Blues/Folk Beat: Comotion, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Emmylou Harris …

Bluesman Robinson, 69, to go on hunger strike to help preserve historic Chicago site.

Comotion have announced a tour of the West Coast in support of their debut album, Head West, due Sept. 12 on SCI Fidelity Records. The project, which features bluegrass and jazz artists such as Darol Anger, Aaron Johnston and Tye North, will kick off its tour Sept. 29 in Las Vegas and wrap up Oct. 8 in Vancouver, British Columbia. …

Jimmie Lee Robinson announced that he will start a hunger strike Friday (Aug. 18) to protest the University of Chicago’s plans to tear down the city’s Maxwell Street area. Maxwell Street was known in recent decades for its open-air markets and as a haven and stamping ground for Chicago’s burgeoning community of blues musicians. Carey Bell, Mike Bloomfield, Big John Wrencher and Johnny Young were all, at one time or another, familiar faces there. Robinson, 69, said in a statement that Maxwell Street was a training ground for him spiritually and musically. Robinson will participate in the “48 Hours Blues Vigil” on Maxwell Street from 6 p.m. Aug. 25 to 6 p.m. Aug. 27. For more information about the coalition’s work visit www.openair.org/maxwell/preserve.html. …

Los Lobos, Little Joe y La Familia and La India performed at the Universal Amphitheater for Democratic National Convention delegates Tuesday night (Aug. 15). The event was organized by California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to showcase Latin musical talent and pay tribute to the late civil rights leader and union organizer Cesar Chavez. …

Fans of Emmylou Harris, Dave Matthews and Buddy and Julie Miller who missed the May 6 “Songwriters Special” on the PBS show Austin City Limits will have a chance to catch the show again Aug. 26. Also being rebroadcast Sept. 2 are performances by Joe Ely and Indigenous. …

Antone’s, Austin’s home of the blues, is beginning to expand its bookings beyond its traditional fare these days. The Jungle Brothers and KRS-One have upcoming shows there, for instance. According to Kathleen Bonnicksen, who is leaving her post as assistant manger of the club, her replacement, Lorraine Lamont, is open to booking more hip-hop artists because Antone’s has “always been supportive of all kinds of African-American music.” …

Lightnin’ Charlie and the Bluegrass Circle will perform at this year’s National Slide Guitar Festival and International Music and Dance Festival. The two festivals have combined for the first time to bring performances from a variety of musical genres, crafts, competition and food to the mountains of Gray, Tenn. The festival runs Sept. 23–24. For more information, visit www.slideguitarfest.com. …

Emmylou Harris announced that she and Gillian Welch recorded a track for a tribute to Townes Van Zandt, to be released on Island Records. The pair, accompanied by guitarist Dave Rawlings, cut Van Zandt’s “Snake Song,” from his 1978 release Flyin’ Shoes. Harris said she chose that song to show off Welch’s clawhammer banjo picking. …

The Jeff Healey Band and Buddy Miles have been added to the lineup at this year’s Telluride Blues and Brews Festival on Sept. 15–17 in Telluride, Colo. They’ll be joined there by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the North Mississippi All Stars, Robert Cray and Elvin Bishop. …

Bluegrass jam band Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, jazz guitarist John Scofield and the David Grisman Quartet are just a few of the performers at the fifth annual Autumn Equinox Music and Arts Festival and Campout. Held in Capon Bridge, W.Va., the three-day festival (Sept. 22–24) also will feature performances by Acoustic Syndicate, Galactic and Tim Reynolds. …

Mark Olson and the Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers have been signed to Hightone records and are expected to release their first album, My Own Jo Ellen, on Oct. 17. The new musical expedition includes Olson’s wife, singer Victoria Williams, and Mike “Raz” Russell. Olson is a founding member of the Jayhawks. …

Aaron Neville will record a gospel-inspired collection titled Devotion, due Sept. 26. The album will feature a duet with his son Ivan. … Darden Smith, Slaid Cleaves and the Asylum Street Spankers will play at the Hearts of Arts Blood Drive on Aug. 26 in Austin, Texas. The performance will benefit the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas. … Ellis Paul, Sloan Wainwright and Greg Cagno are appearing at the Cutting Edge of Campfire Festival on Labor Day weekend in Cambridge, Mass. For more information visit www.clubpassim.com. …

Pete Seeger has offered a $1,000 reward for the return of his banjo, which disappeared from his car while the 81-year-old folk singer was traveling in Ulster County, N.Y., last week. “I can’t imagine why someone would steal it,” the Associated Press quoted Seeger as saying. The 55-year-old instrument is reportedly made of lignum vitae wood from Central America. …

Rubén González, Omara Portuondo, Ibrahim Ferrer and other Cuban musicians recently featured in the “Buena Vista Social Club” movie played their first-ever show together inside Cuba on Friday night (Aug. 11). The Grammy-winning musicians were heartily welcomed by the audience at Havana’s Karl Marx Theatre. …

Indigo Girl Amy Ray is scheduled to speak at the Nov. 4 Rockrgrl conference in Seattle. Ray and Emily Saliers, the other Indigo Girl, also will perform at a fund-raiser for the American Indian College Fund that same day in New York City, according to their Web site. …

The just-released series of six 7-inch vinyl singles culled from the hit B.B. King/Eric Clapton album Riding With the King can be ordered from B.B. King direct, at news.bbkingdirect.com. … A long-awaited Stevie Ray Vaughan box set will be released later this year, according to a representative of Sony Records. Although no exact date has been set, the recordings will be in stores before the holidays. …

Willie Nelson‘s new album, Milk Cow Blues, will hit stores Sept. 19, according to Island Records. The blues-oriented album will feature guest appearances by B.B. King, Susan Tedeschi and Jonny Lang. Also appearing on the disc are Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Keb’ Mo’. Included will be reinterpretations of Nelson’s own works and classic blues songs. The album’s release clears the way for Nelson’s next project, a reggae album with Don Was. …

Gretchen Peters, Angela Kaset and Hugh Prestwood will play the Y-Jams benefit for the YMCAs of Nashville on Aug. 19 at the Bluebird Café. You can check the Bluebird Café archives at www.liveonthenet.com to listen to this and other shows. …

R&B singer and guitarist Barbara Lynn has completed her debut record on Antone’s Records. The album, titled Hot Night Tonight, is due for release Aug. 22 and will include guest performances by Ivan Neville of the Neville Brothers and vocalist Bernard Fowler. She is also planning to tour in support of the new album in the coming months. …

Steve Earle, who’s got gigs in London scheduled the two previous nights, has just been added to the lineup for the 15th Farm Aid on Sept. 17 in Bristow, Va. He’ll join Arlo Guthrie, the North Mississippi Allstars, Shannon Curfman, a reunited Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, plus Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. … Nelson’s collaboration with pop star Beck on “Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia,” which they performed at Farm Aid 1997, will be included on the organization’s 15th anniversary CD compilation. This is not the first time the two have worked together. Nelson appeared in Beck’s “Jackass” video and the pair’s cover of Floyd Tillman‘s “Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin” appeared on the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s “Hi-Lo Country.” The two-CD Farm Aid compilation will be released Sept. 12, and proceeds will go to Farm Aid. For more information, check www.farmaid.org. …

Lil’ Brian and the Zydeco Travelers are reaching new ears thanks to MTV’s “The Real World.” The band’s latest release, Funky Nation, is being used in several of episodes of the series, which is based in New Orleans this season. The band’s music is being featured as an example of music that is both roots-based and hip. (Sonicnet.com’s parent company, Viacom, also owns MTV.) …

— sonicnet.com staff report