- - Monday, October 31, 2011

New Winehouse album set for December release

A new album of recordings by the late soul singer Amy Winehouse will be released in December, Island Records said Monday.

According to the Associated Press, “Lioness: Hidden Treasures” will contain 12 songs — previously unreleased tracks, alternative versions of existing hits and brand new songs — recorded by the beehive-wearing singer who died at her London home on July 23.

The label said Winehouse’s longtime musical partners Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi had spent time since her death listening to recordings of the singer, who many said never sang or played a song the same way twice.

Island Records said the duo quickly realized that they had “a collection of songs that deserved to be heard, a collection of songs that were a fitting testament to Amy the artist and, as importantly, Amy their friend.”

The album — Winehouse’s third after “Frank” and “Back to Black” — will be released on Dec. 5. Mr. Ronson and Mr. Remi compiled the tracks in collaboration with Winehouse’s family, management and the label.

Winehouse’s final studio recording — a cover of “Body & Soul” sung with Tony Bennett — will be included in the album.

McCartney to help restore 1877 Steinway piano

During a summer visit to a Motown recording studio, former Beatle Paul McCartney wanted to run his fingers along an 1877 Steinway grand piano played by some Detroit music greats he considers idols.

“He was disappointed when we told him it didn’t play,” Motown Historical Museum chief executive Audley Smith Jr. told the Detroit News.

Undaunted, the legendary rock and roller from England told museum officials after a July concert at Comerica Park that he wanted to help restore it, according to the Associated Press.

On Monday, the piano was to be picked up from the Detroit museum and shipped to Steinway & Sons in New York for restoration. The work is expected to take up to five months.

The piano company has to assess the piano’s condition before a cost can be determined.

“Steinway & Sons is honored to restore the historic Steinway piano that was used by such legends as Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder — and to do so in the very same New York factory where it was originally built in 1877,” Steinway & Sons President of Americas Ron Losby told the newspaper in a statement.

Journey’s Perry quashes fans’ hopes for reunion

The resurgence of Journey and the band’s hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” may have given fans hope of a reunion, but former lead singer Steve Perry says that’s probably not going to happen.

“It’s like any emotional, committed relationship. At some point, they seem to all have a shelf life and bands are no exception,” he said. “Life has moved us all on in different places in our lives.

“They’re doing what they’re doing — they have been since ‘98. And I’ve been doing what I’m doing, which is living my life and having a personal life.”

Mr. Perry, who rarely does detailed interviews, spoke to the Associated Press by phone last week, ahead of Tuesday’s release of Journey’s “Greatest Hits Vol. 2” and the remastered version of Mr. Perry’s 1984 solo album, “Street Talk,” which included the No. 1 hit “Oh Sherrie” and the ballad “Foolish Heart.”

His former band mates have continued on since Mr. Perry’s departure 13 years ago, performing as Journey with a new lead singer, Arnel Pineda. Mr. Pineda sounds like Mr. Perry, who was once ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as No. 76 of the greatest 100 singers of all time.

Thirty years after its release, Journey’s most memorable hit — “Don’t Stop Believin’” — manages to keep getting rediscovered in new contexts. The song, which Mr. Perry wrote with Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neil Schon, has shown up in the Broadway show “Rock of Ages” (which Mr. Perry said he hasn’t seen), the cut-to-black finale of “The Sopranos” and the movie “Monster,” for which Charlize Theron won an Oscar for best actress. Most recently, it appears in Brad Pitt’s “Moneyball.”

But it probably has reached its youngest audience through the hit TV show “Glee,” which has featured other Journey hits.

Brad Paisley’s book a way to answer fans’ questions

A book really wasn’t on Brad Paisley’s bucket list. Too many songs to write and licks to play.

Over time, though, the country music star learned that having millions of fans means millions of questions, and a book offered a way to let everyone know about the important people, moments and lessons he’s learned since his grandfather gave him his first guitar.

“And now I get to say, ‘It’s in the book,’ and that’s fun for me,” Mr. Paisley said. “As well as the fact that this was meant to inspire. It’s not a book that’s meant to say, ‘Careful. This is a rough road.’ This is more like, you find that thing, whether it’s a guitar or a paint brush or a tape recorder. I don’t know what it is. Whatever you’re good at milking — a cow — go do that. If you’re great at something, all these doors will open. And I believe that.”

“Diary of a Player,” co-written with David Wild, is a breezy primer on the dots Mr. Paisley connected while putting together his run from small-town West Virginia to big-time Nashville.

Along the way readers meet his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, the man who gave Mr. Paisley his love for guitar, whether he wanted it or not. And there’s Hank Goddard, his first real guitar teacher, and the band of first-class older musicians assembled for an 11-year-old frontman. Mr. Paisley visits his inspirations, tells the story of meeting his wife and thanks Garth Brooks for making him cool.

America Ferrera to star in ‘Chicago’ in London

“Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera said she’s “very excited” about her upcoming West End debut as the showgirl Roxie in “Chicago.”

According to the Associated Press, the American actress will embark on an eight-week stint at the Garrick Theatre beginning Monday.

At a news conference, the former TV star said performing on the London stage is something she’s “dreamed” about since childhood. And the glamorous Roxie is a far cry from TV’s Betty, which required Miss Ferrera to wear dental braces and thick fake eyebrows.

The 27-year-old Miss Ferrera joins a long list of U.S. celebrities — including model Christie Brinkley — who have played Roxie in London.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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