<p>Tim McGraw and Faith Hill</p>

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

Credit: AP Photo

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw set for limited engagement in Las Vegas

Slate of 40 shows begins in December

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw join Garth Brooks, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Celine Dion  as the latest artists with Las Vegas residencies.

The married country superstars will start a limited engagement that will span 10 weekends between Dec. 7 and the end of April 2013 at The Venetian. They will perform four shows each weekend. Tickets, which go on sale to their fan clubs Aug. 8 and to the general public Aug. 13, span from $95.50 to $295.50, including all fees.

In a press conference attended by Hitfix and held at the 1,815-seat Venetian Theater, the site of where they will perform, Hill and McGraw stressed that the Soul2Soul show will be unlike anything their fans have seen from them before and very different from the three previous editions of the Soul2Soul outings that last sold out arenas in 2006.

“The Soul2Soul tours that we’ve done have been some of the most memorable experiences for all of us and we’ve really had an amazing time together,” Hill said. “This feels like it’s one of those moments in time. We’re going to create an amazing show and have a great time and then it will be gone...We’ll certainly give the fans what they want, but this affords us the opportunity to be creative in a way that we haven’t been before.”

McGraw, who is on a stadium tour with Kenny Chesney this summer,  said that the show will be more integrated than past Soul2Soul concerts for the multiple Grammy winners. “This show is all about us together,” he said. “We’re in the process of building the show now. The production will be very cutting edge...in this intimate setting, there are things we can do that you can’t do in a different show in a different place each night.”

The couple, who married in 1996, displayed an easy-going chemistry together during the announcement. Hill, dressed in a short black dress, asked reporters to tell her if she needed to sit differently to avoid revealing too much leg. “It’s not that kind of show,” she quipped. McGraw quickly replied, “There’s plenty of those in Vegas.”

Hill noted that the Venetian offered the pair a way to play the shows that didn’t disrupt their children’s school schedules. “This was an opportunity we’d never considered,” she said. “The Venetian is so gracious in working around out schedule. That’s the only way I’ll do anything with three daughters.”

Hill added that she has finished her new album for Warner Bros., her first studio album since 2005’s “Fireflies.” No release date has been set. McGraw is recording his first album for Big Machine Records after leaving Curb Records.

Fellow country star Shania Twain is also slated to start a residency in Las Vegas in December at Caesars Palace.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: AP Photo

Is Taylor Swift about to announce her new album?

Singer plans webchat with fans for Aug. 13

So it looks like we’re about to get a new Taylor Swift album for the fall. Swift, whose last set, “Speak Now,”  came out in October 2010, will host a live webcast on Youtube on Aug. 13.

Swift’s three albums have come out like clockwork two years apart and fans know she’s been working on new material for a studio album in between her acting gigs in “The Lorax” and writing and recording songs for “The Hunger Games.”  The big question is what will the sound be like? Will it be more like the stripped down, haunted quality of “Safe & Sound,” her duet with The Civil Wars from “Games” or will the music be more pop country?  Will there be a song about her rumored new boyfriend, Conor Kennedy? Regardless, that sound you hear is retailers screaming with joy that she’s back.

Think we might not be right about a fall album? Her eponymous debut came out Oct. 24, 2006, “Fearless” came out Nov. 11, 2008 and “Speak Now” came out Oct. 25, 2010... Typically, she’s released the first single two months before the album’s release, so that means a new single is coming. Plus, she’s performing at Clear Channel’s “I Heart Radio” conference in Las Vegas Sept. 21-22, so she’s going to want the new song out by then.

“Speak Now” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 1 million copies in its first week, making it only the 16th album in chart history to surpass the million make in a single week.

The Live Webcast will take place 7 p.m EDT/4 p.m. PDT. She’ll take questions from fans around the world. We’ll be blogging it live for you as well.


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<p>Winston Marshall</p>

Winston Marshall

Interview: Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall talks Gentlemen of the Road fests

Catch one of the three remaining festivals

Planning a festival takes a lot of work. That’s the assessment of Mumford & Sons’ multi-instrumentalist Winston Marshall.

Like Metallica, who launched the Orion Festival in June, and Jay-Z, who is curating Made In America over Labor Day weekend, M&S debuted its own day-long, multi-artist festivals this summer.

