Williams sound bite which is triggered when the user receives a text message.

-- Juliana Korentang, London

Michael Bolton gets assistance from his actress girlfriend Nicollette Sheridan on his upcoming album, "Bolton Swings Sinatra." Due May 23 via Passion Music Co./Concord, the set features Sheridan's vocals on Sinatra's 1963 hit "The Second Time Around."

Elsewhere, Bolton takes on Sinatra-popularized tunes like "That's Life," "My Funny Valentine," "Fly Me to the Moon," "New York, New York" and "Night and Day." The project was engineered by longtime Sinatra collaborator Al Schmitt.

"Sinatra sang with such power and such vulnerability," Bolton says. "He was a great storyteller. I just tried to tell some of these stories in my own way.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Rock act Unwed Sailor will release "The White Ox," its first album in three years, Aug. 15 via Burnt Toast Vinyl. The set will be preceded later this spring by the "Circles" EP, which features the 16-minute track split into the momvements "Mist" and "Mesa." "The White Ox" was recorded and produced by Early Day Miners principal Dan Burton at his Bloomington, Ind., studio.

The Johnathon Ford-led group is planning a summer tour in support of the album, the artwork for which was created by James Marsh, best known for his work with influential 1980s rock act Talk Talk.

In related news, Secretly Canadian is planning a September release for the Early Day Miners album "Offshore," which is comprised entirely of a 40-minute version of a track previously released on the band's 2002 album "Let Us Garlands Bring." Burton also recently completed his first solo album in New Orleans and is planning to release it early next year.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.