News Roundup: Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen

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You mean there’s more? Paul McCartney (who just picked up the Gershwin Prize from the White House) will receive a 2010 Kennedy Center Honor in December, alongside country music icon Merle Haggard and Broadway composer/lyricist Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles).

“President Kennedy was such an icon for us in the ’60s and his presidency was so inspiring for so many people that it is a great pleasure for this kid from Liverpool to receive this honor,” McCartney said in a statement, while Haggard compared the news of the award to a “nice kick in the stomach.”

Guns N’ Roses original bassist Duff McKagan has left Jane’s Addiction after only five months in the band. However, his presence will be a lasting one.

“We wanted to thank Duff for helping us write songs for our new record,” write Jane’s in a statement. “We love the songs we worked on with him — and the gigs were a blast — but musically we were all headed in different directions. From here Duff is off to work on his own stuff so we wish him all the best.”

Billy Bragg is teaming with producer/singer-songwriter Joe Henry and Rosanne Cash for his next album, the followup to 2008’s Mr. Love and Justice. Bragg tells Billboard that he and Cash have been sending Henry “bits of songs…and trusting him to collate it into something we’ll enjoy,” and that the collaborative effort was inspired in part by his work with Wilco on the Mermaid Avenue albums.

Congratulations to Lee Brice, who’s “Love Like Crazy” is the new record-holder for the longest running country song on the Billboard Charts. The song, which first debuted on the Billboard Country Songs chart in September 2009, 55 weeks ago, recently moved to #3, it’s highest position yet. The song, off Brice’s debut album, Love Like Crazy, has sold 503,000 downloads. The previous record holder was “Bouquet of Roses,” by Eddy Arnold, which spent 54 weeks on the chart in 1948.

The once reclusive Leonard Cohen has played close to 240 shows since taking to the road in 2008 for a celebrated world tour. The singer-songwriter, who turns 76 this month, has announced that he’ll play four final shows this year. The first will be at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Concert Hall on December 4. The second stop will be at Rose Quarter Theatre of the Clouds in Portland, Oregon December 8. And on December 10 and 11, Cohen and his band will end the tour at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Songs From The Road, a DVD chronicling the tour, will hit stores September 14.


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