GRAMMY UP FOR GRABS
Nominations for the the 45th annual Grammy Awards are among the most evenly distributed in the history of the music industry awards ceremony. Eight artists representing a variety of styles received five nominations, including Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones, Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow, Eminem, Nelly, Ashanti and Raphael Saadiq. The Awards will be televised Wednesday, Feb. 23, from Madison Square Garden in New York. The event has been held in Los Angeles since 1998 after then-New York Mayor Guiliani became involved in a dispute with Grammy officials.
The Dixie Chicks, Vanessa Carlton and Alan Jackson also received multiple nominations. Two-time Grammy winner Delbert McClinton stands a good chance of collecting another. His album "Room To Breathe" (New West Records) was nominated for "Best Contemporary Blues Album." McClinton will celebrate the nomination during the eighth annual "Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Tour" (delbert.com) from Jan. 11-18, featuring a compendium of legendary country, blues, Americana and rock musicians.
DIDDY'S NEW DEAL
The New York Post reports Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy, is close to cutting a deal with Warner Music's Elektra Entertainment Group for his Bad Boy record label. The Post reports Combs is settling for much less than the $100 million he wanted for the label after leaving Arista Records last year, quoting a source that put the figure closer to $10 million. Combs parted ways with Arista last June after a 10-year run, but the falling fortunes of the record industry put a damper on his label's marketability. The label since has lost several artists, including Faith Evans, who signed with Arista; Jamal "Shyne" Barrow, who is in prison; 112, now on Def Soul, a division of Island Def Jam; and Mace, who quit rapping to become a Baptist minister.
ALL GOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Walther Productions has announced initial details about this year's All Good Music Festival and Campout, the seventh renewal of this popular music event. The festival is scheduled for May 15-18 at Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, W.Va. Walther Productions introduced this site last year with two other festivals -- the moe. or les festival and the Summer of Love... 35 Years Later festival -- which combined to attract thousands of festival-goers to the panoramic, 643-acre setting.
Masontown, located in the wooded, rolling hills of West Virginia, is 10 miles southeast of Morgantown. A complete artist lineup for the 7th Annual All Good Music Festival and Campout will be announced later this month and a limited number of early bird tickets will be made available.
BLAND'S BLUES AT MIDNIGHT
Legendary blues singer Bobby Blue Bland sets a March 11 release for his latest offering, "Blues At Midnight." The album is his 12th release for Malaco Records, capping a career that has spanned 50-plus years, 60 releases, more than 50 Top Ten singles -- in formats ranging from 78s to CDs. He also is the recipient of such honors as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1997), a Blues Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award (1998) and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992).
Not bad for this child of Depression-era poverty whose most predictable career path would've led straight to the cotton fields. But his voice, and a valuable driver's license, opened doors at a time when many could sing but few could sing and drive, as Bobby did for his fellow Beale Street members, including Johnny Ace, Earl Forest and, eventually, B.B. King.
Gigs with King opened the door to Bland's own, unparalleled solo career. "Blues At Midnight" is classic Bobby Blue Bland, with Bobby delivering songs from Malaco veteran writers George Jackson ("I Caught The Blues From Someone Else"), Larry Addison ("My Sunday's Comin' Soon," "The Only Thing Missin' Is You," "Ghetto Nights"), Rue Davis ("I've Got The Blues At Midnight"), and Sam Mosley and Bob Johnson ("Baby What's Wrong With You," "You Hit The Nail On The Head"). Frederick Knight's "Where Do I Go From Here" gets the disc off to a roaring start, and a remake of Z.Z. Hill's "I'm A Blues Man" tells its story as if it was Bland's autobiography.
FUEL WARMING UP
Fuel is back in the studio recording the follow-up to the double-platinum album, "Something Like Human." Michael Beinhorn (Korn, Hole, Red Hot Chili Peppers) is producing the new album. The band also has written and recorded the lead single, "Won't Back Down," for the upcoming 20th Century Fox film and soundtrack, "Daredevil," starring Ben Affleck, due out in February.