Billboard Bits: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Z-Trip, & More

News on Jennifer Love Hewitt, Z-Trip, & More

JLHActress Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Party of Five," "I Know What You Did Last Summer") will switch gears to music as she releases the album "BareNaked" Sept. 24 via Jive Records. The singer/songwriter-oriented affair was produced by singer/songwriter Meredith Brooks. Both Brooks and R&B crooner Brian McKnight co-wrote several songs with Hewitt for the set.

"BareNaked" is led by the title track, which has been shipped to U.S. radio outlets for airplay consideration in July. While there is no tour planned at the moment, Hewitt will be supporting the set with a host of television appearances around the album's release. She is already confirmed to appear on NBC's "Today" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman," ABC's "The View," and the syndicated show "Live With Regis and Kelly," as well as Aug. 20 on the Fox Teen Choice Awards.

Although best known as an actress, Hewitt has several albums to her credit. In 1995 she released her Atlantic debut, "Let's Go Bang," and followed it up the next year with a self-titled effort. In 1999, her 143/Warner Bros. single "How Do I Deal," peaked at No. 59 on Billboard's Hot 100.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Z TripDJ Z-Trip has signed with Hollywood Records and is working on his label debut, due sometime next year. Just how he'll clear the truckload of samples needed to replicate his head-spinning live sets remains unknown; for now, the DJ is selling "Uneasy Listening Vol. 1," a limited-edition mix CD with DJ P, at his shows.

The disc has reached near legendary status in underground circles, owing to its often bizarre "mash-ups" of vintage rock and hip-hop songs (Bruce Hornsby's "The Way It Is" and Run-DMC's "It's Like That"; Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise" and Naked Eyes' "Promises Promises"). In recent live sets, Z-Trip has paired Jay-Z's "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" with Jane's Addiction's "Jane Says" and Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" with Eminem's "Without Me."

Z-Trip's profile has risen immeasurably in recent months, thanks to an opening slot on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour and appearances at such U.S. festivals as Coachella and Bonnaroo. Last Saturday, he played a free show in New York's Central Park during the afternoon and spun a full set later in the evening in Philadelphia. Z-Trip has no upcoming tour dates on his schedule while he works on his album.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

WillieCountry veteran Willie Nelson makes a guest appearance on "High on the Hog," the forthcoming solo album by former Dangerous Toys member Kevin Fowler. Due Aug. 6 on Fowler's own Tin Roof Records label, the set also features guest appearances by David Lee Garza and former Toys lead singer Jason McMaster.

"This is definitely not a top 40 album," Fowler says. "It's a hardcore honky tonk record. It sounds like nothing coming out of Nashville at the moment. It's a lot closer to the albums Merle [Haggard] and Waylon [Jennings] and [Billy Joe] Shaver used to make. They were writing songs for the everyday working man, and that's what you'll find here."

In addition to the release of "High on the Hog," Fowler and his band have also been tapped to perform in the film "Lone Star State of Mind." Helmed by veteran television director Dave Semel ("Boston Public," "Roswell"), the comedy stars Joshua Jackson ("Cruel Intentions") and model/actress James King ("Pearl Harbor").

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.