Sunday October 16th, 2005                                                 


New CD's this past week:

- Alicia Keys - MTV Unplugged
- Don-E - Try this (UK release)

Music news headlines this week:


New Anthony Hamilton Album Due In December

Soul vocalist Anthony Hamilton will return Dec. 6 with his next So So
Def/Zomba album, "Ain't Nobody Worryin'." The set is tipped to feature
tracks like the title song, "Where Did It Go Wrong?," "Sista Big Bones,"
"Never Love Again" and "I Know What Love Is All About." Production was
supplied by previous collaborator Mark Batson, Raphael Saadiq, Ced Solo
and Kelvin Wooten, among others.
Hamilton expects the song "Preacher's Daughter" to raise eyebrows. "There
are some preachers who are so busy being high and mighty that they
sometimes forget their own households and what's going on with their own
daughters right under their noses -- so the song is like a 'wake up call'
for a lot of preachers," he says.
"Ain't Nobody Worryin'" is the follow-up to Hamilton's 2003 breakthrough,
"Comin' From Where I'm From," which has sold 1.2 million copies in the
United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It earned him a Grammy
nomination for best male R&B vocal performance.
"I didn't approach doing this new record with the intention of outdoing
the last album," Hamilton says. "I wanted it to have the same amount of
quality, putting raw emotions and experiences to music, you know,
re-living as much as possible what I've been through in the past few years
of being out there, being on the road, singing songs that keep the
listeners interested."
Interest in Hamilton prompted Rhino's June re-release of his previously
unissued debut album, "Soulife," which was shelved after the label of the
same name folded due to financial difficulties.


Ronald Isley On Trial For Tax Evasion

Ronald Isley, lead singer of legendary R&B band the Isley Brothers, went
on trial on wednesday (Oct. 12) in Los Angeles on tax evasion charges that
could result in a prison sentence of up to 26 years if convicted.
Isley, 64, who emerged from bankruptcy in the early 1990s, is accused of
demanding fees in cash for his tour dates, making it difficult to
determine how much of his upfront tour fees were used for expenses and how
much was profit.
He is also accused of using for his own benefit royalty checks issued to
other Isley Brothers-related enterprises and people, including his brother
O'Kelly, who died in 1986.
Prosecutors say he used the funds to buy a yacht and two mansions in
Missouri. Isley has pleaded not guilty to five counts of tax evasion and
one count of failing to file a tax return. No figure has been given for
the amount of alleged tax evasion.
The main prosecution witness is Isley's former tour manager, Ruby Martin,
who worked with the singer for eight years and who is testifying under
immunity from charges that she did not file her own income taxes on time
for four years.
The Isley Brothers enjoyed their biggest success in the 1960s and 1970s
with hits like "This Old Heart of Mine" and "Who's That Lady." Members
came and went but in 1990 Ronald and younger brothers Ernie and Marvin
reunited and produced several new albums.

Ginuwine Thinking About "Love"

R&B star Ginuwine will release a new album, "Back II Da Basics," Nov. 15
via Epic. First single "When We Make Love" debuted last week at No. 61 on
Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and can also be streamed from the
artist's official Web site.
"Back II Da Basics" features production from Jazze Pha, Trackmasters, the
Underdogs and Troy Oliver, among others. Its DualDisc version will boast
"day in the life" footage on its DVD side.
The album is the follow-up to 2003's "The Senior," which debuted at No. 6
on The Billboard 200 and has sold 862,000 copies in the United States,
according to Nielsen SoundScan. It spawned the R&B/Hip-Hop chart hits "In
Those Jeans" (No. 3) and "Love You More" (No. 28).
Ginuwine will appear as a presenter at this year's American Music Awards,
to be held Nov. 22 and broadcast on ABC.


Kelly Rowland Up For Another Horror Film

Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child is planning her next move in the wake of
the group's friendly split this year. Rowland, whose first big screen role
was the 2003 fright flick Freddy Vs. Jason, wants to continue acting as
well as singing, and told LAUNCH she'd be open to doing more horror: "I
would love to do another horror film. For me, I'm such a little scaredy
cat -- even when I was, like, scrolling through my channels the other day,
I flipped past Freddy Vs. Jason and I couldn't even watch it because I'm
Destiny's Child will release a hits collection called #1s (Number Ones) on
October 25th. It will include three new songs, including the single,
"Stand Up For Love (2005 World Children's Day Anthem)," and "Check On It,"
from the soundtrack to the forthcoming The Pink Panther, which features
group member Beyonce.
The trio will also release a #1s DVD. It will include a trailer for
Destiny's Child -- Live In Atlanta, a concert DVD from the group's
farewell tour that will be released in 2006.