Before its first U.S. festival took place this weekend in Portland, Maine, M&S hosted events in Huddersfield, England and in Galway, Ireland. Coming up are stopovers in Bristol, Va. (Aug. 11), Dixon, Ill. (Aug. 18), and Monterey, Calif. (Aug. 25).  Among the acts playing one or more gig alongside M&S, who is headlining each date, are Dawes, Abigail Washburn, Grouplove, Gogol Bordello, Justin Townes Earle and more.

“The biggest thing we learned is that it takes a lot more than four people to put on a festival,” Marshall says, in an interview that took place before the Portland festival. He jokes that the band, which has played a number of festivals, will never take what it puts to put one on for granted. “There’s so many different departments, there’s food, how it looks, so much technical stuff. I could write a thesis on it,” Marshall says.

The group has learned to prioritize. “We had lots of ideas that we thought would be perfect and then you get to the point where you [realize how] expensive it is,” he says. “You have a dream, then clever people watching the costs come down with reality. You have to compromise.”

M&S decided to start the festivals because their experiences had been so enjoyable in playing a number of similar events. “These are small enough that it feels like there’s a community,” Marshall says. “We love playing massive festivals in America... Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Coachella...they’re amazing, but our favorite festivals have been smaller, where you can building up a relationship.”

The idea expanded to selecting cities where the band could keep it all local, from the beer poured to the food served.

When it came to selecting the talent for the four U.S. stopovers, M&S picked many acts that they had already played with at other festivals. “Then there are a couple of them that we haven’t played with but we’re massive fans of,” Marshall says. “I’m a massive Jeff the Brotherhood fan. I’ve met, but not played with, St. Vincent. And Haim, [M&S’s] Ben [Lovett] fucking loves them.”

The group wanted the line-up to feature acts who were  “like-minded, not necessarily like-sounding,” Marshall says. “Jeff the Brotherhood sounds pretty different from Abigail Washburn. They’re a completely different kettle of fish.”

The idea, Marshall says, is to foster such a sense of bonhomie backstage that it spills over onstage. “If all the bands are having a good time, if everyone’s hamming backstage, everyone’s going to be excited about being there.”

Ideally, Marshall says M&S would like to expand to more cities, but that’s on the backburner. “This has been such a massive project, we can’t think into the future,” he says.

According to Rolling Stone, the Portland festival went off without a hitch and was “Portland’s biggest musical event in years,” drawing a sold-out crowd of 15,000. The group spent the weekend in the area, even going out on a boat with local fishermen.  During their festival-closing set, M&S played “Lover’s Eyes,” “I Will Wait,” and “Lover of the Light,” as well as a number of other songs from its next album, “Babel,” which comes out Sept. 25.

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<p>Lady Gaga and her new tattoo</p>

Lady Gaga and her new tattoo

Lady Gaga confirms her album title, but what does it mean?

Hold off on getting the tattoo just yet

Lady Gaga confirmed via Twitter that “ARTPOP” will be the title of her new album and, guess what, Little Monsters? It’s an acronym. It stands for “Artistic Revolution Through the Potential of Pop.” Wait, shouldn’t that really be ARTTPOP? We kid....And we’re not sure if that last part is  official. Someone with the Twitter handle Marc/Lady Gaga tweeted the explanation and Lady Gaga retweeted it.

Seriously, Lady Gaga had already admonishes us via Twitter: “Make sure when writing about my new album/project ARTPOP that you CAPITALIZE the title, ‘it’s all in the details.’”

The fact that it may be an acronym is the only part that even remotely makes the pretentious move of insisting that the album title be written in all caps barely tolerable.  We are Team Gaga, but this is way too precious. If the music is half as precious, which we bet it won’t be, there could be trouble. Hey, at least it’s easier to pronounce than “MDNA...” We're just saying....

As we reported earlier, last week, Gaga tweeted a photo of herself with a new tattoo of the word ARTPOP on the underside of her arm, and, yes, it is all in caps.   Gaga Daily, a fansite devoted to all things LG, posted several days ago that Lady Gaga’s  fourth studio album will comes out before Spring 2013, with the first single arriving before year’s end.

Lady Gaga had other news today: she announced the first dates in her fall Latin America run, which will start in Mexico City on Oct. 26.  The remaining dates are here.


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<p>Zach Galifianakis' animated visage in &quot;Outta My System&quot;</p>

Zach Galifianakis' animated visage in "Outta My System"

Watch: Zach Galifianakis in My Morning Jacket's new video for 'Outta My System'

The wizard will see you now

He doesn’t utter a word and he doesn’t even appear in real life, but Zach Galifianakis threatens to steal the show in My Morning Jacket’s new music video for “Outta My System.”

The James Frost-directed clip for the song, which is a lilting, wistful reflection on growing up and getting the wild living out of your system before settling down...or not, opens with lead singer Jim James walking in very furry boots and his cape (YAY! Long live the cape), walking down a desolate road. He jumps down a rabbit hole and turns into a one-eyed cartoon. The rest of his band, also now Cyclops themselves, show up, they jump into a flying car and go on a colorful, “Yellow Submarine” type journey. Overseeing it all is a cartoon image of Galifianakis as a wizard of sorts, who shoots lightning bolts out of his fingers. Of course, as it has in other clips, the freaky green eye from the cover of "Circuital" makes an appearance.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Bruce Stringsteen</p>

Bruce Stringsteen

Credit: AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Viena Kytojoki

Music Power Rankings: Lollapalooza, Carly Rae Jepsen, Rihanna and more

Plus, Bruce Springsteen's 4-hour concert lands him on the list

1. Lollapalooza: The father of festivals kicked off its latest edition Aug. 3 with a veritable color wheel of acts ranging from Black Sabbath to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Jack White.

2. Bruce Springsteen: The Boss and the E Street Band play a 4:06 hour show in Helsinski. It’s the longest recorded show in his 40-year career. And no one thought to pull the plug. Take that London. And, by the way, Springsteen’s 62.

3. Drake and Rihanna: The two land the most nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards. Should we all start the betting now on whether Drake and Chris Brown get into a brawl on the show or at an after party?

4. Carly Rae Jepsen: This summer’s It Girl spends another week at No. 1 atop the Billboard Hot 100, as “Call Me Maybe” ties with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” for the most weeks at No. 1 this year.

5. Phillip Phillips: The 2012 “American Idol” winner Philip Phillips sees sales of his first single, “Home,” surge after it was adopted by NBC as the theme for the women’s gymnastics team. And he didn’t even have to hop on a balance beam.

6. Mariah Carey:
Mimi is back in a big way. After announcing her role as a judge on “American Idol” next season last week, she releases her first single in a a more than two years, the hopefully prophetically named “Triumphant (Get ‘Em)” featuring Rick Ross and Meek Mill.

7. John Legend: His production company signs a deal with Universal Cable Production to develop TV series. Get Lifted indeed.

8. The Rolling Stones: They’ll gather moss at HBO when a documentary commemorating their 50th anniversary airs.

9. Bob Dylan: Rock’s equivalent of the Bard announces his new studio album, appropriately enough, titled “Tempest.”

10. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood:
The two buddies sign up to host the CMA Awards together for the fifth time. Same time, next year.


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<p>The cover of Rick Ross' &quot;God Forgives... I Don't&quot;</p>

The cover of Rick Ross' "God Forgives... I Don't"

Rick Ross to have heavenly bow on the Billboard 200 with 'God Forgives, I Don't'

Justin Bieber, Zac Brown Band and others are top 5

Rick Ross’s “God Forgives, I Don’t”  will have a heavenly opening week as the rapper’s album is set to sell up to 220,000 copies its first week. That will handily land the title at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as it sells five times as many copies as Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged,” which will drop from No. 1 to No. 2.

Justin Bieber’s “Believe” will likely be No. 3.  With two days left before the chart closes, Nas’s “Life is Good,” One Direction’s “Up All Night” and Kidz Bop Kids’ “Kidz Bop 22” are all vying for the No. 4 spot, with each selling between 30,000-35,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double.

Adele’s “21” will sell around 27,000 copies for No. 7. Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” and Joss Stone’s “The Soul Sessions Vol 2,” the only other new title on the chart besides Ross, are tied for No. 8. Coming in at No. 10 will likely be Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange,” although Gloriana’s “A Thousand Miles Left Behind” may bow at No. 10 and push Ocean to No. 11.


