· Eric Clapton has created the Crossroads Guitar Festival, a one-time music festival this summer that sounds like a wet dream for guitar fanatics. To be held June 4 through 6 in Dallas, Texas, the festival features not only great live performances but also many intimate acoustic- and electric-guitar clinics held in the fest's Guitar Center Village. Set to teach clinics and answer questions from fans are Elvis Presley guitarist James Burton, Zakk Wylde of the Black Label Society, Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, and George Lynch of Dokken. All sorts of all-star jams are expected, with an artist list that includes Brian May of Queen, Steve Vai, Joe Walsh, James Taylor, Robert Cray, Pat Metheny, Jimmie Vaughan, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, and ZZ Top. The festival will benefit Clapton's own chemical-addiction treatment facility Crossroads Centre, and all main-stage performances will be broadcast by Sirius Satellite Radio.

· Based on the Anne Tyler novel and completed in 1999, the film A Slipping Down Life will make its long-anticipated American debut in theatres this week. The film stars Guy Pearce as a musician named Drumstrings Casey, and while Pearce performs and sings throughout the film, a handful of master songwriters are behind the music, as Casey's songs have been written by Robyn Hitchcock, Ron Sexsmith, Joe Henry, and Vic Chesnutt. Look for a soundtrack soon on Commotion Records, a new label that recently released the soundtrack to The Cooler and a collection of film scores by Nathan Larson of Shudder to Think.

· Singer-songwriter Dar Williams has a new entry on her résumé, as this month she debuts as a young-adult novelist with Amalee. The Scholastic Press book tells the story of a girl whose father is very ill, and how she learns to cope with the chaos of preteen life.

· Heap on the spice and pass me a plate as Creole Bred, a new tribute to Cajun music, is released this week on the Vanguard label. Backed by Nathan & The Zydeco Cha-Chas are an unusual mix of artists, from the Tom Tom Club, Michelle Shocked, and Cyndi Lauper to members of Los Lobos and the Campbell Brothers.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Los Lobos tonight, Black Eyed Peas on Thursday, Usher on Monday, and Clay Aiken on Tuesday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Trey Anastasio and Dave Matthews on Friday, and David Byrne on Tuesday; Late Night with Conan O'Brien features Janet Jackson on Thursday overnight and Sondre Lerche on Tuesday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn boasts Elefant on Friday overnight and Toots & The Maytals on Tuesday overnight; Last Call with Carson Daly sits down with Iron & Wine this evening overnight; and Jimmy Kimmel Live presents Korn on Friday overnight, The Roots on Monday overnight, and Lionel Richie on Tuesday overnight.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, May 11:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change

27 - Let the Light in (Hydra Head) with guests from 1919 and Isis

Another Damn Disappointment - Hooligan (Volcom) from Sacramento, California

Braid - Killing a Camera (Bifocal Media) DVD documenting the band's last five days in 1999

Glenn Branca - Lesson No. 1 (Acute) re-issue from 1980, featuring Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth

Charalambides - Joy Shapes (Kranky) understated tones and hallucinogenic death wails

Lloyd Cole - Plastic Wood (One Little Indian) instrumental album of ambient electronica

Chris Connelly - Night of Your Life (Underground) the sixth solo album from this founding member of Ministry, Pigface, and the Revolting Cocks

The Delmore Brothers - Classic Cuts 1933-1941 (JSP Records) four-CD box set of Appalachian freight-train boogie and hillbilly blues

Detroit Grand Pubahs - Galactic Creatures from Uranus (Poker Flats) electro-funk "Motor City" style

Division of Laura Lee - Das Not Compute (Burning Heart/Epitaph) driving post-punk from Sweden, smart and dangerous with hazy psychedelic overtones

Fingathing - And the Big Red Nebula Band (Grand Central) featuring scratch DJ Peter Parker

Flynn - In Like Flynn (Illect Recordings) new from Flynn Adam Atkins, founding member of the hip-hop L.A. Symphony collective

The Frank & Joe Show - 33 1/3rd (Hyena)

Jay Hannan - Underdog (Society Heights) deep house from the co-founder of the Lazy Dog club with Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl

Hayden - Elk Lake Serenade (Badman)

Truth Hurts - Ready Now (Pookie)

Kool Keith - Presents the Undertakers (Activate) add "Reverend Tom" as a new alias alongside Dr. Octagon and Black Elvis

Lafayette Afro Rock Band - Soul Makossa and Malik (Hi & Fly) re-issues of killer 1970s jazz-funk, sampled since by Public Enemy and Wreckz 'N' Effect

Gordon Lightfoot - Harmony (Linus Entertainment) new music finished during his recovery from a burst artery in 2002

Loscil - First Narrows (Kranky) Scott Morgan's undulating waves of electronica in collaboration with Fender Rhodes piano, guitar, and cello

R. Carlos Nakai - In Beauty, We Return (Canyon) best-of collection featuring solo flute and collaborations with Paul Horn and William Eaton

Pleasant Grove - The Art of Leaving (Badman)

Polyphonic Spree - The Adventure of Listening (Hollywood) featuring a cover of David Bowie's "Five Years"

Popa Chubby - Peace, Love & Respect (Blind Pig) all new politically inspired songs, and a cover of the Carter Family's "Keep on the Sunny Side of Life"

Pete Rock - Soul Survivor 2 (BBE/Rapster) return of the master MC with collaborators Dead Prez, Pharoahe Monch, and Little Brother

Nitin Sawhney - Fabric Live 15 (Fabric) well-curried British electronica

Seven Mary Three - Dis/Location (DRT)

Shrek 2 - original motion picture soundtrack (DreamWorks) featuring Pete Yorn's cover of The Buzzcock's "Ever Fallen in Love"

Spit for Athena - Extermina (Eyeball)

Systems Officer - Systems Officer (Ace Fu) solo-project EP from Armistead Smith of Pinback and Three Mile Pilot

The Marshall Tucker Band - Beyond the Horizon (Ramblin') all new with guest Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie

U.S. Roughnecks - Twenty Bucks & Two Black Eyes (Hellcat)

various artists - ParkinSong Volume One: 38 Songs of Hope (Ryko) benefit CD with contributions from Chuck Prophet, David Crosby, Neko Case, Richard X. Heyman, Steve Forbert, Alejandro Escovedo, and many more

various artists - Shanti Project Collection 3 (Badman) benefit CD with rare or exclusive tracks from Arab Strap, Califone, Black Heart Procession, and Sigur Ros

various artists - Time After Time Volume 2 (Radikal) high-energy trance covers project with Mad'house's take on Madonna's "Into the Groove" and Glamarama's spin on the Cyndi Lauper hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

various artists - Vigilante! (Sanctuary/Castle) collection of soundtrack music from the cult films of Roy Budd

Mike Watt - The Secondman's Middle Stand (Red Ink/Columbia) new from the Minutemen/fIREHOSE bassist and touring juggernaut, with guest Petra Haden of That Dog

Will White - Beatz & Bobz: Volume 2 (Functional Beats) new mix CD from the Propellerheads co-founder

Richard X - Back to Mine (DMC/Studio) personal mix CD featuring Goldfrapp, Pete Shelly, Kelis, Mum & Dad, and - dig this - John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13"

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