Billboard Bits: Plant/PJ/Bono, Evans, McKenna

News on Robert Plant/Pearl Jam/Bono, Evans, McKenna

PlantRobert Plant has been added to the lineup for Pearl Jam's Oct. 5 benefit concert at Chicago's House of Blues. The former Led Zeppelin frontman will take a day off from his fall North American tour to play the gig, proceeds from which will be donated to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Plant will be on the road through a Dec. 12-13 stand in Wolverhampton, England.

In related news, U2 frontman Bono made a surprise appearance last night (Sept. 19) during Pearl Jam's show at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, guesting on a cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." Earlier in the evening, Pearl Jam tacked on bits of U2's "A Sort of Homecoming," "Yahweh" and "Bad" to its own songs.

As previously reported, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder made an unannounced appearance at U2's Saturday show in the same venue, singing a few lines of "Ol' Man River."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

SaraRCA artist Sara Evans is the latest country star to make a compilation of her music available exclusively on the Cracker Barrel Music label. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant/retail chain will be the exclusive retailer for the yet-to-be titled compilation, which goes on sale in February 2006 at the chain's 500 stores and at It will include two previously unreleased tracks: a live version of her hit "Born To Fly" and an acoustic version of "No Place That Far."

Evans is the third artist to strike such a deal with Cracker Barrel, following Alison Krauss + Union Station and Charlie Daniels.

-- Phyllis Stark, Nashville

LoriBoston-based singer/songwriter Lori McKenna has signed to Warner Bros. Records, which is planning a Sept. 27 re-release of her latest album, "Bittertown." McKenna first came to the attention of label execs when WB star Faith Hill recorded three of McKenna's songs on her current album, "Fireflies," including the title cut.

McKenna has been releasing albums independently since 1998. "Bittertown" was previously released on the Signature Sounds label and includes two of the songs Hill recorded, "Stealing Kisses" and "If You Ask."

-- Phyllis Stark, Nashville