Blues/Folk Beat: Dave Alvin, North Mississippi All Stars, Steve Earle …

Earle, others highlight controversial material on educational CD.

Dave Alvin North Mississippi All Stars, Bonnie Raitt and Jimmie Vaughan have been announced as performers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tribute to Mississippi Delta blues musician Muddy Waters. The Hall of Fame is sponsoring “Got My Mojo Working: Muddy Waters and Modern Blues,” as part of its American Music Masters series. There will be two performances, Sept. 23 at Cleveland’s Odeon and Sept. 24 at Cleveland’s Severance Hall. The event will include a daylong conference Sept. 23 on Waters’ legacy and a symposium at Case Western Reserve University, workshops for college and high school students, and a blues film series Sept. 18–24. …

Steve Earle, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Kim Richey are among the performers on Freedom Sings, a project of the First Amendment Center, a nonprofit advocacy group. The album, to be released Sept. 12, is a compilation of once-controversial songs. The CD will be distributed at schools and will be available at www.freedomforum.org. Titles include Janis Ian‘s “Society’s Child” and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s “Ohio.” … Earle also will appear in a segment of “CBS News Sunday Morning” to air Sept. 10. Check local listing for show times. (Sonicnet.com’s parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.) … Shawn Colvin has announced three performance dates: Hartford, Conn., (Sept. 23); Albion, Mich., (Sept. 30); and Santa Cruz, Calif., (Oct. 10). …

Willie Nelson had a surprise caller on his recent appearance on A&E’s “Live by Request.” According to the Austin Chronicle, actor and singer Kris Kristofferson was among the viewers who called in to request a song for the singer/songwriter to perform. …

Blues guitarist Noah Wotherspoon has been signed to a one-disc deal on APO Records. The 18-year-old musician recorded the album at APO’s Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kan. The album has no title yet, but guests include guitarist Hubert Sumlin and harmonica player Little Hatch. The disc, which will be released within the next year, promises to have a wide variety of styles and original material from Noah and the Stratocats, Wotherspoon’s backing band. …

A Skin Too Few, a film about the late singer/songwriter Nick Drake, premieres Sept. 11 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Beth Orton, Ben & Jason and Robert Kirby will perform at the screening. Interest in Drake — who died in 1974 at age 26 — has boomed recently since Volkswagen used his song “Pink Moon” in its commercials. For a sneak preview of the film, including audio and video clips and rare pictures, check www.nickdrakefilm.com. …

The Indigo Girls are celebrating 15 years of music with the release of Indigo Girls: A Retrospective, due Oct. 3 on Epic Records. The 16-track disc will include two new songs, “Devotion” and “Leaving,” and staples such as “Shame on You” and “Galileo.” The CD’s liner notes will be written by noted feminist Susan Faludi and will include detailed commentary from Amy Ray and Emily Sailers. The release of the album will coincide with Legacy Records’ reissue of the duo’s self-titled album and Strange Fire. The Indigo Girls will perform as part of the Honor the Earth Tour along with Indigenous, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez and Jackson Browne in October and early September. …

Greg Brown and producer Bo Ramsey have made changes to Brown’s latest release, Covenant. The songs “Rexroth’s Daughter” and “Lullaby” have been re-recorded while “Walkin’ Daddy” and “Waiting on You” have been remastered. Fans can tell the discs apart easily. The first has “(C)(P)2000…” and the second only “(P)2000…” Both are available from Red House Records, though there will be one pressing of the first version of the album. …

The FlatlandersJoe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmy Dale Gilmore, will reunite for four Texas gigs next month. They’ll appear Sept. 19–20 in Fort Worth, Sept. 21 in New Braunfels and Sept. 22 in Austin, where Kelly Willis will be the opening act. … Dr. John and pop star Christina Aguilera will join forces this holiday season. Following the release of her upcoming Spanish-language album, Aguilera will work on a collection of Christmas tunes, which will include a track with the New Orleans musician. …

The long-awaited Stevie Ray Vaughan box set finally has a release date — Nov. 14. Originally scheduled for the 10th anniversary of his death, which is this month, the three-CD set will be 50 percent composed of previously unreleased material, a Sony executive said. The set will also contain a DVD with live tracks from Vaughan’s performances on “Austin City Limits” in 1984 and 1989. …

