Billboard Bits: CCMA Awards, Elton John, Thug Law

News on CCMA Awards, Elton John, Thug Law

The WilkinsonsFamily act the Wilkinsons has been tapped to host the 19th annual Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards. The Sept. 10 ceremony at Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome, which will also mark the silver anniversary of the CCMA, will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET via the Country Music Television (CMT) cable network.

The Wilkinsons -- who came out on top of last year's ceremony with four awards -- are also slated to perform "Paper Doll," a new song due to appear on the group's as-yet-untitled forthcoming BNA album. Ricky Scaggs, Murray, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Terri Clark, Paul Brandt, Jason McCoy, and Adam Gregory are also slated to perform.

As previously reported, Johnson leads the field with a record 10 nominations. Clark earned six nominations, followed by McCoy and Brokop with five each, and 16-year-old Gregory, who received four nods. Gordon Lightfoot will be inducted into the CCMA Hall of Fame with a special tribute staged during the ceremony.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Elton JohnElton John will return to his roots with an intimate theater show in London on Sunday (Sept. 9) at lunchtime for a select audience of some 250 fans and members of the media. John will perform at the BBC Radio Theatre in a special show for BBC's Radio 2 station, to be broadcast as a 90-minute special on Sept. 22. The artist's new single, "I Want Love," is set for U.K. release two days later on Rocket/Mercury; his new album, "Songs from the West Coast," drops Oct. 1.

Thanks to its unusually small scale, the show is drawing comparisons to John's American debut performance with bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson at famed Los Angeles club the Troubadour on Aug. 25, 1970.

John has begun confirming dates for a North American tour in support of the new album, beginning Sept. 29 in Las Vegas. Dates are currently booked through a three-show stint in Mexico City on Oct. 22-23 and 25.

-- Paul Sexton, London

Big SykeThug Life and Outlawz, two acts once led by late rapper Tupac Shakur, have joined together to record "Thug Law - Thug Life Outlawz, Chapter 1," a new studio album due out Oct. 23 via Shakur compatriot Big Syke's RideOnUm Records label, in conjunction with /D3 Entertainment.

"Everywhere I went, people would always ask me what was up with the other cats from Thug Life? Was I still down with the Outlawz? When is new music coming out?," Syke says of the four-year process of creating the new set. "Putting the album together answers a lot of those questions."

Along with Syke, who is slated to release his own solo album, "Big Syke Daddy," later this month, "Thug Law" features the talents of Krayzie Bone, Mack 10, Mac Mall, and Above the Law. The album will be preceded by the single "Pay Day."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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