Blues/Folk Beat: Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch, Greg Brown ...

Artists team up for Brown tribute, cancer research benefit.

Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch and Suzzy Roche are only a few of the female artists who have committed to a Red House Records project called Driftless. The album, a tribute to folk singer/songwriter Greg Brown, will benefit breast cancer research. Also featured on the disc will be Lucinda Williams, Iris Dement and three of Brown's daughters performing "Ella Mae," a song about Brown's maternal grandmother. Although the project is in its early stages, still more artists are expected to join. It's due next year. ...

Laurie Lewis, the Osborne Brothers and the Seldom Scene are confirmed acts at the Grand Ole Opry's Bluegrass Jamboree July 22–23. The festival, part of the Grand Ole Opry's two-month-long 75th anniversary celebration, will feature arts and crafts and two stages worth of performing bluegrass artists. ... Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch's live album 11/12/13 — Live From Melbourne is the most added record this week on the Gavin Americana chart. ... Peter Mulvey's performance of Acoustic Cafe, a nationally syndicated radio program, is scheduled to air the week of July 24. Also scheduled to appear that week is singer Terry Radigan. For more information visit acafe.com. ...

Delta blues singer/songwriter and guitarist Catfish Keith has released "The Country Blues Guitar of Catfish Keith," an 80-minute instructional video on Homespun Tapes. The tape will offer lessons in how to play some of Keith's most well-known songs, such as "Eagle Bird" and "Brown Skinned Gal." ... Songwriter Mark Selby is set to release his debut solo album, More Storms Comin', on Sept. 26 on Vanguard Records. Well known for his writing on Kenny Wayne Shepherd's latest album Live On — he's credited on eight songs — Selby's work with partner Tia Sillers earned him a Grammy Award in 1999 for "There's Your Trouble." ...

Coming up on the Web the week of July 10 from the recent Bishopstock festival in Britain is a webcast of Susan Tedeschi's performance. Visit virtuetv.com for more information. ... Webcasts from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival scheduled include: Cascabulho and the Revealers, George Porter Jr. and Runnin' Pardners (July 13); Jamal Batiste, Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band; C.J. Chenier and the Red Louisiana Band (July 14); Reggie Hall, Russell Batiste and Charmaine Neville (July 17); and Chocolate Milk, David Lindley and Lyle Lovett with Jimmy Buffett (July 18). All shows start at 4 p.m. PDT. ...

Billy Bragg has returned to the stage after a back problem prevented him from making a solo appearance June 29 in Toronto. The British singer made a trip to New York for a July 1 solo show at Battery Park with Shawn Colvin. After his return to Europe, Bragg plans to perform with his band the Blokes at a few UK festival dates, including Tolpuddle Martyrs in Dorset. Bragg and the Blokes also will make an appearance at Sweden's Falun Folk Festival later this week. For more tour dates visit www.billybragg.com. ...

Sam Bryant also went back onstage Monday night (July 10) after being hospitalized for a severe headache Sunday. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band drummer was rushed to an emergency room in Hyannis, Mass., with high blood pressure that required immediate treatment. On the advice of doctors, a performance scheduled for later that evening was postponed. Although no new date has been given for that show, Bryant played the final in a series of performances with the Black Crowes and Jimmy Page in Jones Beach, N.Y. Get well wishes can be sent via e-mail to sjb@s-cos.com. ...

Willie Nelson has been working for some time on the blues album Milk Cow Blues. The Island Records set is scheduled for release at the end of August and features collaborations with B.B. King, Dr. John, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Francine Reed and Keb' Mo'. ...

New Zealand actor/musician Russell Crowe, who stars in the film "Gladiator," will play the famed Stubb's Bar-B-Q in Austin, Texas, with his band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. The group tackles everything from rap to country, and tickets for their shows Aug. 4, 11 and 18 are being auctioned off for more than $300 a pair on eBay.com. While in Austin, Crowe and his bandmates will also begin recording their next album. ...

Singer/songwriter John Hiatt's new album, Crossing Muddy Waters, will be released Sept. 26 on Vanguard Records. Besides regular retail outlets, the all-acoustic album also will be available online at emusic.com. ...

Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, and Pete Seeger are just a few of the notable artists interviewed in David Crosby's "Stand and Be Counted," a documentary on music and activism in the past 40 years. Crosby — whose "What Are Their Names," off his star-studded solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, was itself an eloquent call for social change — said he was surprised that no books or films have been made about music and political activism. He began compiling concert footage, news footage and interviews with prominent artist and activists. Clips from political benefits, Live Aid, Farm Aid and the Tibetan Freedom Concert, to name just a few, will be blended with backstage stories of the preparations and creation of these types of events. The documentary also will feature Joan Baez, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Peter Gabriel. The documentary will premiere on the Learning Channel Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 22 and 23 at 9 p.m. EDT. ...

The Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and '60s girl band legend Ronnie Spector will be keynote speakers at this year's Rockrgrl Music Conference in Seattle. The conference, which celebrates the achievements of women in the music industry, will be held Nov. 2–4. It will offer three nights of music and workshops followed by an awards banquet. Visit the official Web site for more information (www.rockrgrl.com). ... The Derailers, Lee Roy Parnell and Kim Richey will appear on the Monday (July 17) edition of "Western Beat With Billy Block" on CMT. The television series is based on Block's radio show and offers live performances and backstage interviews. ...

Lead Belly's Where Did You Sleep Last Night, Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs, Lucinda Williams' Ramblin', and material by blues great Lightnin' Hopkins are among the 272 albums that Smithsonian Folkways has made available for purchase, at $1.49 a track, in Liquid Audio format. The Smithsonian Folkways' Web site is: web2.si.edu/folkways/news.htm. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report