Singer/songwriter Paul Simon will replace Paul McCartney at this year's 25th annual Kennedy Center honors. McCartney recently withdrew citing unexplained personal obligations. The Kennedy Center said McCartney would be on the 2003 list. Simon, who gained fame as half of the duo of Simon & [Art] Garfunkel, will join previously-announced honorees conductor James Levine, and actors James Earl Jones, Chita Rivera and Elizabeth Taylor for the White House reception and gala performance scheduled for the weekend of December 7 in Washington, D.C.

More than 2,000 people attended the funeral of Drowning Pool lead singer Dave Williams in Plano, Texas, August 18. Williams was found dead August 14 in his bunk on the band's tour bus when the group arrived in Virginia for a stop on the Ozzfest tour. No cause of death has been determined. Williams' death forced Drowning Pool off the tour. Beginning with the festival's performance in Denver on August 22, Drowning Pool's place on Ozzfest was taken by former Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and his band. Lee will remain for the remainder of the tour, which is scheduled to close September 8 in Dallas.

On August 27, the Dixie Chicks' much-anticipated new album, Home, will be released on the trio's new label Open Wide Records. They created the imprint with Sony Music Entertainment following a legal battle with the record company. The trio claimed Sony was guilty of "systematic thievery" to cheat them out of royalties.

On August 29, Sister Hazel, the Pat McGee Band and Edwin McCain will board the Carnival cruise ship Sensation to headline a 5-day party cruise. "The Rock Boat" cruise will depart from Tampa, Florida and make stops in Key West and Nassau. Fans will attend shows and jam sessions, plus have to opportunity to mingle with the artists.



Enrique Iglesias, Alan Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin and Al Green are among the performers confirmed to appear at the Concert For America, to be taped September 9 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Also scheduled to perform at Josh Groban, Renee Fleming, Placido Domingo, and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted my Leonard Slatkin. The special will be broadcast September 11 by NBC as part of the network's coverage of the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York City. NBC news anchorman Tom Brokaw will host the broadcast. First Lady Laura Bush serves as honorary chairperson of the event.

The Rolling Stones have announced that their forthcoming world tour will be called "Licks", a tie-in with their Forty Licks double-CD to be released October 1. The North American leg of the tour opens September 3 in Boston, and concludes in Denver on February 1, 2003. Following the 40 shows in 27 U.S. and Canadian cities, The Rolling Stones will take "Licks" to Mexico, Australia, Europe, and, for the first time, China. The North America dates will play a mixture of venues, including stadiums, arenas, theatres and clubs. The concerts will feature three different presentations and setlists. The first leg of the "Licks" tour will present an eclectic mix of opening acts, including The Pretenders, Buddy Guy, Dr. John and Shemekia Copeland, Soulive, Jonny Lang, The Strokes, No Doubt, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Shaggy and Sheryl Crow.

Plans are confirmed for two benefit concerts to honor Timothy White, Billboard magazine's editor in chief. White died of a heart attack on June 27. The shows, both named "Music To Me Ears: In Celebration of Timothy White," will take place on October 7 at Boston's FleetCenter and on October 8 at New York's Madison Square Garden. John Mellencamp, Sheryl Crow, Don Henley, Sting, Jimmy Buffett and Brian Wilson have already committed to appear at both shows. James Taylor will appear only at the Boston concert. Other artists may be added. Proceeds will go to White's wife Judy and their twin sons Alexander and Christopher.

This year's Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day festival will be held August 30 September 1 in Aspen, Colorado. The event will include appearances by Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Nickel Creek, Macy Gray, Phil Lesh & Friends and many others. The annual festival was founded in 1991. It was inspired by its sister festival, which is held in the small southern village of Marciac, France.

On August 31, the benefit concert "Legends Beneath The Buttes 2002" will take place near Crow Butte, Nebraska. Performers will include Country stars Billy Joe Shaver, Hank Williams III and Willie Nelson, who will dedicate his performance to his late friend Waylon Jennings. The concert will benefit farmers and ranchers in Nebraska's Dawes County.


On August 29, the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards will be presented at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Eminem, P.O.D. and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott lead this year's contenders with six nominations each. Skakira, 'N Sync, B2K, Usher, Britney Spears, Pink, Will Smith and Enrique Iglesias are among the other multiple nominees. Performers on the show will include Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Sheryl Crow, Pink, Shakira, P. Diddy and Ashanti.

Alison Krauss and Union Station earned 12 nominations for the upcoming International Bluegrass Music Awards (IBMA). They were nominated for their latest CD "New Favorite" and for their work on the Down From the Mountain album. Following close behind is the Del McCoury Band with 11 nominations. The 13th annual IBMA ceremony will take place on October 17 in Louisville, Kentucky. Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless will host the show.