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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Friday
Jun072013

New Mom Tamar Braxton Announces: "HE'S Finally Here!"

Photo courtesy of Tamar Braxton on TwitterTalk about perfect timing: Tamar Braxton and her husband Vincent Herbert welcomed a brand-new baby boy into the world Thursday, breaking the news via Twitter just in time for the season finale of Braxton Family Values.

"#tamartian friends HE'S finally here!..." Tamar announced, sharing a photo of "It's a Boy" balloons and a trio of baby blue teddy bears.  Fans were quick to send their congrats, joining Tamar's sisters, who did the same.

Toni Braxton tweeted "congratulations to my beautiful baby sister!!!" adding that she's "soooooooo excited!!!!!..." about her new nephew.  With the reality show finale happening on the same night as her nephew's birth, Towanda deemed the evening "epic."  She also added, "I am just so tickled that my baby sister @TamarBraxtonHer is a mommie!! I'm sooo proud!! Wait til ya'll see my beautiful nephew!!"

There's no word yet on what first-time parents Tamar and Vincent have named their little boy.  Perhaps they'll give fans a good look at the little guy this fall when WE tv premieres the second season of Tamar & Vince, a Braxton Family Values spinoff.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Crosby, Stills & Nash to Play Full Debut Album Live in London This Fall

Photo: Eleanor StillsLast October, Crosby, Stills & Nash closed out their 2012 tour with a concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City that featured the trio's first full performance of their self-titled 1969 debut album.  Now CSN is prepared to perform the entire record again, this time during a special show at London's famed Royal Albert Hall.

The performance will take place October 11, during the final show of a three-night engagement the band has lined up at the venue.  As at the Beacon gig, CSN will perform Crosby, Stills & Nash during the second set of their Royal Albert Hall show.  The 10-track album features such classic tunes as "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Marrakesh Express," "Wooden Ships," "Helplessly Hoping" and "Long Time Gone."

Crosby, Stills & Nash's Royal Albert Hall run takes place during the group's upcoming U.K. tour, which kicks off October 5 in Bournemouth and currently is plotted out through an October 15 concert in Gatehead.  First up for CSN will be a series of European summer dates that gets under way June 20 in Dresden, Germany, and wraps up on July 22 in Monaco.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Bruno Mars Thanks Fans for Support After Mom's Death

Image credit: Kai Z. FengIt's been less than a week since Bruno Mars' mother died, so you know he's still struggling with the loss.  Even so, Bruno found time to reach out to his fans in thanks.

"So thankful for all the love during the most difficult time in my life," Bruno tweeted early this morning.  "I'll be back on my feet again soon. That's what mom wants, she told me."

Bruno's mom, Bernadette Hernandez, died Saturday in Honolulu, Hawaii of a brain aneurysm at age 55.  A former hula dancer and singer, she encouraged her son to pursue his musical dreams.

Today's tweet is Bruno's first public comment about his mother's death since her passing.

The singer's Moonshine Jungle tour kicks off June 22 in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Five Finger Death Punch Offers Preview of New Single, “Dot Your Eyes”

Prospect ParkFive Finger Death Punch may have pushed back the release date for the first installment of  their upcoming double album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, but the group is making it up to us by offering a preview of one of the new cuts.  On Thursday, the group posted online a 34-second snippet of “Dot Your Eyes,” which will be featured on the upcoming release.

The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1 will arrive at all the usual outlets on July 30 and will be available in a variety of formats, including standard and deluxe digital versions and a limited-edition box set. All versions will include the standard album, while the deluxe edition will include a 15-track live CD, PURGATORY [Tales from the Pit].  The limited-edition box set includes everything from the deluxe edition, along with a 5FDP lunch box and a free download of an exclusive new track from the upcoming release.

You can pre-order the deluxe edition on iTunes starting June 18, but if you buy the physical version, you’ll get a limited-edition t-shirt.  The box set will also be available for pre-order on the group’s website the same day.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" Tops 3 Million in Digital Sales

GeffenLynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" is one of the great Southern rock anthems of all time, and now the tune has achieved an impressive milestone.  Yahoo! Music's Chart Watch blog reports that, as of this week, the track has been downloaded more than 3 million times, paid downloads that is.  The song was released in 1974, which makes it the oldest tune to ever hit the 3 million mark in digital sales.

