Billboard Bits: Springsteen, Bennett/Lang, Nelson

News on Bruce Springsteen, Bennett/Lang, Willie Nelson

BruceA new Bruce Springsteen album is tentatively scheduled for a July 30 release via Columbia, Billboard Bulletin reports. That date could change though, as Springsteen is said to be still recording. The as-yet-untitled set, recorded with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots), will be his first set of all-new studio material since 1995's solo outing "The Ghost of Tom Joad."

As previously reported, the Boss' manager, Jon Landau, previewed new tracks by Springsteen & the E Street Band at a Sony retail conference last week in New York. Sources say two of the songs -- the ballad "Into the Fire" and anthemic "The Rising" -- seemed influenced by the Sept. 11 attacks. Landau also played the ballads "Nothing Man" and "Lonesome Day," plus the rollicking "Mary's Place."

-- Ed Christman, N.Y.

TonyTony Bennett and k.d. lang have recorded an album of Louis Armstrong songs that will be out by year's end. The genesis of the project was born last year, when the pair toured together. Early this year, Bennett came up with the idea of a duets album featuring Armstrong's love songs. The 13-track set is called "Together" and will be released by Bennett's label, Columbia, in conjunction with lang's label, Warner Bros.

The pair, backed by Bennett's quartet, put the material to tape at the John Harms Theater in Englewood, N.J. Highlights include the Armstrong/Billie Holiday duet "You Can't Lose a Broken Heart," Bennett's solo rendition of "That's My Home," and lang's take on "A Kiss to Build a Dream On."

Bennett will make a previously announced June 3 concert appearance at London's Buckingham Palace as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee festivities. From there, he begins an extensive North American tour June 10 in Boston, with dates booked through mid-January 2003. Lang has no current tour plans on the schedule.

-- Melinda Newman, L.A.

WillieWillie Nelson concerts in Austin, Texas, and Nashville will be paired on the forthcoming DVD release "Willie!" Due July 23 via Cleopatra Records and Music Video Distributors, the release boasts footage of a total of 26 performances by the country music veteran.

Dubbed "The Great Outlaw Valentine Concert," the first part of the disc was recorded at Austin's Opera House in 1991, and features performances of such classics as "Fraulein," "Texas," "Valentine," and "Always On My Mind," as well as a show-closing medley of "Uncloudy Day, "I'll Fly Away," and "Amazing Grace."

The DVD's second half, "Nashville Superstar Concert," is introduced by Nelson himself, and also features archival footage from the artist's storied career. Among the songs he performs during this show are "Whiskey River," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Hello Walls," "On the Road Again," and "Crazy."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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