* XM Satellite Radio, the first US digital satellite radio service, is now available in Charlotte. The service provides the equivalent of a third band of radio with seamless coast-to-coast coverage of 100 channels of digital-quality music, news, talk, sports and children's programming. There's a total of 71 music channels, and each is dedicated to a specific genre of music (including Bluegrass, Reggae, New Rock, Progressive Fusion, Nashville Country, Hindi/Indian and Show Tunes). Thirty-four of these channels are also commercial free! Receivers, which cost just under $300, are available at Circuit City, Best Buy and Freeman's Car Stereo. A subscription to the service costs $9.99 per month. Next year, receivers will be made available in about 20 models of GM automobiles. Some receivers can also be used with a home stereo system. For more details, go to www.xmradio.com.
* Candlewyck's single, "Firemen," from their self-titled debut, won the 2002 Music Resource Group's Independent Music Award for Best Bluegrass/Country Song. For a complete list of winners, go to www.musiciansatlas.com.
* Karl Mokal has announced that the Streetwise Guitar Music Instruction Center will be opening Friday, November 23. Mokal will host a "Grand Opening" at the school, which is located at 14015 Independence Boulevard in Indian Trail, on December 1. Mokal will offer guitar/bass, percussion and piano lessons, as well as music accessories and consignment plans. He's also an authorized Fender/Hal Leonard dealer. For more details, go to www.streetwiseguitar.com.
* Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned (the damned being Jose Carlos Wright, Mike Kelleher, Brad Fury and Boo Creepy) have released their first full-length CD titled Southern Gentlemen. The album, which was released by the Detroit-based Small Stone Records, was recorded last year at The Sound Farm with Art Bordeaux. The material was mixed and mastered in Detroit by Al Sutton (who has also worked with Kid Rock). The record is currently available at The Record Exchange and Ernie's Music. For more info and a look at a couple reviews, go to www.smallstone.com.
* Sideways Eight have released their first full-length album, titled Free the Sane. The material was recorded with Mike Tate at Soundhouse Recording Studios. The band co-produced the 12 tracks with Tate. The band, which is officially sponsored by Jagermeister, has planned two CD Release Parties. The first is scheduled for November 23 at Midtown Sundries on Harris Boulevard, and the next night, the band will celebrate the album's release at the Graduate Uptown. New tracks are already available at www.mp3.com/sideways-eight. The band's official web address is http://sidewayseight.iuma.com.
* First Night on Earth, Wes Grasty's latest project, will host a pre-release listening party for their new CD, No One Knows Anything for Sure, Thursday, November 15 at Tonic. The party begins at 8pm and there is no cover charge. For more details, go to www.firstnightonearth.com.
* Chris Garges and Flavio Mangione have both left godmanradio. Jason Hausman is still planning on performing the band's material and is currently working on getting a new line-up together. Mangione still plays with Static and Garges has been performing with Deanna Campbell of Violet Strange, as well as with John Alexander and Ron Brendle. For more info, check for updates at www.godmanradio.com.
Garges has also been hard at work in the studio. He and Joe Kuhlman of Studio East worked on a pre-production demo for Justincase in conjunction with their signing to Maverick Records, and he recently finished a demo for Hipshack. Garges says the long-awaited CD from Bellyfull is near completion and he's also been doing sessions for a concept album that features Jacob Hilbert and Adam O'Neil (formerly of Mobius Band).
* In other studio news: The Old House Recording Studio in Gastonia recently installed a MCI JH 24/24 2" 24 track analog tape machine. Owner David Black recently wrapped up the first project recorded with the new equipment with the Latin pop band, Kumbala. Also at the studio, producer Jimi Ray, founder of the group Age of Faith, is currently in pre-production for a new album which is scheduled to be released next spring by the new Charlotte-based label and TV show Steel Roots Records (www.steelrootsrecords.com). Dan Lawlor and Scott Brown (formerly of Candy Pig) are recording material with their latest project, Native Radio (www.danlawlor.com/nativeRADIO). For more info on the studio, go to www.oldhousestudio.com.
* And over at Catalyst Recording: Alex Mauldin, Machine 7, Sckapegoat and Closure are working on projects, while The Superficials, Status Flow and Defusion recently completed material with Rob Tavaglione. Go to www.catalystrecording.com, for more details.
* Tickets are currently on sale for the only Carolina appearance of the Down From the Mountain Tour featuring Alison Krauss & Union Station, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless and Ralph Stanley, among others. The show is scheduled to make a stop at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, SC on Saturday, January 26. Tickets cost $45 (plus service charges) and are available through TicketMaster (704-522-6500). *