HOT DISH: Brad Paisley Playing in the “Mud on the Tires” Video

Jimmy Dickens Continues a Streak of Appearances With His Younger Friend

(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

Not to give away Brad Paisley’s upcoming video secrets, I will tell you that I was at the video shoot, and I saw humans as muddy as hogs. Looked to me like they’d been wallowing in a pig’s pen. A couple mud-covered girls from Illinois told me they drove all night long to be in Brad’s video. A couple of guys, mud dripping from their fingers, said they drove down from Michigan for the event. Must’ve been a hundred or more muddy mortals and one just as muddy SUV.

Little Jimmy Dickens, 83, told me he has been in every Paisley video. “I would not have missed this one for the world.”

“You’re gonna get muddy,” I warned.

“Won’t be the first time,” he replied quickly.

No, I will not reveal what Little Jimmy did in the video. Nor will I reveal what role Brad played. Nor do I have an inkling as to where Brad gets all his crazy video ideas.

“Does Mona [his wife] mind you being in this muddy video?” I asked Little Jimmy.

“Anything for Brad,” he replied.

Little Jimmy Dickens is the last of the first great superstars. He is the most loved artist at the Opry. He’s stood in the wings and watched close friends like Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins perform, and he stood in a pew and watched as they were laid to rest. Last man standing.

Paisley adores the little man from West Virginia, who stands 4 feet 11 inches tall, and so does Vince Gill. All who know Little Jimmy love him. Nicknamed “Tater” by his late pal, Hank Williams, Little Jimmy enjoys sharing stories of touring with Hank and others.

I thoroughly enjoy visiting with Little Jimmy any chance I get. I loved watching him enjoy being a part of Brad’s “Mud on the Tires” video.

Just so you know what I know. Brad drove his blue Corvette to the mud fight. Could not help but notice it sports a license tag that reads: GTR PLR. If you can’t figure that out, you ain’t country.

As for me, well, I ended up with mud in my ear.

What Do I Think About the CMA Awards in NYC?
In my humble opinion, it virtually sucks. Average supporters of country music like myself can’t afford the round-trip airfare, the exorbitant hotel prices, the expensive cab rides or overpriced restaurants.

I love country music with all my heart, and I feel like a dagger has been stuck there. Right in my heart. Country music is not my way to make a living. It’s my life.

Taking what I love and shoving it off to New York. Poking a guitar to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Why, he didn’t know which end to play. Trying to whitewash the
decision with, “We’re not getting through to advertisers” is the biggest crock since CMA tried to push that silly slogan “Admit it, you love it” down our throats.

Listen, New York is a wonderful town. Broadway has the finest of shows, greatest restaurants, classiest entertainment. It’s a worldwide fashion center and television mecca. Advertisers out the posterior. A busy, beautiful city filled with arts and culture and limos hauling the famed and near-famed. I have nothing against New York. But the place for the CMA Awards to originate is Music City, not New York City.

Yes, I love New York, but I don’t want the music I love being hauled off to New York to the tune of $30 million in revenue for the city when Nashville needs the funds to paint the bathrooms of our schools to hopefully help quench the reek of urine. (If you doubt this, I will personally show and tell.) More money for New York has been Bloomberg’s main mayoral concern since 9/11, and I don’t blame him.

Listen, I can hear him and the powers-that-be saying, “Yeah, let’s go for country music in New York. Those people down in Nashville with their whining mountain songs move so slow and are so duh. Why, we’ll have them and their money up here before they have a chance to brush their tooth or bake their cornbread or cook up some grits.”

The whole kit and caboodle make us out to be a bunch of incestuous illiterates. They do not have one country radio station in the entire town. Lord knows there’s no space to park all the hillbilly tour buses. It’s almost as crazy as sending tourists elsewhere by tearing down Opryland theme park. It just makes no sense whatsoever.

Tell you what. Let’s just have Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Parade in Nashville this year! We have no Macy’s in Nashville? Well hell, there’s no country radio station in New York. How do you like that picture?

Sara’s Baby
Sara Evans sang demos all day Tuesday (Oct. 5). The next morning, she gave birth to a 7-pound baby daughter, Audrey Elizabeth. Her manager, Brenna Van Meter, called me at 8:30 a.m. to say, “It’s a girl, born around 8 a.m., and she is beautiful.” She joins 5-year-old brother Avery and 18-month-old sister Olivia. Sara is doing fine.

Yes, Sara had child No. 3, and she has the No. 1 single in country music, “Suds in the Bucket.” It’s great to see a female at No. 1. Something we haven’t seen enough of lately.

