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DON'T BLAME THE MOVIE: Before O Brother, Where Art Thou? kicked bluegrass back into the music mainstream, a Los Angeles company was releasing instrumental bluegrass tributes to musicians who otherwise, it's safe to say, wouldn't have had a bluegrass album in their future: the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, REM and Led Zepplin, to name a few.

Among the recent tributes released by CMH Records are for Neil Diamond ("I worked two years to get that one approved," producer Jim Silvers tells the Boston Globe), Creed and Phish.

"Bluegrass is having its moment in the sun," says Silvers, a former cattle auctioneer.

That doesn't mean these tribute records should, but some of them are selling up to 35,000 copies apiece _ which means they're outselling most original bluegrass releases.

"You can do anything in bluegrass and it sounds good," says Vassar Clements, who recorded a Grateful Dead tribute for another label.

HE SAID IT; I DIDN'T: "Obviously, ( 'N Sync) can get old or tiring after a while, and you're like, "I want a little bit of a change.' "

Obviously. But that's 'N Sync's Joey Fatone talking to MTV.com about doing his latest movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

In Wedding, which Fatone filmed before last year's universally trashed On the Line with fellow 'N Syncer Lance Bass, he plays the cousin of the main character, played by Nia Vardalos (who is not in 'N Sync). The movie is based on Vardalos' one-woman play about a Greek-American woman who falls in love with a non-Greek and struggles to get her family to accept him.

It's due out April 14.

SOME THINGS ABOUT 'N SYNC DON'T GET TIRING TO SOME PEOPLE: It seems few are taking seriously Britney Spears' denial that she and 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake have broken up.

The worldwide gossip machine, manifested in the recent cover story of US, has "spies" and "friends" insisting Timberlake has dumped Spears; Timberlake spent little time by himself before spending a night grinding with an unidentified woman on the dance floor of a Los Angeles club; and Spears beginning her rebound by flirting and grinding with model Marcus Shenkenburg at a New York club into the wee hours last Friday before heading to Sweden to promote her movie, Crossroads.

Spears's spokeswoman Lisa Kasteler released a statement Wednesday in another attempt to clarify the couple's status.

"Both of them are very busy and focusing on their careers. They love each other very much and have not broken up. The demands on their time have naturally created a significant time apart, which could be misconstrued as a more permanent situation," said the statement, reported by Launch.com.

Of those grinding reports, the statement said Timberlake and Spears "are both young and like to dance."

SOME THINGS ABOUT BRITNEY SPEARS DON'T GET TIRING, EITHER: Spears is planning to open a restaurant in New York by the end of May, Crain's New York Business says.

Among the name candidates for the "American bistro" is Pinky's, which is Spears' nickname. If Justin called her that, bet on it being called something else.

Running the show is Bobby Ochs, a restaurateur who likes to work with celebrities (and I use the term broadly). His previous partners include Marla Maples and Patrick Swayze. They're previous because their Ochs-run establishments are now defunct, Eonline.com says.

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