Billboard Bits: Waylon Jennings, Kittie, Ani DiFranco

News on Waylon Jennings, Kittie, Ani DiFranco

Hank IIHank Williams Jr. will be part of the tribute to his friend Waylon Jennings on Saturday (March 23), as part of the star-studded memorial scheduled to be held at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Many of the plans for the event, including the list of artists besides Williams, remain confidential for security reasons. Still, observers expect big names from every music genre. The public will be permitted into limited seating in the balcony.

Jennings died Feb. 13 at his Arizona home after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems. He was 64. He was laid to rest on Feb. 15 following a private graveside service in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Ariz.

Earlier this week, a star-studded musical memorial for influential country music songwriter Harlan Howard was held at the Ryman Auditorium. He died March 3 in Nashville at the age of 74. Jennings recorded more than 40 of Howard's songs during his career.

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KittieFemale hard rock outfit Kittie has replaced bassist Talena Atfield with Jennifer J. Arroyo, formerly of Washington, D.C.-based act Spine. Arroyo will make her live debut with the band March 29 when Kittie kicks off the first leg of its Run Like Hell tour in Manchester, N.H.

"We are so sad and disappointed that Talena chose to leave the band," Kittie collectively said in a statement. "We wish she would have stayed with us, but we view it as an opportunity for a new beginning and promise our fans a more mature and ferocious band with the addition of Arroyo on bass."

Kittie will be on the road in support of its 2001 Artemis release "Oracle." The album debuted last December at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart and No. 57 on The Billboard 200.

Here are Kittie's upcoming tour dates:

March 29: Manchester, N.H. (Chantilies)
March 30: Hartford, Conn. (Hartford Con Expo Center)
March 31: Portland, Maine (State Theatre)
April 7: Grand Rapids, Mich. (Intersection)
April 10: Buffalo, N.Y. (Showplace)
April 11: Providence, R.I. (Lupo's)
April 12: Boston (Karma)
April 13: Albany, N.Y. (Northern Lights)
April 14: Syracuse, N.Y. (Lost Horizon)
April 16: Scranton, Pa. (Tinks)
April 18: State College, Pa. (Crowbar)
April 20: Lancaster, Pa. (Chameleon)
April 21: New York (Irving Plaza)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

AniAni DiFranco, a graduate of the Academy for Visual & Performing Arts, Buffalo, N.Y.'s performing arts high school, will give a portion of the proceeds from an upcoming concert to her alma mater and other financially troubled city schools. The estimated $20,000 gift will be used for musical instruments and equipment and possibly some field trips, which the district eliminated this year because of budget problems, said Kevin Kazmierczak, principal of the Academy for Visual & Performing Arts.

About half of the proceeds from the April 8 show at Shea's Performing Arts Center will go to the arts school, where students use 40-year-old instruments and worn sheet music with missing pages.

DiFranco's recording company, Righteous Babe Records, is based in Buffalo. The artist's latest round of touring begins April 2 in Erie, Pa., and wraps May 3 in Cincinnati.

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