People in the news
Winehouse sings, glass of wine in hand
Arganda Del Rey, Spain – Soul diva Amy Winehouse sipped from a glass of red wine and looked a bit unsteady on her feet as she appeared in front of a large audience at the Rock in Rio music festival southeast of Madrid on Friday.
Then, as tens of thousands cheered, she threw off a pair of high stiletto heels in favor of white moccasins, donned a white electric guitar and settled into an intense rendition of some of her best known songs, including “Rehab.”
Winehouse delivered a strong vocal performance accompanied by her octet plus two male backing vocalists.
There was no hint of the controversy that saw the Grammy-winning singer scuffle with a fan at the Glastonbury festival in Britain and show up an hour late looking the worse for wear last May in Portugal.
The singer won five Grammy Awards, including best record, best song and best new artist, in early February, but her musical success has been overshadowed by her tumultuous private life and public struggles with drugs and alcohol.
Spielberg group gives $1M to Jewish museum
Philadelphia – A foundation created by Steven Spielberg is giving $1 million to the National Museum of American Jewish History.
The money from the Righteous Persons Foundation will go toward a new, five-story museum building being built in Philadelphia.
With the donation, officials say the museum’s capital campaign has raised $111 million toward its $150 million goal. The new museum is set to open in 2010.
Spielberg helped establish the Righteous Persons Foundation in 1994 after directing his Oscar-winning Holocaust film “Schindler’s List.”
The museum was established in 1976 and is dedicated to telling the story of the American Jewish experience. It is constructing the new building in hopes of raising its profile and increasing the number of visitors.
Paisley says working with Griffith a highlight
Nashville, Tenn. – Brad Paisley says he got to mark a biggie off his wish list when Andy Griffith agreed to be in the video for his new single, “Waitin’ On a Woman.”
“He has influenced my life more than most people that I grew up with – more than most people that I actually knew my whole life,” Paisley said recently. “I wrote Andy a letter telling him what he has meant to me over the years and asked him to be in the video.”
In the video, which began airing this week, the 82-year-old star of the long-running TV series “Matlock” and “The Andy Griffith Show” plays a kindly gentleman who advises Paisley’s character to be patient when waiting for a woman.
“Andy heard the song and wanted to commit to working the long hours necessary to get the video right, and he really adopted this music video as if it was his own,” said Paisley, whose past videos have featured Jason Alexander, William Shatner, Maureen McCormick, Jerry Springer and others.
Donna Summer adds sweet sounds to tour
Washington – Donna Summer says she approached her summer tour like a chocolate-chip cookie.
The 59-year-old singer said that for the first time, she is incorporating all the music from a new album and most of her hits into the show. In the past, she’s used just a few new songs, but never all of them.
“I tried to put them in in a way that they still get the oldies mixed in, so that every few minutes it’s like a familiar taste,” she told AP Radio in a recent phone interview.
“Then it’s like, ‘Ooh, this is good. I like this. Aw! There’s a piece of chocolate!”‘ Summer said. “It’s like eating a chocolate-chip cookie for the first time. There’s the cookie, and then there’s the chocolate chip.”
Her tour kicks off Saturday in Vienna, Va.
Her new album, “Crayons,” is Summer’s first full studio album in 17 years.
Priestley calls music industry ‘a mess’
Nashville, Tenn. – Jason Priestley says he got a crash course on the Nashville music industry while directing a reality series about the Canadian band the Road Hammers.
Priestley, 38, followed the group to Nashville as they sought a record deal.
“I got there as an outsider following this band who had a lot of autonomy in Canada and were basically left alone by their record label and did things how they wanted to do them and were successful,” the former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star told The Associated Press recently. “And here I am following them around in Nashville and they get greeted a lot with ‘That’s not the way we do it here’ or ‘Let me tell you how we do it in Nashville.’ It was very interesting.”
The series, “The Road Hammers,” premiered last month on the Great American Country channel, where it’s airing in eight half-hour weekly episodes (Thursday nights at 8:30 Eastern).
Priestley, who’s Canadian, filmed the series last summer. He did a similar project a decade ago with the Canadian rock group Barenaked Ladies, following them on their U.S. tour.
“I have a lot friends who are musicians. I think I’m just fascinated by that industry,” Priestley said. “It’s just amazing that it works at all. It’s a mess, but it works.”