Billboard Bits: EWF, Cher, Kittie, Bloomingtonfest
News on EWF, Cher, Kittie, BloomingtonfestVeteran R&B act Earth, Wind & Fire will on Oct. 5 release its first album under a new deal with Matthew Knowles' Sanctuary Urban Records Group. The as-yet-untitled set sports production by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as well as Raphael Saadiq, plus guest appearances by Musiq and Floetry.
Last year, the veteran act's RED-distributed independent label, Kalimba Records, released "The Promise." It was EWF's first new studio album in six years.
The group's summer tour with Chicago rolls into Concord, Calif., tonight (Aug. 13) and wraps Tuesday in Los Angeles. Headlining dates resume Sept. 22 in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Cher has signed on as honorary chair of Raise the Roof, a new charitable initiative from Habitat for Humanity and Clear Channel Entertainment.
In the Raise the Roof program, artists help in the construction of houses for needy families. Blink-182, John Mayer and Linkin Park are among the artists who have participated in the program so far. Later this month, the Dave Matthews Band will help build a Raise the Roof house in Houston.
Cher became involved in Habitat last spring after the nonprofit organization dedicated a house in her name in Minneapolis. Cher visited the construction site and met with the single mother and child who were the prospective homeowners.
"It's a cause all artists can get behind because it provides an opportunity to make a tangible, tremendously powerful impact on someone else's life and in the communities where they entertain," Cher said in a statement.
-- Carla Hay, N.Y.
UPDATE: Canadian hard rock act Kittie was forced to cancel its tour after drummer Mercedes Lander was diagnosed with severe dehydration and exhaustion. Initally, the band felt it could return to the road after nixing shows Wednesday in Cleveland, where Lander was treated, and last night (Aug. 12) in Cincinnati.
After her release from a Cleveland hospital Lander suffered a relapse and has pulled out of its its seven-week tour with Candiria, 36 Crazyfists, Twelve Tribes and Thine Eyes Bleed.
Kittie's latest album, "Until the End" (Artemis), debuted last week at No. 4 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and No. 105 on The Billboard 200. It has sold 19,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Early Day Miners, the Microphones, Windsor For The Derby, Br. Danielson, Joan Of Arc and Josephine Foster and the Supposed are among the 50 acts confirmed to perform at Bloomingtonfest 2004, to be held Aug. 26-29 at six venues around the Indiana University campus. Multi- and single-day passes can be purchased in Bloomington at TDs CDs and LPs or online via Insound.
Other bands set to appear include Mock Orange, John Wilkes Booze, Landing, Fruit Bats, Scout Niblett and Magnolia Electric Co., led by Songs: Ohia's Jason Molina. A portion of the proceeds from Bloomingtonfest will be donated to MoveOn.org and Music for America.
In related news, Secretly Canadian will on Oct. 19 issue vinyl editions of Songs: Ohia's self-titled 1996 debut, 1999's "Axxess & Ace" and 2000's "The Lioness." A double-live album is scheduled for a January release, with a new studio set expected in spring 2005.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.