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May 2005

Melinda Lira (American Idol)


Melinda Lira (American Idol) will sing anthem and perform at halftime of Coyotes opener, Melinda Lira (from American Idol).

Melinda Lira, the talented singer from Hanford recently seen on the Fox Network reality show “American Idol”, will sing the national anthem and perform at halftime of the Coyotes home opener versus the Arkansas Twisters at Selland Arena on Saturday, April 23.

The graduate of Hanford West High School was one of 24 contestants on the current television series. While on the show, Lira sang "Power of Love" by Celine Dion. Although she was not selected to advance to the next round, she received positive reviews from two of the three judges.

At Hanford West High School, Lira was the team captain of the volleyball team while graduating with honors and earning class valedictorian honors. She plans to attend college and major in psychology.

Melinda Lira, 19, was born and raised in Hanford, Calif. She began her singing career at the age of five in her local church.

Various Artists "American Idol Season 4" new CD (2005): ORDER IT NOW.

Kem "Album II", Kem "I Can't Stop Loving You" Top 10 in the Charts


Kem "Album II", Kem "I Can't Stop Loving You" Top 10 in the Charts For More Than 5 Weeks in a Row.

Kem, Motown Records' critically acclaimed singer/songwriter has got another hit with the first single "I Can't Stop Loving You," from his forthcoming sophomore album Kem "Album II". In its first official week at radio, "I Can't Stop Loving You," was the No 1 "most added" song at the Urban AC radio format, and is currently No 2 on the Urban AC chart.

The heartfelt song has remained in the Top 10 for more than five weeks in a row, and is one of the "most requested" songs at radio commanding a listening audience of more than 13 million fans.
Kem "Album II" in stores May 17th, is self-produced by the multi-talented singer and is the highly-anticipated follow-up to KEM's, gold-certified album Kemistry. The album spawned the sleeper smash hit "Love Calls," which stayed in the Top 20 on the radio airplay chart for more than a year. USA Today hailed his debut album as a "Motown classic," while Vibe called it "haunting" and "romantic." Kem will be performing songs from both albums when he headlines a 20-city "Find Your Way Tour" featuring American Idol winner Fantasia and singer Rashaan Patterson as opening acts. The tour kicks off in St. Louis, Missouri on June 8th.

Although the Detroit native rose to national attention with his poignant love songs, his personal story is one of victory and triumph: Kem was once homeless, struggling to support himself and his family by waiting tables and singing Top 40 cover songs for weddings. Once he got on his feet, he independently financed and released his first album before signing with Motown Records in 2002.

In addition to the tour dates, fans can catch Kem's performances on The Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise May 29 - June 5 and at the Essence Music Festival (main stage) in New Orleans on July 3rd.

Kem "Album II" new CD: ORDER IT NOW.

Jo Dee Messina "Delicious Surprise" new album, Joe Dee Messina new album


Jo Dee Messina "Delicious Surprise" new album, Joe Dee Messina new album out April 26, 2005 (on Curb Records).

On her fourth studio album, Jo Dee Messina Messina, Country's queen of hope and empowerment, roars back after a four-year hiatus, during which she went public with a stint at rehab and broke off a nine-year relationship with her fiancé.

Those events stand at the center of two of the best ballads on the album ("It Gets Better" and "Sometimes Love Is Just Not Enough"), and please not only because Jo Dee Messina wrote (or cowrote) them from real-life struggles, but because the songs soften the numbing bombast that producers Byron Gallimore and Mark Bright bring to the rest of her repertoire.

The singer--big-voiced Jo Dee Messina, expansive, and as comforting as an old friend--is always a welcome presence on the radio, as she is on the album's first single, the upbeat and attitudinal kiss-off "My Give a Damn's Busted." What she needs is more songs like this that break her out of her usual mold (in addition to the aforementioned tracks that showcase her quieter side) and allow her to deliver a surprise or two. The ones offered here aren't quite as "delicious" as the album title promises, but even the most casual listener senses that Jo Dee Messina has so much spunk and grit that she'll gather them yet, her myopic producers be damned.

