The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced its 2007 Honorees. They are pianist Leon Fleisher, singer Diana Ross, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, director Martin Scorsese and actor Steve Martin. Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman released a statement that said, "With their extraordinary talent, creativity, and perseverance, the five 2007 Honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear, and feel the performing arts. We will forever be thankful for the great gift they have shared with us." The 20th annual Kennedy Center Honors gala will take place on December 2. CBS-TV will air the tribute as a two-hour special on December 26.
Later this year, legendary British rock group Led Zeppelin will reunite to perform at a benefit concert. The show will take place at London's 20,000-seat O2 Arena on November 26. Led Zeppelin's surviving members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones will be joined by Jason Bonham, son of the band's late drummer John Bonham, who died in 1980. The group disbanded following his death. Also scheduled to appear at the benefit show are The Who's Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman, Foreigner and Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini. Proceeds will go to the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, which provides scholarships to universities in the U.S., the U.K. and Turkey.
Artists from rock, pop and Country guest on Reba McEntire's new album, Reba Duets, which will be released on September 18. Reba's first release since 2003 features appearances by Kenny Chesney, Don Henley, Justin Timberlake, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn's Ronnie Dunn, Trisha Yearwood, Carole King and Kelly Clarkson. Kelly and Reba's duet version of Clarkson's hit "Because of You" is the album's first single. The song peaked at Number 2 on the Country chart. Reba says, "I was writing my wish list of who I wanted to perform with me on this album, and they're the hardest working people in the music business and that's usually the hardest people to try to find time to come into the studio. But they did that for me, and I appreciated it and I love them for it and that's something I'll never forget. This is an album that will go down in history as probably my favorite album to record because I got to work and sing and be with my friends. Out of everything in this whole career that I can say that I'm the most proud of, are my friends."
On September 18, Arista Records will release Barry Manilow's new album, Greatest Songs of the Seventies. His third in a series of cover songs from the past three decades includes such 1970s favorites as Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Carole King's "You've Got A Friend," Elton John's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were." The collection also features acoustic versions of eight of his classic hits, including "Mandy," "Even Now," "Looks Like We Made It" and "I Write The Songs."
On September 18, ABC-TV will air the two-hour special "Elvis: Viva Las Vegas." Many of today's top stars will perform covers of their favorite Presley songs or talk of the influence he had on them. Scheduled to appear on the show are 50 Cent, Beyonce, Daughtry, Toby Keith, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, and others.
NEW ALBUM RELEASES
New albums scheduled for release on September 18 include: "Left of Seven" by Pat Monahan (Train's lead singer), "Ultimate Victory" by Chamillionaire, "Drastic Fantastic" by KT Tunstall, "All The Lost Souls" by James Blunt, "The Very Best of Diana Krall" by Diana Krall, "90 Millas" by Gloria Estefan, "Playlist" by Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, "Kill To Get Crimson" by Mark Knopfler, "Liberation" by Mya, "Live 1969" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems" (4-CD box set) by Emmylou Harris, "So Uncool" by Keke Palmer and "Goodbye Blue Monday" by Jeremy Fisher.
On September 18, an all-star lineup of artists will be in New York to perform at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial "Dream Concert." They include Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Carlos Santana, Robin Thicke, Garth Broooks, Queen Latifah and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. The show will take place at Radio City Music Hall. Proceeds will help fund the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which is expected to open in 2008 on the National Mall between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials in Washington, D.C.
The 19th Gstaad Festival in Switzerland will be held September 21 and 22. This year's headliner is Country star Randy Travis. Also on the bill are Julie Roberts, Rhonda Vincent and Riders In The Sky.
The 50th annual Monterey Jazz Festival will take place September 21-23 in Monterey, California. Performing at this year's event are Diana Krall, the Terence Blanchard Quintet, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, John McLaughlin, Los Lobos, and many others.
Rihanna took top honors at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, winning the Video of the Year and Monster Single of the Year awards for her smash hit "Umbrella." Other winners at the September 9 ceremony included Gym Class Heroes (Best New Artist), Fall Out Boy (Group of the Year), Justin Timberlake (Male Artist of the Year) and Fergie (Female Artist of the Year).
Emerson Drive led the winners at the September 10 Canadian Country Music Association Awards. The 6-man-band took home the Single of the Year and Video of the Year awards for "Moments" and was also named Group of the Year. In addition, Carolyn Dawn Johnson received the Female Vocalist of the Year honor, Brad Johner was named Male Vocalist of the Year, the band Doc Walker earned this year's Album of the Year trophy for its self-titled release and newcomer Shane Yellowbird won the Chevy Rising Star Award.
TOUR DATES AND INFORMATION
On September 16, Bob Dylan kicked off a U.S. tour in Austin, Texas. Elvis Costello will join the outing one week later (September 22). Shows are scheduled to wrap up on October 26 in Omaha, Nebraska.