Gary Susman
July 15, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

If Angelina Jolie’s media ubiquity of late has you wondering where ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton has been lately — well, he hasn’t fallen off the edge of the world. Actually, ”The Edge of the World” is the name of the disc he’s been recording. Sanctuary Records announced Monday that it has signed the actor/writer/director to a record contract and will be releasing ”Edge,” his second CD, on Aug. 5.

Thornton, who used to play drums in touring bands that opened for Ted Nugent, Hank Williams Jr., Richie Havens, and Humble Pie before he went Hollywood, released his first disc, ”Private Radio,” on Uptown/Universal records in 2001. A record in the Americana vein, which included songs like ”Angelina” (sample lyric: ”Angelina what’s come between us?/Could it be the magic and mystery of love?”), it didn’t get great reviews (Entertainment Weekly gave it a D). Nonetheless, Sanctuary chief Merck Mercuriadis said Monday, ”Billy Bob is the real deal. He is a genuine artist who is as powerful behind the microphone as he is in front of the camera.”

On July 22, Thornton is launching a 31-date tour in support of the album, playing county fairs (the tour begins at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, Calif.), club dates, and amphitheater dates opening for Heart, Willie Nelson, and Huey Lewis. The tour winds up Sept. 7 in Columbus, Ohio, at this year’s FarmAid benefit, headlined by Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young.

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