Jo Dee Messina "Delicious Surprise" new album tracklisting:
1. Not Going Down
2. Someone Else's Life
3. Delicious Surprise (I Believe It)
4. It Gets Better
5. Who's Crying Now
6. My Give A Damn's Busted
7. It's Too Late To Worry
8. Life Is Good
9. Love Is Not Enough
10. Where Were You
11. I Wear My Life
12. You Were Just Here

Jo Dee Messina "Delicious Surprise" new CD: ORDER IT NOW.

John Prine "Fair and Square" new album, John Prine new album


John Prine "Fair and Square" new album, John Prine new album out April 26, 2005 (on Oh Boy Records).

Good things come to those who wait. During John Prine's nine-year interval between albums of original material, fans who hailed his recovery from cancer wondered whether he'd ever return to full creative speed. Here, John Prine puts doubts to rest with an album that ranks with the finest of an inspired career. The big heart of "Glory of True Love," the socially conscious bite of "Some Humans Ain't Human," the reflective grace of "Taking a Walk," the whimsy of "Crazy as a Loon"--the hallmarks of Prine's artistry are reaffirmed on Fair & Square.

The album also reflects John Prine's first attempt at producing himself, with the warmth of his rough-hewn vocals finding a comfortable fit among the organic, largely acoustic arrangements. Though John Prine penned 12 of the 14 cuts (including two bonus tracks, one recorded in concert), a pair of covers prove revelatory: Blaze Foley's "Clay Pigeons" sounds like it could well be one of Prine's own (with a melody that recalls "Hello in There" and a lyric of renewal that sounds like personal testament), while A.P. Carter's "Bear Creek Blues" carries an electric charge as the traditional song rocks harder than anything else on the album. With a generous selection of close to an hour of music, the album stands as a creative triumph for John Prine, a fully satisfying effort that rewards the patience of his loyal fans.

John Prine takes his own sweet time dancing with his muse -- and truly writes what's in his soul. So if it takes him a little longer to write the songs that capture moments and reveal the gently folded human truths that bind us all together. It's always worth the wait. Now, nearly nine years since the release of his Grammy-nominated "Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings," the iconic American writer has put the finishing touches on his latest offering, appropriately titled, "Fair & Square". "It was just time," says John Prine in his always understated way. "I had a bunch of songs. I'd started recording them, and it turns out, I liked them pretty well. So, now, I get to get them all just the way I like them - and then I get to let them go out to meet the world."

With the occasional wheezing accordion, curlicue electric guitar parts, quick-wristed mandolins, billowing B-3 pads and puddles of pedal steel guitar, the rough-voiced singer/songwriter's first self-produced record is a homey affair that draws generously from the palette of traditional American music -- be it Folk, Bluegrass, shuffles, vintage Rock & Roll, torch, Country -- for an amalgamation that would be at home on any Wurlitzer in a whiskey-soaked tavern with beer signs flickering from age and the walls stained deeper than sepia from the years of constant smoke.

With Bluegrass queen Alison Krauss on the ode to his Irish refuge "My Darlin' Hometown", the street corner desolation of "The Moon Is Down" and alt-country princess Mindy Smith bringing allure and tartness to "Morning Train," "Long Monday" and the melted neon ponder of "Taking A Walk," Fair & Square is the work of a man at ease with his life, secure with his place in the world and willing to share the things that he sees. "It's been a while, so I'm pretty excited," Prine admits with that Oh Boy grin. "And that's a really good place to be."

John Prine "Fair and Square" new CD: ORDER IT NOW.

Amerie "Touch" new album, Amerie new album


Amerie "Touch" new album, Amerie new album is out April 26, 2005 (on Columbia Records/Sony Music).

In 2002 an Army brat and aspiring singer exploded on the charts with a harmonious, innovative debut album entitled All I Have. Girlish, fierce, sexy and sweet, All I Have spawned the smash "Why Don't We Fall In Love" (produced by a then under-the-radar Rich Harrison) and let it be known that the new breed of hip hop/soul's chief practitioner was a 22-year-old, DC beauty named Amerie.