Johnny Bush, the man behind “Whiskey River,” is ready to release Johnny Bush Sings Bob Wills next month on Lone Star Records. The disc’s release was delayed for years when the masters were seized during an Internal Revenue Service raid of Willie Nelson‘s Pedernales Studios in 1990. An album of more original work, Lost Highway Saloon also is scheduled for release next month on Lone Star. … Peter Case will produce a Mississippi John Hurt tribute album, which will be released early next year. Confirmed contributors are Lucinda Williams, Chris Smither and John Sebastian. … Case also will participate in a Yahoo! chat ) at 5 p.m. PDT on Wednesday (Aug. 30). … Steve Earle, Jackson Browne and John Prine will sing on Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon‘s September release The Diamond Mountain. The album will be different from her previous albums in that it will focus primarily on the vocal, rather than instrumental, aspects of the material. …

Austin, Texas, is honoring country singer and author Kinky Friedman by declaring Sept. 8 Kinky Friedman Day. Mayor Kirk Watson will make the presentation either on the “Sammy and Bob Show,” a local morning radio show, on Sept. 7 or during Friedman’s performance at the Continental Club that same night. Friedman has earned the honor through years of community service, particularly his Adopt-a-Dog-athon. … Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jimmy Buffett and Sheryl Crow are among the artists scheduled to perform at a fund-raiser Sept. 14 for the Democratic National Committee at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Comedian John Leguizamo will serve as master of ceremonies. Presidential hopeful Al Gore and running mate Joseph Lieberman are scheduled to attend. …

Rick Danko‘s last studio album, Times Like These (Breeze Hill Records) hit stores Tuesday (Aug. 22). The 10-track album contains eight studio tracks and two live songs and includes appearances by all recent members of The Band. The disc also includes a cover of the Grateful Dead‘s “Ripple” and songs Danko co-wrote with Bob Dylan (“This Wheel’s On Fire”) and Eric Clapton (“All Our Past Times”). The release of the album coincides with the reissue of the first four albums by The Band, Music From Big Pink, The Band, Stage Fright and Cahoots. Fans can also head over to Checkout.com where three bonus tracks from the re-released discs will be available to the public for the first time as downloads. The three are: “Up on Cripple Creek,” “W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” and “Yazoo Street Scandal.” …

Little Milton, Johnnie Johnson, Charlie Musselwhite, Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker and Trudy Lynn are hitting the road for four shows on the East Coast. From Nov. 8 to 12 the W.C. Handy All Star Tour, which showcases Handy Award winners and nominees, will visit New London, Conn., (Nov. 8), New York, (Nov. 9), Morristown, N.J., (Nov. 10) and Atlantic City, N.J., (Nov. 11). For more information head over to www.rosebudus.com. … Los Lobos, Little Feat and Shawn Colvin will play the Fat Fry Music Festival on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in Santa Cruz, Calif.’s Aptos Village Park. …

The Delta State University Alumni Foundation’s third annual Peavine Awards ceremony, Sept. 7 in Cleveland, will benefit the Robert Johnson Memorial Fund and will celebrate major Mississippi Delta blues artists. The program will include tributes to Son House and Muddy Waters as well as a performance by Little Milton and film screenings. … Joe Ely, Alvin Youngblood and Mary Gauthier are just a few of the more than a dozen performers at the Second Annual Thirsty Ear Festival Sept. 2–3 in Santa Fe, N.M.. …

Pete Seeger‘s prized banjo was returned Monday (Aug. 21) safe and sound. The instrument had been missing since Aug. 8, when the 81-year-old folk legend participated in a campaign event for presidential hopeful Ralph Nader. The Associated Press reported that Gary Schneeweiss Jr. found the banjo by the side of a road in Rosendale, N.Y., and contacted Seeger, whose phone number was on the banjo’s case. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, said that although the banjo had been thought stolen, it’s possible her husband left it on top of his car and drove off, which would explain how it came to be found by the roadside. …

Willie Nelson has invited Al Gore, George W. Bush, Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan to meet with farmers before the Farm Aid 2000 concert in Washington, D.C. Also invited to the Sept. 17 event, Billboard reported, are members of the House and Senate Agricultural Committee as well as members of the House and Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committee. No word on whether any of the camps have agreed to attend. …

Robert Lockwood Jr. , Homesick James, Henry Townsend and Honeyboy Edwards will pay tribute to Delta blues legend Robert Johnson in two performances Sept. 23 at B.B. King‘s New York club. The group, which has been called the American blues equivalent of Cuba’s Buena Vista Social Club, includes the only living contemporaries of the late bluesman.

— sonicnet.com staff report