In fact, only one other song released during the 1970s has surpassed the 3 million paid-downloads plateau, the 1975 Queen classic "Bohemian Rhapsody," which currently has been downloaded 3,362,000 times.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Robin Thicke Gets His First Top 10 "Billboard" Hot 100 Hit

Facebook.com/RobinThickeRobin Thicke finally has his first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.  His song "Blurred Lines," featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams, jumps from #12  to #6 in its sixth week on the list, according to Yahoo!'s Chart Watch.

Interestingly, Robin is following in his mother's footsteps.  The singer's mom, actress Gloria Loring, broke into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 back in August 1986, according to Chart Watch.  In fact, her song "Friends and Lovers" with singer Carl Anderson peaked at #2 on the list. 

The duet's popularity was bolstered by exposure from the soap opera Days of Our Lives, which was home to Loring from 1980 to 1986, according to Chart Watch.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Kid Rock Explains Why He Never Lets Kenny Chesney Pick the Restaurant

Sony Music/Blue ChairKid Rock says by his estimation, his pal Kenny Chesney may not have the best taste in restaurants.

“It must've been twelve years ago, one of my first times ever really hanging out in Nashville, before I bought a place there,” he tells GQ.  

Kid requested some “back-porch home cooking, barbecue, something like that,” and Kenny suggested a place he didn’t know. “Meet me at P.F. Chang's," he said.

It turns out Kenny’s favorite restaurant was exactly the opposite of what Kid had in mind.

“I walk in there-- I'm like, ‘Are you [expletive] kidding me?’ And of course Kenny's, like, getting-- ‘Mr. Chesney, would you like the usual?’ and he's got, like, a little umbrella drink,” he laughs.

GQ caught up with Kid Rock as he sailed from Miami to the Bahamas with more than two thousand fans on his “Chillin’ the Most Cruise.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

"Glee's" Matthew Morrison: My New Album Wouldn't Exist Without Adam Levine

Jason Merritt/Getty Images For Details MagazineMatthew Morrison is using his summer break from playing Mr. Schu on Glee to do something productive: promote his brand new album, Where It All Began.  The album of Broadway classics, in stores now, is the first to be released on Adam Levine's record label, 222 Records.

"We've been friends over the last couple of years, just both living in L.A.," Matthew tells ABC News Radio, explaining how his collaboration with Adam came about.  "And we were taking about music and I was really surprised to find out that he has such a fascination with this era and this kind of music, the standards."

Matt said that when he explained to Adam that an album of Broadway tunes was "the album that I've always wanted to make," Adam's reply was, "I want to make this album for you."  The actor says he didn't really believe Adam at first, but says the Maroon 5 frontman "really came through" in terms of supporting him artistically so he could make his dream project.

But what about those reports that Adam and Matthew were recording a duet for the project?  Was there actually talk of them collaborating?  "There was," confirms Matthew, adding "I would've loved it if it happened, but I think the timing just didn't work out.  He's got an incredibly busy schedule, as do I, and it wasn't in the cards this time."  However, Matthew says he plans to release additional albums on 222 Records, so a duet will be "something to look forward to."

Where It All Began features Matthew, a Tony-nominated former Broadway star, putting his own spin on material from super-famous Broadway shows, including West Side Story, My Fair Lady and Guys & Dolls.  He even recorded "Ease on Down the Road," from The Wiz, as a duet with Motown legend Smokey Robinson.  The actor says he thinks that even younger fans who may not be familiar with the songs will want to check it out.

"You know I've been so lucky over the years on Glee to perform some great show tunes, songs specifically written for the theater, on global television," Matthew tells ABC News Radio. "And hopefully that has opened up this world of music to a brand new audience...these are songs that are timeless."

You can see Matthew perform his material on a new PBS special that's currently running, and he says he's going to try to do as many live dates as he can fit into his schedule.  "We shoot Glee 10 months out of the year and I have two months off," he laughs. " I could be sitting on a beach right now with a Mai Tai in my hand, but all I want to do is have a microphone in my hand!"

