Billboard Bits: G-Unit, Lead Belly, 'ACL' DVDs

Stories on G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Young Buck, Lead Belly and the 'Live From Austin' DVD series.

BanksLloyd Banks and Young Buck, both signed to 50 Cent's Interscope-affiliated G-Unit record label, will embark on separate fall tours in support of their respective debut releases. Nashville-based Young Buck will play clubs and theaters in the southeastern United States later this month. In the same time frame, New York-based Banks will begin in the Northwest, play parts of Canada, then head east through the Midwest.

In July, Banks' "The Hunger for More" bowed on top of The Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and has sold 1.1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Latest single "I'm So Fly" is working its way up several charts, including the Hot Rap Tracks list, where it was No. 21 last week.

Two weeks ago, Young Buck's "Straight Outta Ca$hville" debuted at No. 2 on the R&B/Hip-Hop tally and No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 446,000 copies. In August, lead single "Let Me In" reached No. 11 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart and No. 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville

PlantRobert Plant and Los Lobos will headline a tribute concert to legendary blues singer Lead Belly Nov. 7 in Cleveland as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's ninth annual American Music Masters Series. The weeklong tribute, entitled "Shine a Light on Me," will end with the concert at Severance Hall.

Other confirmed performers include Dave Alvin, Odetta and Robert Lockwood Jr., with additional acts expected to be announced. Tickets for the concert go on sale to the public Sept. 22 but members of the Museum will be able to take advantage of a pre-sale beginning today (Sept. 15).

Lead Belly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto

SteveThe performance-rich vault of the PBS series "Austin City Limits" will begin to emerge on DVD through New West Records' "Live From Austin" series. The collection will launch Nov. 2 with a 1986 session by Steve Earle, a 2001 episode featuring Robert Earl Keen, a 2002 Flatlanders performance and a Susan Tedeschi appearance that aired last year.

The DVDs will boast performances edited out of the KLRU-TV tapings for half-hour segments that constitute the 29-year-old television series. Each performance will be remixed and remastered in 5.1 surround sound. Separate audio CDs will also be released.

New West plans to establish a steady "Live From Austin" release schedule stemming from more than 400 shows, nearly all of which boast two artist performances. Already planned for 2005 are DVDs and CDs featuring Lucinda Williams, Leonard Cohen and Richard Thompson.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.