Billboard Bits: CFF, Fuel, Raffi, Nona Gaye

News on Suzanne Vega, the Richard Thompson Band, John Prine, and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, Cambridge Folk Festival, Raffi, Fuel, Billy Gilman, Asleep At The Wheel, Nona Gaye

Suzanne Vega, the Richard Thompson Band, John Prine, and former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings are among the key acts booked for the 37th annual Cambridge Folk Festival, sponsored by brewer Charles Wells and set to take place in the English town on July 27-29.

Also booked for the three-day event, one of the most important and high-profile in the folk and roots music calendar, are English "crusty" perennials the Levellers, Celtic favorites Capercaillie, 2000 Mercury Music Prize nominee Kathryn Williams, and Sharon Shannon with the Woodchoppers.

Further international representation will come from the North Mississippi Allstars, Carlos Nunez, Irish vocalist Brian Kennedy, and, in a repeat of their booking of 12 months before, Paul Heaton & Dave Rotheray from U.K. chart staples the Beautiful South. Further information is available at the event's official Web site.

-- Paul Sexton, London

A special, limited-edition of Fuel's 550 Music/Epic album "Something Like Human" featuring four bonus tracks will go on sale tomorrow (April 3) exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. The set includes the band's covers of Elton John's "Daniel" and Led Zeppelin's "Going To California," the song "Walk The Sky," previously available only on the "Godzilla" soundtrack, and an acoustic rendition of the single "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," which topped Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart late last year.

"Something Like Human" was recently certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association Of America for U.S. sales of 1 million copies. Fuel's tour with 3 Doors Down touches down tomorrow in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

A bevy of artists -- including Billy Gilman, Asleep At The Wheel, Raul Malo of the Mavericks, the Wilkinsons, Kathy Mattea, LeeRoy Parnell, Marty Stuart, and Keith Urban -- will contribute songs to a country collection of Raffi-penned children's songs. Due out in the fall, the set will benefit the non-profit Children's Environmental Health Network, which will receive all of Raffi's royalties from the as-yet-unnamed album.

Family act the Wilkinsons are currently in a Muscle Shoals, Ala.-studio recording Raffi's "All I Really Need," backed by Jimmy Buffet's Coral Reefers Band for inclusion on the album.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Nona Gaye, daughter of the legendary Marvin Gaye, is setting the stage to follow up her 1993 debut, "Love For The Future" (Third Stone/Atlantic). Since the release of that album, Gaye has collaborated with the likes of Prince ("Love Sign") and recorded a remake of her father's "Inner City Blues" -- produced by Me'Shell Ndegeocello and Wendy Melvoin (Wendy & Lisa) -- for the 1995 Motown tribute album of the same name.

Gaye, who is currently filming Columbia Pictures' Muhammad Ali biopic "Ali" with Will Smith, is in discussions with several labels regarding the release of her second album.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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