As for the new season of Glee, Matthew says that nothing's even been scripted yet, but he says he's glad how the most recent season ended: with Will and Emma, his obsessive-compulsive guidance counselor girlfriend, getting hitched in a surprise wedding ceremony.

"I was so happy that we finally got married," says Matthew. "I think the audience was really looking forward to that moment as were Jayma, who plays Emma, and I -- we were really looking forward to it as well."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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Friday
Jun072013

Metallica Looking to Make Detroit the Permanent Home for Orion Music + More Festival

Facebook.com/OrionMusicMoreMetallica’s second annual Orion Music + More festival takes place this weekend at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, and if the band has their way it will be there for years to come. Drummer Lars Ulrich says that if all goes well this year, the band expects to make Detroit the official home of the fest.

“Detroit doesn’t really have a yearly festival and we have a lot of history there,” Ulrich tells Businessweek.com. “Detroit as a city itself has an incredible musical legacy. We feel this really has a shot at turning into something permanent here.”

Ulrich adds the band has worked hard to create a “sense of connection” with fans at the festival, which he hopes will keep them coming out to support the event year after year. “There was a very cozy family spirit significantly different than other festivals we’ve played,” he explains of Orion Music + More. “If we treat this right over the next couple of years, maybe we’ll be able to establish a long-term type of thing.”

This year’s Orion Music + More festival lineup includes headlining sets by Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as performances from Rise Against, Deftones, Silversun Pickups, Dropkick Murphys and Foals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Carrie Underwood Celebrating Fifth Anniversary of Grand Ole Opry Membership

Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood can't believe she's celebrating her fifth anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member this weekend.

She says, "It feels like it was last year that I was inducted."

Carrie will toast her anniversary with a performance at the Opry Friday night, and she's honored that the Opry staff wanted to mark the special occasion.

"It's an honor that they wanted to do something special for the five-year anniversary," Carrie explains. "I was like, 'Whatever, it's cool. You don't have to.' And they insisted. So, it's really exciting."

Carrie's also excited to share this special night with her fans in town for the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.

She says, "There's so many people in town, and so many fan club members and stuff like that that are here, so they're going to get to be a part of that celebration too."

Carrie already entertained some of those fans at her fan club party earlier this week. She'll close out the 2013 CMA Music Festival's final concert at Nashville's LP Field on Sunday night.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Metallica Looking to Make Detroit the Permanent Home for Orion Music + More Festival

Metallica.comMetallica's second annual Orion Music + More festival takes place this weekend at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, and if the band has its way the event will be there for years to come.  Drummer Lars Ulrich says that if all goes well this year, the band expects to make the Motor City the official home of the fest.

"Detroit doesn't really have a yearly festival and we have a lot of history there," Ulrich tells Businessweek.com.  "Detroit as a city itself has an incredible musical legacy.  We feel this really has a shot at turning into something permanent here."

Ulrich adds that his band has worked hard to create a "sense of connection" with fans at the festival, which he hopes will keep them coming out to support the event year after year.  "There was a very cozy family spirit significantly different than other festivals we’ve played," he explains of Orion Music + More. "If we treat this right over the next couple of years, maybe we'll be able to establish a long-term type of thing."

This year’s Orion Music + More festival lineup includes headlining sets by Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as performances from Rise Against, Deftones, Silversun Pickups, Dropkick Murphys and Foals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Elton John's Stage Outfits Are "Gay Propoganda," Says Russian Communist Group

Facebook.com/EltonJohnWhen Madonna performed in Russia last year, she got into trouble for allegedly promoting a homosexual agenda.  Now, Elton John is being accused of doing the same thing, merely by stepping on stage.

John is set to perform in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar on July 14, and the Russian news website RIA Novosti reports that a local Communist group wants him to leave his usual flamboyant clothing behind because it's "homosexual propaganda."  The group's leader, Mikhail Abramyan, suggests that Elton wear, instead, a traditional Russian Cossack uniform, consisting of a knee-length caftan, fur hat and leather boots.