Three years later, with one gold album, two major tours, and one leading role in a major motion picture to her credit, singer/songwriter/actress Amerie is back, hotter and bolder than ever. Working once again with musical partner Harrison, as well as beat makers Dre and Vidal, Lil' Jon, Bryce Wilson, The Buchanans, Bink!, Red Spyda, and solo stars Carl Thomas, Nas, and Eve, Amerie has returned with a collection The New York Times has heralded as " of the year's most anticipated R&B albums. Touch boasts songs that come straight from Amerie's heart and soul."

"My first album was very well received," Amerie offers, "and I was really happy about that, but this time I had even more to say. I wanted to let my fans know more of who I am, as a woman and as an artist.

"Touch is a lot more multi-faceted and reflects where I am right now. After the last album, I toured, I helped develop a TV show, I was in a movie...I learned a lot about myself. I'm in a different place in my life now, and I wanted this album to reflect that. There was definitely a specific vision in mind and I had to carry it out."

And indeed, she has. Executive-producing the project, Amerie spent the last year-and-a-half writing and co-writing songs for her sophomore effort, drawing mostly from the personal experiences she had after the release of her first album. Touch shows off sides of Amerie that fans have been waiting for: More self-assured. More seductive. Able to play the coquette and then, with a knowing smile, rock your world. Open to being loving and supportive but no man's fool.

The album's sensual title track, produced by Lil' Jon, is undulating, urgent, and anchored by exotic instrumentation. Amerie calls it "my femmed out Lil' Jon track because it's got a sweet and sexy vibe but it still has that Jon flavor, and it's tailor-made for me."

Amerie's 2002 debut, "All I Have," found tough guys and urban sophisticates alike tangled up in the question of "Why Don't We Fall in Love?" It spawned a collaboration with Nas, and ignited a cult of cool around black-Korean culture. With her exotic looks and draw-the-shades sound, the smoky-eyed chanteuse came by her frothy fan base fairly. With "Touch", Amerie pulls through for a second exercise in sultry, solid sound. Two tracks on this CD grab hold instantly: "1 Thing" forges its way from an R&B-spiked pop place into rockier territory, and "Touch" taunts Amerie's more amorous disciples with an expert sexiness. Tucked in are Whitney Houston-esque pop pleasers and a collaboration with Carl Thomas, "Can We Go," that feels friendly and unforced; other songs hint at a Mary J. Blige influence that will serve Amerie well as she struts her way toward serious musician status.

Amerie "Touch" new album tracklisting:
1. 1 Thing
2. All I Need
3. Touch
4. Not the Only One
5. Like It Used to Be
6. Talkin' About
7. Come With Me
8. Rolling Down My Face
9. Can We Go
10. Just Like Me

Amerie "Touch" new CD: ORDER IT NOW.

Roy Orbison Would Have Been 69 Years Old on Saturday, April 23rd, Roy Orbison anniversary


Roy Orbison Would Have Been 69 Years Old on Saturday, April 23rd, Roy Orbison anniversary.

Out of the tiny oil town of Wink, in West Texas, he became a worldwide superstar, topping the charts around the planet for four decades. He toured with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Eagles and Patsy Cline, and made a tremendous impact on every single soul that heard his sound. Elvis Presley called Roy "The Greatest singer in the world."

Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas on April 23rd, 1936. He got his first guitar for his 6th birthday, had his own radio show at the age of 8. At the age of 13 he formed his first band, the Wink Westerners, and they became local heroes. By 18 he had his own television show and one of his guests was Johnny Cash, who pointed him to Sun Records, the home to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.

From there he went to Monument Records in Nashville and a tremendous string of hits followed. First came "Uptown," followed by "Only The Lonely," "Blue Angel," "Running Scared," "Crying," "Dream Baby," "In Dreams," "It's Over," and one of the most popular songs of all time, "Oh, Pretty Woman."

