HOT DISH: Tim Takes Tour Hiatus for Faith’s Vegas Show

Music Row Has Three-Party Week, Billy Joe Shaver Plans Huge Birthday Bash

(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by former Country Music magazine columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars, she also shares her recipes at

Superstars Sell Out Music Town
Tim McGraw’s recent show gave Music City another sold-out concert and left the fans happy. Most of the country stars live in Nashville, so you never know who will turn up at a concert. For instance, Big & Rich opened the show with what they call “country music without prejudice,” not only bringing Two-Foot Fred and rapping Cowboy Troy along for the ride, but also Muzik Mafia gal pal, double-platinum Gretchen Wilson who delighted the fans with “Redneck Woman.”

The Warren Brothers were able to keep the crowd from screaming, “We want Tim,” with their country-rock performance, but McGraw was the man the fans came to see — and the applause proved he did not disappoint. Performing hit after hit, with new songs offered here and there, the singer was not only pleasing, he was pleased. When he sang “Blank Sheet of Paper,” he brought out his wife, the ever-beautiful Faith Hill, who added harmony vocals, and the song’s co-writers, the Warren Brothers. Tim McGraw may not have the greatest pipes in Music City, but he chooses the best songs and puts on a great concert.

Tim’s taking a two-week hiatus from touring. Read the next item and figure out why. It’s a family affair.

Gotta Have Faith
Except for an occasional cameo with hubby Tim McGraw, Faith Hill has not done a full-fledged concert in four years. Set to perform Aug. 10-14 at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the superstar-actress is in rehearsal in Nashville for the event. Says Faith, “As a performer, there is nothing like being on stage in front of my fans.” In the middle of recording, the award-winning singer deems it an opportunity to include a few new songs in the show. Rumor has it her upcoming album will be more country than the previous one. Tim’s two weeks off is obviously for Faith’s rehearsal and Faith’s show. Faith hasn’t been touring, herself, but she has been on the road with her man.

Three-Party Week Equals Good Biz
Music Row will work a body to death with parties. Montgomery Gentry celebrated this past week with four good reasons: the You Do Your Thing CD certified gold in 30 days, the You Do Your Thing DVD certified gold and “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” hitting No. 1 on the country singles and video charts.

Reba McEntire could have stayed in Hollywood and played her starring role in the hit comedy Reba on the WB and ignored her Music Row cronies. But Reba is somebody who had to celebrate her 22nd No. 1 song, “Somebody,” with what “brung and rooted her” — country music. We at CMT salute Reba McEntire, as did party attendees: Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, Gretchen Wilson, Jamie O’Neal, Steve Azar, Julie Roberts and Jedd Hughes.

Nashville Star winner Brad Cotter invited the chosen few to his home in Opelika, Ala., and offered a tour of the Hank Williams cabin on Lake Martin where the singer allegedly wrote “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and other songs. If my memory serves me correctly, history reveals this is the place where Hank also spent time with Bobbie Jett, who gave birth to a daughter two days after his death in 1953. Known professionally as Jett Williams, Hank’s only daughter eventually was able to claim her family name, fame and inheritance.

A three-party week means business is good in country music.

Billy Joe Reaches Social Security Age
On the eve of the release of his album Billy and the Kid, singer-songwriter extraordinaire Billy Joe Shaver will celebrate his 65th birthday with a performance at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 16. A motley crew of special guests includes greats like Guy Clark, actor Robert Duvall, Jessi (Mrs. Waylon Jennings) Colter, Bruce Robison, Kinky Friedman, Todd Snider, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Jack Ingram, Dale Watson and others. Somebody tell Billy Joe he qualifies for Social Security.

Dr. Stanley Visits the Ryman
Dr. Ralph Stanley made his annual trek to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for the final show of its 2004 bluegrass series. Among the paying customers were the Whites (in the balcony) and Alison Krauss (main floor front). Like the rest of the Stanley addicts, they were there for a Dr. Ralph Stanley fix. He medicates and heals. Lo and behold, the good doctor called the Whites and Krauss onstage. Unrehearsed, the group performed an outstanding a cappella version of “Amazing Grace” led by the undisputed king of a cappella, Dr. Ralph himself, taking the lead while the others answered in angelic harmony. Stanley’s music heals.

“Lots of fun,” said Cheryl White afterwards. “We enjoyed it,” added her father, Buck White. Of course, when you’ve been on a soundtrack together that sold might nigh 8 million copies like O Brother, and you are as talented as the Whites and Alison and Dr. Ralph, rehearsing ain’t necessary. Neither are Pro Tools.

Please Tell Me How This Story Ends
Newcomer Rachel Proctor wrote the Martina McBride hit “Where Would You Be” about not trusting her lover. In reality, it was about her husband, Rob. So she and Rob divorced. The divorce didn’t work out, so the couple remarried in 2002. The re-marriage has not worked out, either, so the couple have now divorced again. Rachel is opening shows for Kenny Chesney, and her twice ex continues to work as Blake Shelton’s road manager. There has to be more to this story than this. Please, tell me how it ends.

Tammy’s Watch
The late Tammy Wynette’s daughter, Jackie Daly, offered her mom’s watch for sale on eBay. According to info listed for the watch: “This is a custom one-of-a-kind watch given to my mother from Burt Reynolds. There is an engraving on the back that states: To Tammy, Love Burt, Dec. 25, 1976. The watch went for $1,025. Daly says she will have more of her mom’s personal items for sale on eBay soon.

Hmmm. I recall in Tammy’s book she wrote how she and Burt were in the hot tub at her Florida home. Burt hyperventilated, his body went limp, and Tammy had a hard time trying to pull lifeless Burt out of the hot tub.

Dolly Update
Dolly Parton announced, “I’m honored to be the girl singer in the Grascals band!” Her red-hot band, the Grascals, consists of seven pros with musical history reading like a country sideman’s “who’s who.” Not only have band members played with the legendary Dolly, they’ve also played with artists as diverse as Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, the Osborne Brothers, Mike Snider, Gail Davies, Larry Cordle and Marty Rabon. The band takes their name from “grass” and “rascals” and fits them to a “T.” The Grascals are in the recording studio this week with Dolly working on her next album, and they will open shows for the superstar beginning in the fall and serve as her band. The Grascals have recorded a yet-to-be titled album for Rounder Records set for a January release that includes a duet with Miss Dolly on the Elvis Presley classic, “Viva Las Vegas.”

Didja Know …
What reviewers are saying about Keith Urban? “2004 is the year of the Urban cowboy.”

Sara Evans, hubby Craig Schelske and kids Avery and Olivia moved into a new house this week.

The inimitable Earl Scruggs and his banjo will appear at the intimate Ford Theater in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum every Tuesday in September.

Trace Adkins’ last four releases were certified gold within the span of a year — Chrome, Greatest Hits Collection Volume I, Comin’ on Strong and the DVD music video collection, Trace Adkins Video Hits.

When the Jenkins visited the Big Apple, they had to take off their stylish stiletto heels and walk barefoot back to their hotel after supper.

Ricky Skaggs new CD is titled Brand New Strings. Bluegrassers need ’em.

Brad Paisley and his wife actress Kim Williams bought 70 acres with an old log house outside Music City near Franklin, Tenn.

Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski will co-host the IBMA Award Show set for Oct. 7 in Louisville.

Collin Raye has signed with the indie label, Infinity. A single release is set for October, with an album due in January 2005.

Chris Cagle had the ride of his life when he flew over Cheyenne, Wyo., with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Terri Clark’s new CD, Greatest Hits 1994-2004, hit the country charts at No. 4.

See this week’s Hot Dish Recipe of the Week: Green Beans.