Billboard Bits: CMT Awards, Monterey Jazz, French Kicks, Buck Owens

News on CMT Awards, Monterey Jazz, French Kicks, Buck Owens

Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban have joined the performance lineup for the 2006 CMT Music Awards. They will appear alongside previously confirmed performers Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins, Gretchen Wilson, Brooks & Dunn and Sugarland at the April 10 event, which will be broadcast live on CMT from Nashville's Curb Event Center.

Beforehand, CMT's "Pre-Party Special" will feature performances from downtown Nashville by Jason Aldean, Van Zant and Little Big Town.

Hill, Urban, Underwood Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins share the lead with three nominations for this year's honors. In addition, Hank Williams Jr. will receive the Johnny Cash Visionary Award for his career achievements.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Bonnie Raitt, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and pianist Dave Brubeck are among the 500-plis artists set to perform at the 49th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, to be held Sept. 15-17 in Monterey, Calif.

The event will kick off with performances from the Charles Lloyd Quartet, who are celebrating 40 years since the live recording of "Forest Flower," and the Yellowjackets, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary. Other participating artists include Dianne Reeves, Robert Glasper and the McCoy Tyner Trio with special guests Bobby Hutcherson and Roy Hargrove.

The last day of performances will showcase the country's top high school and college jazz bands, including the Berklee-Monterey Jazz Quartet and IAJE's Clifford Brown-Stan Getz All-Stars. The festival, presented by Verizon, also features various clinics, panel discussions and exhibitions. Tickets are available from

-- Clover Hope, N.Y.

Indie rock act the French Kicks will unveil its next StarTime International album, "Two Thousand," on July 18. The 10-track set was produced by Doug Boehm and recorded this spring in Los Angeles. It's the follow-up to 2004's "The Trial of the Century," which was also produced by Boehm. The band will feature some of the new material during a six-date April tour that includes four shows with Ladytron.

Here is the track list for "Two Thousand":

"So Far We Are"
"Also Ran"
"Knee High"
"Keep It Amazed"
"No Mean Time"
"Basement D.C."
"England Just Will Not Let You Recover"
"Hey I Wait I"
"Go On"

Here are the French Kicks' tour dates:

April 11: Baltimore (Sonar)
April 12: State College, Pa. (Darkhorse Tavern)
April 14: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club; w/ Ladytron)
April 15: New York (Irving Plaza; w/ Ladytron)
April 16: Philadelphia (TLA; w/ Ladytron)
April 17: Boston (Paradise; w/ Ladytron)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

The general public will be welcomed to pay its respects to Buck Owens this weekend in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. As previously reported, the veteran country star died March 25 at his home at age 76.

A public viewing will take place Saturday (April 1) at a venue the performer owned, Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The funeral will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the city's Valley Baptist Church, where Owens was a member.

In lieu of flowers, Owens' family suggests donations be made to the Bakersfield SPCA (3000 Gibson, Bakersfield, CA 93308).

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.