Billboard Bits: Richard Ashcroft, John Fahey, Sia

News on Richard Ashcroft, John Fahey, Sia

Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft's third solo album, "Keys to the World," will see belated North American release March 21 via Virgin. The set has been out since last month in the United Kingdom, where it debuted at No. 2 on the country's album chart. The single "Break the Night With Colour" peaked at No. 3 on the U.K. singles chart.

As previously reported, Ashcroft will serve as the support act on the second half of Coldplay's North American tour, which runs from March 17 in Kanata, Ontario, through April 6 in Philadelphia.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

On the heels of Vanguard's recent John Fahey tribute "
I Am the Resurrection," Slackertone Records will on March 14 release its own collection, "Friends of Fahey Tribute." The album features a song from what is believed to Fahey's final acoustic recording session, titled "Why Haven't I Heard From You."

"Friends of Fahey" opens and closes with different versions of "Steamboat Gwine 'Round De Bend" by George Winston, one on piano, the other on harmonica. Winston's first solo album, "Ballads and Blues 1972," was originally released on Fahey's Lost Lake Arts label.

The album is rounded out by performances of songs either written or inspired by Fahey from John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman, Paul Geremia, Woody Mann, Mark Lemhouse, Tinh, Terry Robb, Mitch Greenhill, Peter Lang, Mayne Smith and John Doan.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Vocalist Sia will kick off her first North American tour March 18 at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, as part of a showcase with Astralwerks labelmates Radio 4, Hot Chip and the Juan Maclean. Beginning April 1 in San Diego, the tour will then play 11 dates through April 21 in Baltimore.

Sia is touring in support of the album "Colour the Small One," which debuted last month at No. 14 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

Here are Sia's tour dates:

March 18: Austin, Texas (Parish)
April 1: San Diego (Casbah)
April 3: Los Angeles (Troubadour)
April 4: San Francisco (Bimo's 365)
April 6: Portland, Ore. (Doug Fir)
April 7: Seattle (Crocodile Cafe)
April 11: Minneapolis (Varsity)
April 12: Chicago (Martyr's)
April 15: Philadelphia (World Cafe)
April 17: New York (Bowery Ballroom)
April 19: Boston (Paradise)
April 21: Baltimore (Sonar Club)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.