2009 comebacks: Hillary Duff, Eminem, The Grateful Dead, Gwen Stefani, Natalie Imbruglia

For many musicians, the thought of a comeback sustains them through years of state fair and trade show gigs, but sadly, few manage to grab the gold ring twice. In 2009, however, several musicians stand a good chance of returning to prominence, including Hillary Duff, Eminem, the Grateful Dead (those of them left, that is), Gwen Stefani and her No Doubt Band, and Natalie Imbruglia.

Many people are familiar with Hillary Duff through her acting roles, most notably as the star of television's Lizzy McGuire. However, she has also had great success as a musician, with several platinum records, including Metamorphisis and Most Wanted, to her credit. Her last new album, Dignity, was released in April of 2007, while a greatest -hits compilation appeared on the shelves in December of 2008.

Duff told MTV recently that she is beginning work on a new album, under a new label. She has also signed on to star in a new half-hour sitcom for NBC. Expect the cross-pollination to drive renewed interest in her music.

Marshall Bruce Mathers III, aka Eminem,named in 2008 by Vibe Magazine voters as the best rapper alive, has been absent from the new music scene since 2005. After a series of huge hit albums, including The Eminem Show and Encore, the artist and actor took a break for the obligatory stretch in drug rehab and some R n' R.

Rap fans, therefore, were excited when news leaked that Eminem was going back into the studio in 2008 with Dr. Dre as producer to put together a new album, to be titledRelapse. As late January rolled around, Eminem told HollywoodScoop that the album was almost done, and word on a release date would be made public soon.

Some would say that the Grateful Dead would be the same after the death of Jerry Gracia, and I'm one of those. However, for the multitudes that can't get enough of the band's jamtastic sound, the band, under the name The Dead (I guess they're no longer quite so grateful) announced that it will begin an 20-gig tour this spring. So Deadheads, dust off your bongs and pull out your tie-dyeds, Casey Jones is rolling again!

When we last saw Gwen Stephani and her No Doubt Band the war in Iraq still looked like a slam, bam, thank-you ma'm affair. In the interim since 2003, Stephani has given birth to two sons and two clothing lines, Harajuku Lovers and L.A.M.B. She also recorded a couple of solo efforts, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (thus the name of the clothing line), and The Sweet Escape. Now, however, the band, including Stephani, has announced its intention to return to the concert circuit and the recording studio in 2009.

Natalie Imbruglia burst upon the music scene in 1997 with a hit single, Torn. The Australian-born singer, who writes much of her own material, followed up her success with three albums over the course of the next eight years. The first, Left in the Middle, quickly went platinum, breaking the sales records of similar new artists. The last new album, Counting Down the Days, released in 2005, did not fare so well, although the single Shiver was a chart-topper.

At long last, word is out that a new Imbruglia album is on its way. The singer formed her own label for this one, and has partnered with some industry giants such as David A. Stewart of the Eurythmics in hopes of bringing home some more platinum.

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