Hurricane Ivan Had No Mercy
Ray Stevens bought his dream house right on the beach facing Gulf Shores, Ala., with the ocean being his front yard. He paid $1.2 million for the estate and had $500,000 in renovations. It was exactly what Ray wanted. They had to bulldoze the property this week. Hurricane Ivan had no mercy. Insurance? Well, people who seem to know tell me that downstairs property facing the Gulf is noninsurable.

Lot of History Between Loretta Lynn and the Wilburn Brothers
The Wilburn Brothers were a successful recording act signed to Decca Records and became Opry members in 1953. As businessmen, they owned the publishing company Sure-Fire Music and Wil-Helm Talent Agency. In 1961, the brothers became involved with the career of Loretta Lynn. She was signed to Sure-Fire Music as a songwriter and was booked by the Wil-Helm Agency. They managed Loretta’s career, recorded her at Sure-Fire and took her to Owen Bradley at Decca Records who signed her to a record deal. By now, the Wilburn Brothers had one of the most successful syndicated television shows in country music featuring Loretta. Sure-Fire became a gold mine with the 114 songs including “Coal Miner’s Daughter” penned by Loretta. Messy headlines from court battles appeared in the news in 1971 when Loretta left the brothers and sued them for royalties.

Both Teddy Wilburn, the songwriter, and Doyle Wilburn, the businessman, are dead. Loretta signed her business deal with them. After almost 40 years, Loretta wants her songs back and is suing the Wilburn Brothers estate. The estate is in litigation. Teddy, who died this year, chose to leave a good deal of his holdings to colleges in the area instead of family.

This ’n’ That
The Dixie Chicks are on the road with James Taylor in support of the presidential bid of John Kerry. Lead singer Natalie Maines remarked, “Since the incident, when I go into a restaurant to order I wonder if the chef is Republican and will spit in my food.”

“Wow!” is how viewers describe Tim McGraw’s performance in Friday Night Lights. Both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety gave McGraw a positive nod. Matter of fact, Tim is the actor most everyone seems to be focused on, not the main star Billy Bob Thornton who went on the Today show talking only about his role in the movie. Billy Bob shared excerpts of himself and did not mention McGraw at all.

Supergroup Diamond Rio headlined the first Tony Stewart Foundation Benefit Concert in Paducah, Ky. Joining in the fun — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who swore when he should have prayed), Kyle Petty and Trace Adkins.

The great Travis Tritt donated $40,000 to the Red Cross for the state of Alabama’s hurricane relief. Now there is a hillbilly saint.

Hot off starring in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding and playing the role of Aidan Shaw opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the award-winning TV series Sex in the City, John Corbett has signed with the indie label Broken Bow Records. The West Virginian wants to be one of us. Imagine that!

Clay Walker sang at his friend Kevin Costner’s recent wedding a couple weeks back, and now he’s off to Scotland’s Dunhill Links Championship with the actor to participate in the $5 million pro-am tourney. I’d prefer if Clay was singing hits myself.

I look forward to Nov. 8 when BMI honors icon Loretta Lynn during ceremonies at its annual banquet. That is something to look forward to.

Neal McCoy and his wife Melinda hosted the 10th annual East Texas Angel Network Benefit in Longview. Guests included Charley Pride, Bryan White, Kevin Sharp, Leslie Thatcher, retired Gen. Tommy Franks and the great Karl Malone of the Los Angeles Lakers, who wrote out a $100,000 check in support of the organization that helps children with terminal illnesses or life-threatening diseases.

World traveler Darryl Worley is off to perform in Japan and to entertain the troops in South Korea during October. In December, he’ll be back singing for the troops in the Middle East.

Eddy Arnold Pays His Rent
Today I got my toe stepped on, my finger mashed and my car bumped. It was Senior Day at the grocery store, which reminded me of a story the legendary Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold swears to be true.

Eddy, who has more money than Garth Brooks, lives in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood where he owns lots of property. Eddy, 86, is real tight with a buck. He drives a faded well-used Toyota, and I’m told he still picks up his fan mail at the post office himself.

Eddy said he was on his riding mower mowing his yard one day when a lady stopped her car and motioned for him to cut off the machine. He did.

“Sir,” she said. “I’ve just moved in down on the next block, and I don’t know anybody in the neighborhood. Tell me, how much do you charge to mow a yard this size?”

Smiling Eddy replied, “Well, the lady at this house feeds me three square meals a day and lets me sleep with her every once in a while.”

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Puree of Pumpkin Soup.