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Loaded: Hugh's feeling the Blues

Hugh Laurie has had quite a career. He established himself as one of the UK's finest television thesps in Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster before donning an American accent and becoming the highest-paid actor on US TV thanks to his role as the permanently grumpy diagnostician in medical drama, House.

Now, with rumours of that series coming to an end after its eighth season, Laurie is exploring new avenues -- not least a love of blues music. The result is a covers album, pointedly called Let Them Talk, and it's considerably better than we've come to expect from A-list actors trying out a sideline career in music. It helps that a crack team of musicians have been assembled, but Laurie's careworn vocals and expressive piano elevates the album above the ordinary.

He hasn't forgotten his comedic past, though, as the liner notes demonstrate: "You don't buy fish from a dentist, or ask a plumber for financial advice, so why listen to an actor's music? The answer is -- there is no answer. If you care about pedigree then you should try elsewhere, because I have nothing in your size."

  • For many, the name Bon Jovi is likely to conjure up trusty 80s images of faded denim jeans and big hair, but the New Jersey veterans are still going strong in 2011. Jon Bon Jovi has had a haircut, discovered a stylist and railed against the iPod in recent years (it's killed music, apparently) and he's still able to command enormous live audiences. Strike it down to nostalgia.

Now, with Bon Jovi playing Dublin's RDS on June 29, Aiken Promotions are giving two unsigned Irish acts the chance to open for them.

Five finalists will compete for this opportunity on Thursday (May 19) in Vicar Street. Fighting for supremacy will be The Fallen Drakes, Simon Fagan, Doris, The Riptide Movement and Jody Has A Hitlist. Peter Aiken and figures from Universal Ireland and Radio Nova will chose the winners.

  • Simon Fagan, meanwhile, will be playing the Dublin's Hilfiger Denim store at 1pm tomorrow. With retailers really up against it, it's no surprise that some of the more visionary among them have been trying everything and anything to get punters in.

The store (on Trinity Street, right next to Hot Press HQ) has lined up music every Saturday this month and is promising prospective customers the chance to win vouchers and "goody bags" as well as acquaint themselves with some up and coming music talent including El Hombre Jokes and Tarantella Fall.

  • Remember Bressie, aka Niall Breslin (below), ex-frontman of The Blizzards and former Leinster rugby also-ran? If you're female and in your early 20s, you probably do. Anyway, Bressie is back -- there's a new album in the offing and tickets for his first Irish show in Whelan's on June 29 go on sale this morning (€15). Interestingly, the Mullingar ledge (copyright Nikki, 21, studying "orts" in UCD) is now being managed by Simon Fuller, a London impresario whose clients include Lewis Hamilton and the Beckhams. His first single for the as-yet-untitled album is Can't Stay Young (Forever).

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