In January of 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Later that year, he recorded the archetypal Black & White Night, the Coconut Grove performance featuring artists Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, James Burton, and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few. During that year, Roy was recording two albums at the same time, one with the Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1, and his solo effort, Mystery girl. In December of 1988 Roy passed away and he had two # 1 songs on the charts at that time, "Handle With Care" with the Wilburys and his own, "You Got It."

Roy Orbison received multiple Grammy awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989.

In one of his last interviews he was asked how he wanted to be remembered, and he just replied: "I would just like to be remembered."

We celebrate Roy Orbison's 69th birthday on April 23rd.

Roy Orbison "Black & White Night" new DVD & DVD Audio (live): ORDER IT NOW.

American Idol Finalist Constantine Maroulis feat. on an album, Constantine Maroulis from American Idol show


American Idol Finalist Constantine Maroulis feat. on an album, Constantine Maroulis from American Idol show.

Baby Julius/Koch Records announces the release of "Pray For the Soul of Betty" on May 10th. The New York-based rock band features American Idol favorite Constantine Maroulis on vocals, Joao Joya on guitar, Taylor, C.R. on bass and Hamboussi on drums. Recorded in 2003 and 2004, the album was completed before Constantine Maroulis decided to try out for the popular competition.

Betty, and Joao Joya (guitar), Betty. The band -- which draws influences from Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden and Queens of the Stone Age, sound distinctively like a NYC city band should sound like: intense, raw and powerful. Betty have performed across the nation, everywhere from CBGB's to The Viper Room, and have garnered praise and a legion of fans.

The Boston Globe wrote, "Pray For the Soul of Betty... personifies the kind of young and tattooed look that just means trouble," while The Hartford Courant reviewed a live show, "The group's set... was a mix of visceral indie-rock songs and souped-up tunes with the feel of old-school Black Sabbath."

About signing with Koch, bassist Taylor, C.R. says, "Being with a company as dynamic and independent as Koch is ideal for Pray for the Soul of Betty -- we've always carved our own path, just like Koch has."

General Manager and Executive Vice President of Koch Records Alan Grunblatt states, "Pray For the Soul of Betty is one of the best rock bands I've heard in years. Considering how popular Constantine Maroulis is, we should go gold for sure!"

(Picture L to R: Alan Grunblatt, General Manager and Executive Vice President, KOCH Records; Hamboussi (drums), Pray For The Soul of Betty; Bob Frank, President, KOCH Records, Taylor, C.R. (bass), Betty, and Joao Joya (guitar), Betty)

Various Artists "American Idol Season 4" new CD (2005): ORDER IT NOW.

Robert Plant US Tour, Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation on Tour


Robert Plant US Tour, Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation on Tour.

Robert Plant and his band The Strange Sensation will kick off a major U.S. tour on June 15, 2005, following the release of their highly anticipated new album "Mighty Rearranger," out stateside May 10 on Sanctuary Records.

The album's first single "Shine It All Around" is already a hit at rock radio, and Plant and his band have been in top form on a recent series of U.S. dates. In a four star concert review out this week, Rolling Stone's David Fricke hails "the deep blues in Plant's restlessness, coursing through every exotic flourish."

In the New York Times, Jon Pareles said Robert Plant's performance at SxSW "rivaled the energy of any younger band. It was a perfect triangulation of his three longtime fixations -- American blues, North African rhythms and arabesques, and Celtic modes and ballads -- with his band adding glimmers of modern electronica."

"Mighty Rearranger" is Robert Plant's first collection of primarily original music in 12 years and was written and recorded with his band The Strange Sensation.

Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation US Tour Dates:
06/15 Providence, RI Providence Perf Arts Center
06/17 Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion
06/19 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata
06/21 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theatre
06/22 Philadelphia, PA Tower Theatre
06/24 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
06/26 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
06/27 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
06/29 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
06/30 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park
07/04 Portsmouth, VA Harbor Center
07/06 Toronto, ON Molson Amphitheatre
07/07 Detroit, MI Meadow Brook Music Fest
07/09 Chicago, IL Auditorium Theatre
07/10 Minneapolis, MN Orpheum Theatre
07/12 Denver, CO Universal Lending Pavilion
07/15 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
07/16 Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas Hilton
07/19 San Francisco, CA Paramount Theatre
07/21 San Diego, CA Bayside Concerts
07/23 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl
07/24 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre

Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation "Mighty Rearranger" new CD: ORDER IT NOW.

