Billboard Bits: Dove Awards, Gill, Eminem, and more

News on Dove Awards, Michael W. Smith, Vince Gill, Brian Wilson, Carly Simon, Eminem, Tangerine Dream

Singer Michael W. Smith will host the Dove Awards for Christian music, to be presented April 26 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The ceremony will be broadcast April 28 on Pax TV and May 4 on WGN-TV.

"This is a wonderful step in the journey we've taken from syndication -- where the show has been hard to find and in unfavorable time slots -- to the ultimate goal of a network licensing deal," said Frank Breeden, Gospel Music Association president.

Since the show will take place on a Thursday, airing it live is less attractive to cable networks in competition with such blockbuster programming as "Survivor" and "Friends" on the major networks, Breeden said.

Country star Vince Gill has joined the line-up of TNT's "An All-Star Tribute to Brian Wilson." As previously reported, the event will take place next Thursday (March 29) at New York's Radio City Music Hall. It will include performances by Elton John, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Ricky Martin, Jimmy Webb, Aimee Mann & Michael Penn, Matthew Sweet, the Go-Gos, Hootie & the Blowfish's Darius Rucker, Heart's Ann & Nancy Wilson, Evan & Jaron, the Harlem Boys Choir, and the Radio City Orchestra. An appearance by Carly Simon is also rumored, although her participation has not been confirmed. Beatles producer George Martin, actor Dennis Hopper, and filmmaker Cameron Crowe will present segments of the show, and Phil Ramone is serving as music producer of the event, which will include a start-to-finish performance of Wilson's masterpiece "Pet Sounds." The special is slated to air this summer on TNT.

A series of three Eminem dolls, produced by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Art Asylum, the will hit stores in July. One is a low-key version of the rapper as Marshall Mathers -- his real name -- dressed in a puffy white jacket. A second doll depicts Mathers as his alter ego, "Slim Shady," wearing a hockey mask and carrying a chain saw -- which doesn't work. "We haven't perfected that yet," an Art Asylum spokesperson joked. Details of the third doll are still in the works. "Eminem loves them. His management loves them. They actually have his branding," the spokesperson said. "He was looking to get them done but a lot of companies were kind of afraid to mess with it. We gotta be different." A spokesperson for Eminem's label, Interscope Records, said the rapper believed the dolls would be fun for his fans to have. The figures will retail for $9.99; $12.99 with a display base. The dolls will be available at Tower Records and other specialty stores.

Legendary exponents of ambient electronica Tangerine Dream will play their first U.K. show in three years on May 12 London's Shepherds Bush Empire. The gig will precede the release of the new album 'Dream Mixes III' on May 22. The set is the third in a remix series undertaken solely by founding member Edgar Froes and his son Jerome, who joined the group in 1990. It will be released on the band's own TDI Music label and is hailed as a "beat-ridden, heavily addictive club-oriented release" The group, which formed in 1968, has long been regarded as the godfather of experimental electronic music. Despite moderate sales and cult status, Tangerine Dream has amassed seven Grammy nominations during its extensive career.