"We hope he'll wear it," added Abramyan, although the promoters have nixed the idea.  He added that his group of 350 will take to the streets and protest if John wears his usual stage garb.  Asked if he's a fan of Elton's music, Abramyan said he preferred Russian songs.

It's a criminal offense to "promote homosexuality" in many Russian regions.   Last year, Madonna was sued for $10 million after she asked fans at her Russian concerts to raise their hands in support of gay pride.  The suit was later thrown out.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhen did the Country Music Association hold the first Fan Fair? ANSWER:  1972.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

50 Cent's "Dream School" Shows Gets the Greenlight from Sundance Channel

Facebook.com/50Cent50 Cent is helping bring a new show to Sundance Channel this fall.  The network announced this week that it's given the greenlight to the non-fiction series Dream School, executive produced by 50 and British chef Jamie Oliver.

Fif will appear on the six-part hour long series, which takes troubled teens out of conventional schools, and places them in classes taught by musicians, politicians, filmmakers and other professionals at the top of their fields.  The students come from different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common -- they're dropouts.  Dream School, however, gives them a second chance.

The importance of the show is "monumental," 50 says in a statement. "Helping to inspire these students to reach their potential is personally gratifying."

Fif's G-Unit Films and Television is producing the show, in conjunction with Oliver's Fresh One Productions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Angie Stone Wanted to "Save the Day" with "R&B Divas"

Facebook.com/RealAngieStoneAngie Stone says that neo-soul music was "headed for a train wreck," and she joined the cast of R&B Divas to "save the day."  At least that's how she explains her decision to appear on season two of the TV One series, telling Essence, "I wanted to get on there and offer some of my experience and what I’ve gone through to survive in the business for so long..."

Around the time Angie was considering whether or not to get involved with the show and its cast, she says "R&B music was not in the best light because we were just struggling to get airplay."  Getting older has presented special obstacles for Angie and her peers.  The show's youngest member is in her 30s, and Angie says that's ancient by some industry standards.  "I’ve been very privy to even that rejection, even at 26 having a person saying you’re 26 and we’re not signing anybody over 18," she says.

Asked whether she feels judged by her age, Angie tells Essence, "Of course...," adding that "I’m judged by my age, my relationships, my opinions, a lot of things and I’m okay with that.  I think a lot of people judge me because they can’t understand why God continuously blesses me."

The singer also talks about D'Angelo, with whom she shares a teenaged son.  She's looking forward to the reclusive singer's comeback album, but wouldn't say much about it, telling Essence, "I always have to remember is that I’m a parent to his son and if nothing else, I have to be the guardian to my son.  I know that there will always be a genius that lies in him as a young man and father...."

If you're hoping to hear a D'Angelo-Angie collaboration, don't hold your breath, because Angie's given up hope for that.  "It’s something I used to dream of and I’m realizing it’ll never happen and I’m okay with it," she says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Who Knew? Jordin Sparks Wrote Ariana Grande's "The Way" About Jason Derulo

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via ABCWhile we're waiting for Jordin Sparks to release some new music, we can at least listen to a song she had a hand in creating.  Unbeknownst to many fans, the season six American Idol champ co-wrote Ariana Grande's big hit single "The Way."

Jordin tells The Hollywood Reporter that she was supposed to record "The Way" herself, for her upcoming album.  But then, Jordin says, "Ariana's team heard it and she loved it! So she cut it. She did an amazing job and she kills it live!"  As for what inspired the song, Jordin says, "It was definitely written about my love, Jason [Derulo]."

Now that we know Jordin wrote the song about Jason, lyrics like, "You give me that kind of something/Want it all the time, need it everyday/On a scale of one to ten I'm at a hundred/Never get enough, I can’t stay away" totally make sense.  And the couple's romance is definitely fueling the charts these days: Jason's hit "The Other Side," which was inspired by Jordin, is a big hit as well.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Usher, Show Alumni & Fall Out Boy to Perform on Next Week's "The Voice"

Mark Seliger/NBCAll this past season, American Idol brought back its former contestants for performances.   On Monday, The Voice will do the same with not one, not two, but three alumni -- plus, a coach and a top rock band will take the stage.

