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For McGraw, homes are gift from heart

Tim McGraw will be saluting veterans in a big way while on tour this summer. The country music superstar is giving away 25 mortgage-free houses – one for each stop on his upcoming “Brothers of the Sun” tour with Kenny Chesney – to wounded or needy service members.

McGraw will kick off the campaign with a Memorial Day concert for military members at New York City’s Beacon Theatre during Fleet Week.

“My sister’s a veteran, my uncle’s a veteran, my grandfather was a veteran, one of my best friends is a veteran,” McGraw said in an interview. “I’ve known people my whole life who are in service to America. And I think in my position to be able to do something like that is probably the ultimate thing.”

McGraw is partnering with the charity Operation Homefront and Chase on the program, dubbed HomeFront.

Doc Watson hospitalized after fall

Grammy-winning folk musician Doc Watson was in critical condition Thursday at a Winston-Salem, N.C., hospital after falling at his home earlier this week. Watson’s daughter, Nancy, told the Associated Press that the 89-year-old Watson fell Monday at his home. She said he didn’t break any bones but that he was “real sick.”

The blind singer and guitarist has won several Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award. He also received the National Medal of the Arts. He’s known as a master of the flatpicking style of guitar playing and for starting Merlefest, an annual gathering of musicians named after his son, a musician who died in a tractor accident in 1985.

Illness forces Elton John to cancel

Elton John has canceled three Las Vegas performances on doctors’ orders after being hospitalized with a respiratory infection.

Officials with Caesars Entertainment Show said John came down with the infection last weekend and was admitted Wednesday to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was later released.

Doctors recommended he not perform for a week and take antibiotics.

John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” launched in September for a three-year run and features the singer’s classic songs.

The birthday bunch

Country singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall is 76. Actor Sir Ian McKellen is 73. Country singer Jessi Colter is 69. Actress-singer Leslie Uggams is 69. Movie director and Muppeteer Frank Oz is 68. Actress Karen Valentine is 65. Actress Patti D’Arbanville is 61. Actress Connie Sellecca is 57. Actor-comedian Mike Myers is 49. Actress Anne Heche is 43. Actor Justin Henry is 41. Singer Lauryn Hill is 37.


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