- - Monday, May 21, 2012

Country singer Alan Jackson has raised more than $150,000 to help a Virginia county rebuild schools damaged by last year’s earthquake.

A benefit concert by Mr. Jackson drew 6,000 people to Louisa County on Sunday night. He performed in the parking lot of Louisa County High School, which was closed after the magnitude-5.8 earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011.

Mineral, the town at the quake’s epicenter, won the show in an online voting contest.

Media outlets report that Mr. Jackson told the crowd many of those who voted for Mineral in the contest aren’t from the town. He said that shows people in America take care of each other.

Capitol Records provided about 3,000 free tickets and sold another 3,000.

Stephen Bogart to help save farm where parents married

The oldest child of actors Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is helping to raise money to renovate part of the Ohio farm where the pair married in 1945.

The News Journal in Mansfield reported that Stephen Bogart will make his first visit to nearby Malabar Farm from June 1 through 3. The meet-and-greets and special meals are part of a fundraising campaign to help renovate the mansion on the property.

Malabar Farm administrative director Sybil Burksey said water and flooring problems have left the home in desperate need of repairs. The farm founded by celebrity author Louis Bromfield in 1939 is now part of a state park.

Mr. Bogart said his mother, who turns 88 this year, is happy he’s making the trip to see where his parents’ marriage began.

Tim McGraw recording new music on new label

Tim McGraw has chosen a new record label run by an old friend.

The country music superstar has signed a multi-album deal with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records, officially ending his acrimonious relationship with his only previous label, Curb Records.

Mr. McGraw made the announcement Monday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s the start of the second phase of one of country music’s most successful careers, and Mr. McGraw said he hopes he can regain some of the momentum he lost while fighting to end his “lifetime” contract with Curb Records. Though the two sides remain locked in a legal dispute, a judge last year freed Mr. McGraw to begin recording for a new label.

Mr. McGraw said in an earlier interview with the Associated Press that he and Mr. Borchetta sealed the deal May 9 at the Greyhound bus station in Nashville, marking the anniversary of Mr. McGraw’s arrival in Music City with a guitar in one hand and a suitcase in the other.

“So 23 years after I arrived to town, I’m sort of in the kickoff phase of my new career,” Mr. McGraw said.

Mr. McGraw enters that second phase as one of country music’s leading men. The heartthrob in the black hat, the 45-year-old has reigned on the charts and in album sales for years and remains a force in the genre despite what he considered shenanigans by his longtime record label. He accused Curb of trying to prolong the length of his contract by releasing a string of greatest hits packages that frustrated fans and artist alike.

He has been recording new music and said he hopes to release a “landmark” album late this year or early in 2013 “that’s just going to sort of turn the knob over to 11.”

“I feel like that I’m at a point now in my career I think there’s more ahead of me than behind me,” Mr. McGraw said. “It’s time for me to look forward. It’s time for me to look at my new partner in the business of making records and radio, and just sort of step on the gas. I think I’m at a great spot in my career and there’s nothing but great things ahead of me.”

Free e-book previews fall’s expected hot books

Summer is weeks away, but the fall book season has already started.

“Buzz Books 2012” is a free e-book that came out Monday and features excerpts from 33 upcoming works, including Neil Young’s memoir, fiction by Dennis Lehane and Junot Diaz, and a young adult novel by David Levithan.

“Buzz Books 2012” was compiled and released by Publishers Lunch, an influential online industry newsletter. The book’s title refers to the “Buzz Books” panel at publishing’s annual convention, BookExpo America, when editors discuss anticipated titles for the fall. This year’s BookExpo takes place in early June.

Others works excerpted in the new e-book include fiction by Mark Helprin and Barbara Kingsolver, a memoir by Rhoda Janzen, and a debut novel by J.R. Moehringer, author of the best-selling memoir “The Tender Bar.”

Compiled from Web and wire reports