Breaking & Entering

A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Ryan Cabrera and Eric Sardinas.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

TAPPING TELEVISION'S OTHER SIMPSONS: With MTV's reigning royal family behind him, singer/songwriter Ryan Cabrera is positioned to become the "Total Request Live" (TRL) crowd's newest darling.

A management deal with Joe Simpson -- father of "Newlyweds" star Jessica Simpson and her younger sister, burgeoning starlet Ashlee Simpson -- led to Cabrera's current supporting role on Jessica's "Reality" tour. And as part of the package that comes with dating Ashlee, he appears regularly on the MTV's latest reality installment, "The Ashlee Simpson Show."

While the MTV-based exposure is new to Cabrera, the Dallas-based performer has been primed for the spotlight since high school. Along with headlining famed local venues like the Gypsy Tea Room and Trees, Cabrera shared the stage with such artists as Sister Hazel, the Old 97s, Cheap Trick and Ben Harper as an acoustic guitarist with the Texas-born Rubic's Groove.

Cabrera broke out on his own with 2001's self-released "Elm Street" -- an Internet success that also sold well locally -- which caught the ear of Joe Simpson and led to a multi-record deal with Atlantic and a publishing deal with EMI Publishing.

While he produced, arranged, and played guitar, keyboards and drums for "Elm Street," the 20-year-old hooks up with Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik to co-produce his Aug. 17 E.V.L.A. Entertainment/Atlantic debut "Take it All Away."

For his Billboard chart debut, Cabrera's self-penned lead single, "On the Way Down," opened at No. 39 on the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart last week, where it climbs to No. 35 on the latest survey.

Eric SardinasTHIRD TIME'S THE CHARM: Though blues/rock guitarist Eric Sardinas has been performing for more than a decade, he makes his first appearance on a Billboard chart this week. His third studio effort, "Black Pearls" (Favored Nations) enters at No. 11 on the Top Blues Albums list.

The former Los Angeles street performer made his label debut on Evidence in 1999 with "Treat Me Right." The set was a culmination of six years of acoustic performances in local coffeehouses and rock clubs as the Eric Sardinas Project with bassist Paul Loranger and drummer Scott Palacios. "Devil's Train" followed in 2001, showcasing his affinity for the electric dobro.

Sardinas is on tour in Europe behind his latest set, which ranges from the guitar flurry rock of "Flames of Love" to the honky-tonk longings of "Bittersweet" to the blues-folk guitar pickings of "Liar's Dice Blues."