Billboard Bits: Michael Jackson, WXPN, Russell Crowe

News on Michael Jackson, WXPN Singer Songwriter fest, Russell Crowe

M JacksonMichael Jackson is expected to help in the search for Sabrina Aisenberg, who vanished from her crib as an infant nearly four years ago. It seems a plea for help from parents Steve and Marlene Aisenberg has caught the attention of the international pop icon.

Jackson's new album will include a song about missing children and is expected to have a picture of Sabrina on the inside cover, the couple told WTVT-TV Tampa, Fla. The Aisenbergs say someone snatched their 5-month-old daughter while they slept in their suburban Tampa home in November 1997. They believe she is alive somewhere, being raised by surrogate parents. They have never given up hope of finding her and repeatedly have appealed to the public for help.

Police say over the years they exhausted hundreds of leads and found no trace of the chubby-faced child, who would be 4 years old now. They believe she is dead and her parents know what happened to her.

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children says Jackson picked Sabrina and several other missing children to feature on the album. The center says it was asked to put Jackson's lawyers in touch with the parents to get permission to use photographs, the station reported.

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Nanci GriffithNanci Griffith, Joan Baez with Eliza Carthy, North Mississippi All Stars, Tim Easton, Jeb Loy Nichols, Marc Cohn, and Five for Fighting are among the artists that will perform at Philadelphia radio station WXPN's ninth annual Singer/Songwriter weekend. To be held July 21-22 at the city's Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, the event will also host a new Kids Corner Family Stage each day.

WXPN, which broadcasts out of the University of Pennsylvania, is internationally known for its show "World Cafe," which is carried on more than 130 public radio stations.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

CroweActor Russell Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, is embarking on a summer tour of North American cities as chosen by visitors to its official Web site. Only five dates have yet been confirmed, kicking off Aug. 11 in Austin, Texas, and proceeding on to Chicago (Aug. 13), Portland (Aug. 21), and Philadelphia (Aug. 28).

Besides Crowe, who plays guitar and sings, the Australian-born Grunts consist of lead guitarist Dean Cochran, bassist Garth Adam, drummer Dave Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Dave Wilkins, and trumpet player/vocalist Stewart Kirwan. The group recently released an album, "Bastard Life or Clarity," which is available through most online retailers. A mostly live release, "Gaslight," is available exclusively though Austin's Waterloo Records.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Copyright 2001 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.


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