Legend Adds More US Tour Dates

John Legend continues his extensive road work in support of his debut
album “Get Lifted” with an Eastern U.S. tour that will keep him in hotels
through the end of November. The singer began the year supporting Alicia
Keys on her North American dates, and followed that excursion with tours
of Europe and Japan. His new swing through the East Coast begins Oct. 21
in Trenton, NJ and wraps three days after Thanksgiving at Toronto,
Ontario’s Massey Hall.


Producer & Singer Billy Griffin Working On New Album

Producer, vocal arranger and former lead singer for the Miracles, Billy
Griffin, was recently signed to RNB Entertainment Group and will
soon release his new album “Like Water”.
Under the representation of RNB Entertainment Group, Billy will release
his first solo album in 10 years entitled Like Water. It includes twelve
soul rockin' tracks, with a smooth jazz and R&B feel that fans haven't
seen in a while. This timeless album is sure to be a hit, with his first
single "Like Water" leading the way. "'Like Water' is from the standpoint
of a man who has everything, except the love of a woman … which he needs
'like water'. So all these songs are written for women, but men -
especially mature men - will instantly relate," says Billy.
Billy continues to work in the music industry, and over the past three
years his music was heard in such films as "Chicken Run", "BAPS", "Donnie
Brasco", "BeBe's Kids", as well as FOX TV's "Ally McBeal" and NBC's
"Friends". In the past, he has done a series of revival albums for former
Motown artists with British producer Ian Levine, which resulted in the
Internet release of The Best of Billy Griffin. He and Levine also worked
with British boy band "Take That" and British soul group "The Pasadenas".
Billy has provided vocals to various projects, including jazz saxophonist
Gerald Albright's sumptuous "And You Don't Even Know".
Billy is known worldwide for his unprecedented popularity as the lead
vocalist for the Miracles in the 70's, following the departure of Smokey
Robinson. He initially began his solo career in 1982, with the release of
“Be With Me” on Columbia Records. The hit single "Hold Me Tighter in the
Rain" was a smash in Europe and was one of the best dance singles of the
year. Next to follow was “Respect”, with the wildly successful single
"Serious." Then, teaming up with Leon Ware, he recorded the critically
acclaimed “Sytematic”, which again won over fans.


Will Downing Balances R&B And Jazz With Ease

Vocalist Will Downing is one of those rare artists with fans in both
smooth jazz and R&B circles. His brand new album, Soul Symphony, contains
both contemporary soul and jazz grooves. While he says he doesn't think
about making music that specifically courts one style or the other, he
admits that working with producers who add elements of various genres
keeps things challenging for him as an artist.
Downing adds that even jazz or gospel elements in the arrangements make
the music more interesting for him as well as the audience: "I hate things
to be boring. So I think that's where the jazz elements kind of kick into
the music. We may come up with an R&B kind of a groove and all of a sudden
from a chordal standpoint, there's certain things that are just a lot more
fun to sing over than others. "
He adds that the public's natural affinity for categorizing what they hear
can cause some issues, but Downing says that his fans know exactly what
they're getting: "That's when the confusing part comes into most folks'
ears. They kinda go: 'I mean, it's not R&B because he's got this in there.
All of a sudden, there's a sax solo or there's a ... you know, a trumpet
solo, or ....' It's like, that's what music is. It's supposed to be fun
like that. And fortunately I've been able to sell records based on that
kind of 'warped' theory all these years."


Alicia Keys Gets “Unplugged” On New Album

Alicia Keys stripped down last week (Tuesday, October 11th) with the release of
MTV Unplugged, taken from a performance filmed on July 14th at the
Brooklyn Academy of Music. The album features two new songs -- the single
"Unbreakable" and "Stolen Moments" -- as well as guest appearances by Mos
Def, Common, Damian Marley, and Maroon5's Adam Levine. Keys said
that she has a particular affinity for playing these special, small-scale
shows: "It's just incredible for me to play those small, intimate places,
and I can see everybody from the front to the back and I can breathe the
energy in the room and I just spontaneously take that and make it whatever
the show is gonna be that night."
Keys' MTV Unplugged is available as a separate CD and DVD as well as a
CD/DVD combination package. The album is also being released on vinyl.
Keys is working on new songs for her next album, which she hopes to
release in 2006.


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