Billboard Bits: Ludacris, Austin City Limits, Jamarama Live!
News on Ludacris, Austin City Limits, Jamarama Live!Rapper Ludacris will hit the XM satellite radio airwaves beginning in January with his own weekly show, "Disturbing Tha Peace Presents Ludacris' Open Mic." The program will be highlighted by Ludacris' own music selections and guest appearances from other artists.
Ludacris recently won best rap video for "#1 Spot" at the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami. He is also up for favorite male rap/hip-hop artist at the American Music Awards, which will be handed out Nov. 22 in Los Angeles.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
From Franz Ferdinand and the Killers to Etta James and Gretchen Wilson, the new season of PBS' "Austin City Limits" promises to be a varied one. The 31st season of the revered performance series will get underway Oct. 8 with an episode split between singer/songwriter Jack Johnson and rock act Rilo Kiley.
"Everyone involved in 'Austin City Limits' puts music first, which makes it one of the rare shows that really capture the feel of a band at an energetic, live performance," Johnson says of the series, which originates at Austin, Texas' KLRU.
Alison Krauss + Union Station will make their fifth appearance on the show premiering Oct. 15, paired with a Kathleen Edwards performance. Other scheduled shows will feature James (Oct. 22), Ben Folds and Ray LaMontagne (Oct. 29), the Killers and Spoon (Nov. 5) and John Prine and Amos Lee (Nov. 12). Still to be scheduled are shows with Wilson, Café Tacuba, Franz Ferdinand, Miranda Lambert, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic and What Made Milwaukee Famous.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Children's music act the Laurie Berkner Band will headline the first leg of the inaugural Jamarama Live! "family rock concert" tour, with Milkshake and the Ohmies! supporting, in addition to local artists. The tour opens Oct. 29 in Morristown, N.J., and continues to New York (Oct. 30), Chicago (Nov. 6), Philadelphia (Nov. 19) and Washington, D.C. (Nov. 20). Plans are for the run to continue through May 2006.
"It's like an Ozzfest or Vans Warped Tour for kids," says Dana Millman-DuFine, co-president of tour co-producer Highland LLC. Tour details and the full itinerary will be found on the tour's Web site.
While Berkner's is probably not a true "household name," in those abodes with young children, she's nothing short of a star. Beyond four albums on her own Two Tomatoes label, Berkner's music videos are regularly featured on Noggin, Nickelodeon's commercial-free preschool network, a sponsor of the tour. Additionally, her band and Milkshake are regulars on the channel's acclaimed new series, "Jack's Big Music Show."
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.