Coach Usher will perform his new single "Twisted" on Monday night, and on Tuesday, viewers will see Tony Lucca, Terry McDermott and Nicholas David take the stage.   Tony, a Team Adam finalist from season two, will debut a new single, "Never Going to Let You Go."  Terry, who was Team Blake season three, will sing the song "Pictures," while Nicholas, who was Team Cee Lo on season three, will perform "Say Goodbye."

Fall Out Boy will also appear Tuesday night, performing their latest hit, "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Five For Fighting Return with New Single Next Week, New Album in September

FiveForFighting.comIt's been a while since we've had any new music from Five for Fighting, but the wait is over.

A note on the Five for Fighting website from John Ondrasik -- the guy who records under the Five for Fighting name -- reveals that a brand-new single, "What If," will be released on June 11.   A new album will follow on September 17.  "I look forward to seeing you all soon," John writes. "These studio walls are closing in!"

The last F4F album, Slice, came out in 2009.  It produced the hit "Chances," which reached the top 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Lostprophets' Ian Watkins to Stand Trial for Alleged Sexual Offenses Against Children

Joey Foley/Getty ImagesLostprophets singer Ian Watkins is headed to court in the fall to face allegations that he committed a total of 23 sexual offenses against children, according to BBC News.

On June 3, Watkins pleaded not guilty when he appeared via video link before a judge in Cardiff, Wales at a hearing on charges of allegedly “conspiring to engage in sexual touching with two young children; possessing, making and distributing indecent images; and possessing ‘extreme’ animal pornography.”  The singer is also being accused of conspiring with a woman "to rape a one-year-old girl.” In addition, two women -- ages 20 and 24 -- are facing charges in connection with the child sex allegations.

“I want to thank my family, friends and all the fans for the continued support throughout this whole ordeal,” Watkins said in a recent statement.  “Your support gives my strength.  I deny all the allegations made against me and I will continue to fight to clear my name."

Watkins' trial is scheduled to start on November 25 and is expected to last about a month.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun072013

Robert Plant Says He's Glad to Be Exploring British-Influenced Music with New Band

Oli PowellRobert Plant is gearing up for his first full U.S. tour with his new band The Sensational Space Shifters, which kicks off June 20 in Dallas.  The group's material finds the Led Zeppelin legend veering away from the Americana influences he explored in recent years with Alison Krauss and Band of Joy and back toward the more eclectic mix of sounds delved into by his early-2000s group The Strange Sensation.

"I decided that I wanted to get back to something resembling a 'British condition,'" Plant explains in a new interview with LA Weekly.  "I looked back at the Strange Sensation lineup…We decided to get together to try something out."

The Sensational Space Shifters actually features most of the members of the Strange Sensation along with an accomplished West African musician named Juldeh Camara.  The outfit blends hard-edged blues, spacey psychedelic rock, world music and electronica.

"The guys I work with in the U.K. have more of an urban British thing going on," Plant says, while pointing out that this influence may have something to do with several of the band members hailing from Bristol, England.

"There's something about it that inspires a more techno way…samples, big 'f***k off' drum loops that fry you sometimes," he adds.

The singer admits that while working with American folk and country artists was "an amazing education" for him, the new project allows him to settle back into a comfort zone, particularly because he doesn't have to focus on singing harmonies as much.

"I'm able to get the 'R.P.' voice back out there again," he notes. "I won't have to worry about [girlfriend and Band of Joy collaborator] Patty [Griffin] glaring at me when I f**k up this time!"

Also during the LA Weekly interview, Plant praised fellow Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones for blazing his own eclectic creative path outside of their famous band.

"I have great respect for him," declares Plant.  "He's right in the middle of writing an opera…But he can also play in [hard-rock supergroup] Them Crooked Vultures and play mandolin with [blues artist] Seasick Steve.

Adds Robert, "I've learned that it's good to keep moving and keep smiling!"

The Sensational Space Shifters' U.S. tour is mapped out through a July 27 show in Brooklyn, New York.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio