Country Beat: Faith Hill, Rob Thomas, Jon Langford ...

Hill, McGraw join papal project; Thomas heads to Nashville for songwriters' camp; Langford releasing set.

Country divas Faith Hill and LeAnn Rimes as well as Tim McGraw and Vince Gill will participate in World Voice 2000, a compilation album of artists reciting the pope's prayers. Rock/pop stars *NSync, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Steven Tyler and Ricky Martin are also involved in the event. An upcoming video/DVD and book will chronicle the making of the album. ...

Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas joins

his "Smooth" co-writer Itaal Shur

and Jewel for a songwriters' camp in Nashville this week. Thomas has already collaborated with country songwriter Phil Vassar, whose hits include his single "Carlene" (RealAudio excerpt), and on Alan Jackson's "Right On the Money" and Jo Dee Messina's "Bye Bye." ...

Alt-country artists Sally Timms and Jon Langford, who are touring together this summer, will release the collaborative set Songs of False Hope and High Values on July 1 on Bloodshot. Only 2,000 albums will be released, and they'll be available exclusively through the Web or by mail. The set features covers of Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, plus eight new songs. ...

Austin, Texas, alt-country favorite Dale Watson will perform Friday (June 23), in the Grand Ole Opry's continuing OpryParty series, on the plaza in front of the Opry House. He'll also make his Opry debut that night. The Friday night parties are free, and headliners begin at 9 p.m. CDT. Dates and performers for the series are: June 30, Junior Brown; July 7 and July 14, the Derailers; July 21, Jim Lauderdale; July 28, Asleep at the Wheel; and Aug. 4, BR5-49. ... Twelve-year-old Billy Gilman will make his Grand Ole Opry

debut Saturday (June 24). ...

Representing country music at England's Glastonbury Festival this weekend are Hank Williams III appearing Saturday (June 24) on the Acoustic Stage, Allison Moorer on Sunday on the Acoustic Stage and Willie Nelson on Sunday on the Pyramid Stage. Nelson, with his "On the Road Again," nonstop approach to touring, is a UK favorite. ... Emmylou Harris joins an impressive roster of artists including Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Warren Zevon and Ry Cooder in a benefit concert Aug. 8 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, Calif. Event benefits go to defray medical expenses incurred by industry veteran Fred Walecki.

...

Texas singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett, whose hits include the Grammy-nominated "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" (RealAudio excerpt), is scoring the soundtrack for Robert Altman's next film, "Dr. T and His Women," which stars Richard Gere and Helen Hunt. Lovett is joined by an all-star acoustic band featuring Sam Bush, Jon Randall, Viktor Krauss and Mile Auldridge among others. In addition to composing the score, Lovett will contribute three songs to the soundtrack. The film is due in the fall. ...

LeAnn Rimes, along with her record label Curb and Country Music Television, is establishing the LeAnn Rimes Adventure Gym at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville. The facility will provide therapeutic rehabilitation for children with developmental disorders. ...

The life and career of veteran entertainer Kenny Rogers, who recently enjoyed his 22nd #1 hit, "Buy Me a Rose," will be chronicled throughout July on CMT's weekly "CMT Showcase." Rogers will give fans a preview of his upcoming album (due this fall) by performing the new song "Beautiful" on the show. ...

The Recording Industry Association of America has certified Garth Brooks' Double Live at 13-times platinum, resulting from 6.5 million sales of the two-CD set. That matches the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live 1975–1985 as the biggest-selling live album in history. This also brings Brooks' total RIAA certifications to 100 million, more than any other solo artist in American music history. ...

Pam Tillis, Eric Heatherly and Sons of the Desert will open for Dwight Yoakam on July 1 at AmSouth Amphitheatre in Nashville. ...

Country group Ricochet — who made their name with the hit "Daddy's Money" (RealAudio excerpt) — will spend some of their own in sponsoring a NASCAR Winston 500 qualifying day on Oct. 13 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The race will take place Oct. 15. Members of Ricochet are huge racing fans. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report