Diary Of A Mad Black Woman Soundtrack, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman Original Motion Picture


Diary Of A Mad Black Woman Soundtrack, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman Original Motion Picture now out.

Rowdy Entertainment, in a joint venture with Universal Motown Records, is releasing one of the year's most talked-about soundtracks, the accompanying disc to this year's breakthrough movie, Tyler Perry's "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". The uplifting compilation is co-produced by Tyler Perry and acclaimed producer Dallas Austin, and hit stores April 19.

One of the first lead singles from the soundtrack is the soulful and upbeat track, "Purify Me" by the award winning artist, India.Arie. The music video for the song was recently shot in Los Angeles and featured a cameo by the movie's lead actress, Kimberly Elyse. The other lead single is "Things I Collected" by the sultry R&B singer Tamia.

This 12-song CD is a veritable "divas delight" and includes some of the most talented female artists in the industry. The soundtrack features a mesmerizing blend of unforgettable ballads; from Heather Headley's "Ain't It Funny" and Monica's "Sick and Tired," to Natalie Cole's evocative and tender "I Wanna Love Again". Cheryl "Pepsi" Riley does a stellar remake of Joan Osborne's 1995 hit "One of Us". The legendary Patti Labelle delivers another one of her classic performances on "I Wanna Be Free". One of the many spiritual highlights of the album is Tamela Mann's sanctified Gospel track, "Take It To Jesus" and the poignant "Father Can You Hear Me" by Terrell Carter and Tamela.

Writer/producer African-American playwright Tyler Perry was the key motivating and creative force behind the conception of the soundtrack, contributing his writing talents on six of the twelve songs. The collaboration between Tyler Perry and Dallas Austin came about after a mutual friend introduced them at an Atlanta gathering. The film was already slated for release when Perry and Austin began their creative collaboration. The duo's diverse track records in their respective arts was enough to attract interest from acclaimed artists such as Labelle, Cole, and Arie.

Tyler Perry's "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" was the #1 movie at box offices across the country in its opening week this past month, garnering an estimated $22 million in weekend ticket sales.

Lisa Marcos in Lions Gate Films' "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (2005)
(Picture: Lions Gate Films)

"Diary Of A Mad Black Woman" Soundtrack new CD: ORDER IT NOW.

David Pack "Unborn" CD, David Pack's Collection of Unreleased Personal Favorites


David Pack "Unborn" CD, David Pack's Collection of Unreleased Personal Favorites Available Exclusively from Oglio Records April 26, 2005.

Oglio Records is proud to present "Unborn," the latest solo project from the distinctive voice of Ambrosia, David Pack. Along with being the former singer/guitarist/writer for the classic rock group, David Pack has established himself as a respected solo artist, Grammy winning record producer, film composer and music director of special events including both of President Clinton's Inaugurations. His collected works have sold over 30 million units worldwide.

Long time fan and Oglio label President Carl Caprioglio, jumped at the chance to work with David Pack: "I have followed David ever since his days with Ambrosia and feel he's a outstanding songwriter and performer. David will be a nice addition to our catalog of legendary performers including Brian Wilson, Cyndi Lauper and Robbie Krieger."

"Unborn" represents a variety of unreleased, unrefined, rough mixed songs, full of raw emotion. David Pack wrote and recorded the tracks on the collection between 1985 and 1995 but none found a home until now. David Pack's voice and songwriting skills are as fresh and vibrant as ever. Each songs has it's own special story for David Pack: "Songs become like children to us songwriters. In thinking about this collection of tunes, they are like unborn children." The performance is as honest as it gets and these songs are sure to be appreciated by David's loyal fans as well as new fans.

David Pack "Unborn" CD (US edition with bonus track): ORDER IT NOW.