• Led Zeppelin fanatics get a big screen treat this coming Monday evening at 35 Regal Cinemas across the country, as the theatre chain will dim the lights for a special showing of No Quarter: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded one day before its DVD release.
• The youthful audience of the WB network's hit show Everwood is getting a music-history lesson with this Tuesday's release of its original television soundtrack. The Nettwerk Records' CD features current artists covering old-school FM-radio fare - from Kristen Hersh's take on Cat Stevens' "Trouble" to the Stereophonics' spin on Roberta Flack's soulful "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.
• Smiles and tenderness abound with a hug-full of new CDs in which big stars sing to the child in all of us. Last week Epic Records released Mary Had a Little Amp, a delightful benefit CD funding the People for the American Way's preschool organization, Project Kid Smart.
• This Tuesday William Shatner further embraces, rather than denies, his 1968 psychedelic stinker, The Transformed, with a new album in collaboration with Ben Folds. The new pop affair, Has Been, was produced, written, and arranged by Folds, and boasts a cool guest list, from country boy Brad Paisley and the serious Henry Rollins to Aimee Mann and electronic artist Lemon Jelly.
• Uncannily timed with the recent death of Johnny Ramone, two new documentary films are telling the story of the three-chord foursome from Forest Hills, Queens, with one film recently debuting in New York and the other arriving on DVD next week.
• The place to be this coming Tuesday morning is lined up at the door of your favorite record store, as the Epic Legacy imprint is releasing an expanded re-issue of The Clash's double album masterpiece, London Calling, from 1979.
• The first fruit from the collaboration of Nancy Sinatra and Morrissey hits store shelves next week, with the Morrissey-penned "Let Me Kiss You" CD single on Attack/Sanctuary Records. A full- length album, To Nancy, with Love, is due at the end of this month and features a star-studded guest list, with Bono and the Edge from U2, Elvis Costello, Jon Spencer, Pete Yorn, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, and Dennis Diken of the Smithereens.
• A founding father of the roots-punk alternative-country scene with Jason & The Scorchers, Jason Ringenberg takes up a political picket in his new solo album, Empire Builders, due this coming Tuesday on the Yep Roc imprint.
• Two new CD projects are raising funds to promote peace. Last week a re-make of the 1960s hit "Wake Up Everybody" by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes was released as a single, featuring an all-star line-up of Faith Evans, Missy Elliott, Jamie Foxx, Jaheim, and Nate Dogg.
Like a refreshing summer rain in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, a new tribute CD to a national legacy has swept me deep in piney-woods bliss. From the electrifying intonation of Elvis Presley's voice and Johnny Cash's bass profundo, to the taste of butter, salt, and pepper over yellow corn grits, some things just blast straight down one's chain of American DNA, regardless of where you call home.