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Credit: AP Photo

Report: Beyonce shopping around a documentary about her life

She also serves as the director of the nonfiction film

She’s only 30 and yet her life is already ripe for a film about... her life. Yes, we’re talking about Beyonce.

The music icon/actress/wife/mom has been shopping around a film about herself to Hollywood studios, according to the Los Angeles Times. Beyonce stars in the documentary and is the director.

The film combines concert footage and interviews. As the LA Times notes, we’ve already gotten a taste of what a non-fiction film about her life would look like via “Beyonce: Year of 4,” a short film about the making of her album “4” and the year off preceding it, which aired on MTV last year.

Should Beyonce’s documentary come to the big screen, she is following in the recent footsteps of fellow pop stars, Katy Perry (whose “Part of Me” is in theaters now), Justin Bieber, the Jonas Bros. and Miley Cyrus, all of whom have brought their lives in concert to theaters within the last few years.

Representatives from Beyonce’s agency, ICM, did not respond a request for comment from the Times.


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<p>&nbsp;Mariah Carey</p>

 Mariah Carey

Credit: AP Photo

Mariah Carey's 'Triumphant' single drops today; hear a snippet now

When can you hear the song in full?

Set your clocks: The full version of Mariah Carey’s new single, “Triumphant (“Get ‘Em),” will arrive, trumpets blaring, no doubt, at 3:45 EDT on her website, www.mariahcarey.com. In the meantime, hear a snippet below.

Her first single in two years, features Rick Ross and Meek Mill, and will be the first release from her 14th studio album, which will come out...well, the label doesn’t really know. According to a press release, more news about the album “will be announced in the months ahead.”

[More after the jump...]

Carey wrote “Triumphant,”  “when I was going through a difficult time and it helped me get through it,” she tweeted, asking that her fans pay special attention “2 the lyrics #win.” Other writers on the song include Jermaine Dupri, Brian Michael Cox, William Roberts, and Robert Williams, according to showbiz411.  From the snippet below, all we know is it talks about going to the mountaintop.

A number of dance remixes are forthcoming.

The news of the new single comes a week after “the earth-shaking announcement,” (yes, her label actually describes it as such) that that Grammy winner is joining “American Idol” as a judge for the 2013 season.


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<p>Zac Brown</p>

Zac Brown

Credit: Cole Cassell

Zac Brown Band's Southern Ground Festivals include Avett Bros., Grace Potter and more

Group-curated fest expands to two cities

The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Gregg Allman and The Lumineers are among the artists who will join Zac Brown Band for ZBB’s  two Southern Ground Music & Food Festivals this fall.

After bowing last year in Charleston, the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival will expand to Nashville this year. ZBB headlines each night at the events.

The line-up for the Sept. 21-22 Nashville fest, which will be held at Riverfront Park, is Amos Lee, David Gray, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Lumineers and Los Lonely Boys, among others.

Top names for the Charleston fest, which will be held Oct. 20-21 at Blackbaud Stadium, include The Avett Bros., Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, The Charlie Daniels Band and The Wailers.

In addition to ZBB, both festivals will feature Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jerry Douglas, and Southern Ground artists Sonia Leigh, Nic Cowan and Blackberry Smoke. Southern Ground is ZBB’s label.

As the name connotes, the emphasis is also on the food, with chefs from around the globe working with Southern Ground executive chef Rusty Hamlin. Among the ticketing options are Front Porch Stage Boxes, which allows patrons to sit on stage, enjoying a four-course gourmet meal, just feet away from the performers. Prices start at $325/seat.

Non-VIP tickets are priced for as little as $89 for a two-day early bird ticket.  For more information, go to www.southerngroundfestival.com

In an interview I did earlier with Brown for the Los Angeles Times, he told me the guiding principal behind planning the line-up and festivities: “What would I want to have if I was at a festival?’,” Brown said. “I’d want to have amazing food and drink and see an eclectic group of artists play. Too much of any one kind of music for six hours in a row is going to wear people out.” Brown added that ultimately, he'd like to expand the festivals to 10 cities.

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