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A&E News: The Romany Rye, "The Last Ride," etc. 

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The Romany Rye, a harmony-drenched folk-rock quintet that's four-fifths Arkansan (Whitman Bransford, Ryan Hitt, Joshua Spillyards and Judson Spillyards) plus Luke McMaster is a semi-finalist in a contest between 16 unsigned acts to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and receive a contract with Atlantic.

The contest is divided into four rounds. The first is based partly on fan ratings, via rollingstone.com/choosethecover. You can only rate a band once. First round voting is open through March 2. On March 16, eight will advance, four based on fan ratings and four more as chosen by Rolling Stone. In round two, four will advance based solely on public ratings, from March 16 to April 11. Round three will narrow four to two, again based solely on public voting, from April 27 to May 11. The final two acts will compete in a battle of bands at Bonnaroo. The winner will again be chosen by public voting, June 16 to July 1.


The Little Rock Film Fest announced last week that Harry Thomason's Hank Williams bio-pic "The Last Ride" will open this year's festival. It's bound to be a tough ticket.


On May 3, Charlaine Harris will publish "Dead Reckoning," the 11th novel in her Southern Vampire series. Fans best savor it: Only two more (contractually-obligated) editions of the Sookie Stackhouse saga will follow.

"It's been a big part of my life and I hate to see it go," Harris recently told the Wall Street Journal. "But it's kind of taken over my professional life, and I'm excited for new opportunities."

Those new opportunities, according to the WSJ, include providing story guidance on "Dying for Daylight," a computer game based on Dahlia, a she-vampire from one of Harris' short stories.

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