Billboard Bits: Songwriters Hall, Big & Rich, Pretty Girls Make Graves
News on Canadian Songwriters Hall, Big & Rich, Pretty Girls Make GravesWillie Nelson, k.d. lang, and Rufus Wainwright are among the performers tapped to perform Feb. 5 at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Third Annual Gala in Toronto. The event will be broadcast nationally on both CBC Radio One and CBC Radio Two the next day; CBC Television will air an hour-long special on March 6.
The gala will include salutes to Hall of Fame inductees Leonard Cohen and Gilles Vigneault and Legacy Award recipients Anne Murray and Lucille Dumont, both singers being honored for their contributions to Canadian songwriting.
The evening will be marked by numerous musical match-ups including veteran singer/songwriter Andy Kim with alternative-styled Bedouin Soundclash; the Stampeders with Doc Walker; soul diva Jully Black with R&B singer Jarvis Church; Quebec French-speaking performers Martin Leon and Jessica Vigneault as well as Marie-Mai with Fred St-Gelais; and Canadian performers such as Sarah Slean, Amelie Veille, Louise Pitre, Claire Pelletier and Jimmy Rankin.
-- Larry LeBlanc, Toronto
The Feb. 19 Nashville stop on Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich's Chevy-sponsored American Revolution Tour will be an "All for the Hall" fundraiser for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The show at the historic Ryman Auditorium will also feature Cowboy Troy, Jon Nicholson and James Otto.
Tickets for the show are available via CMT Auctions and Ticketmaster. CMT Auctions is also auctioning special packages, with the biggest including hotel accommodations, airfare, a pre-concert dinner and reception with the show's headliners, a Gibson guitar autographed by the artists, a commemorative portrait of the Museum and a post-show reception with Cowboy Troy and others at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. At deadline, seven of eight "ultimate" packages remained available, each with a "buy it now" price of $10,000.
In other news, Big & Rich will perform a six-song set today (Jan. 4) in Pasadena, Calif., as part of ESPN's National Championship Tailgate Party. Part of the set will be broadcast on ESPNU. A specially recorded version of the duo's "Comin' To Your City" has aired throughout the football season on ESPN's weekly "College Game Day" preview show.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Seattle rock act Pretty Girls Make Graves will return in April with its next Matador album, "Elan Vital." The set was produced by Colin Stewart (Destroyer, Black Mountain) and will include such songs as "Parade," "Pyrite Pedestal" and "The Number," according to the label's Web site.
"Elan Vital" is the follow-up to 2003's "The New Romance," which reached No. 15 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and No. 19 on the Top Heatseekers tally.
In advance of a longer tour, Pretty Girls Make Graves will perform Feb. 14 in Moscow, Idaho, Feb. 16 in Berkeley, Calif., Feb. 17 in Portland, Ore., and Feb. 18 in Bremerton, Wash.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.