HOT DISH: Shania and the CMA Awards

Nashville Gearing Up for Awards Show and a Superstar's Downtown Performance

(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

Well, it’s push-up bra time again in Tennessee. Time for girls to drag out long dresses to see if we can push and shove around body parts and maybe make ’em fit. Until now, with the CMA Awards staring us in the face, we didn’t realize how much we’ve consumed and how little we’ve exercised.

On the other side of the coin, heaven forbid, our male counterparts have to get fitted for a tux. Can’t you girls just hear those big, burly men whining? Acting like babies, they carry on and cuss like they’re having wisdom teeth extracted.

It’s exciting, though. Adding to the excitement, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America is loading up and hauling it down to Music Town on Nov. 5 to broadcast the first of a half-dozen live performances in its Women Rule concert series. Weather permitting, a live Shania Twain concert will originate from Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville. Streets will be roped off by 6 a.m. Shania will sing about four songs, including her chart-rising duet with Billy Currington, “Party for Two.”

Talking about A-team entertainers, the CMA has ’em this year. Tim McGraw, who gave a stellar performance on the Radio Music Awards this past week, will open the CMA Awards on Nov. 9 with “How Bad Do You Want It.” Special guest Twain will repeat “Party for Two” with Currington in hopes of kicking the single up a notch at radio. They’ve even conjured up a singalong of “Hey Good Lookin'” by Jimmy Buffett with buds Alan Jackson, George Strait, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and Clint Black. Like on the new single, Patty Loveless will add vocals to Jackson’s chart-climbing “Monday Morning Church,” and Brad Paisley will be joined by duet partner Alison Krauss to perform their nominated hit, “Whiskey Lullaby.” Horizon Award nominees Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Josh Turner and Julie Roberts are also set to perform. Look at the Horizon lineup! These artists are already household names. Everybody even knows Dierks’ dog is named Jake.

I wonder if Brooks & Dunn have been taking Vince Gill hosting lessons? If so, I look for them to bolt on stage riding scooters with nude blow-up dolls behind like they have on the road, that is, if the Coors twins are not available. Between talking, B&D will perform, as will Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, Rascal Flatts, Montgomery Gentry, Chesney, Keith and the cowboy, King Strait. I know Kix and Ronnie will do a grand hosting job, but I will miss Vince Gill. Vince had that gig down pat.

Skaggs Family Christmas
The Skaggs Family Christmas concert with Ricky Skaggs and the Whites, along with the marvelous Molly Kate and Luke Skaggs and the lovely Rachel White, will appear at several venues during the holiday season, debuting in Wheeling, W.Va., on Nov. 13. The final show of the season will be at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Dec. 17. My preacher, Brother Terry Clapp, and his lovely wife Frankie plan to attend the Nashville concert. Brother Clapp finally agreed with his surgeon to have hip replacement surgery but only after the Skaggs-Whites concert. Sounds to me like the preacher is putting the music first, the Lord second and surgery third!

Music Town Saddened
On Oct. 25 at around 1:30 a.m., police in Hendersonville, Tenn., were called to the home of country singer and MCA recording artist Gary Allan and they found the body of his wife, Angela Herzberg, who had been shot. Medical examiner Dr. Bruce Levy concluded the wound was self-inflicted. The couple married in 2001 and each had three children from previous marriages. They moved here from California three years ago.

Angela Herzberg was described to me as a caring person who served as a room mother at the children’s school. It was Angela who insisted that Gary’s three children move from California to be near their father, and it was Angela who chose the house for Gary’s ex-wife and his children when they moved to Hendersonville last year, according to my source.

What makes it doubly sad is the fact that Gary’s father is sick, and he’d just accepted the fact that his dad would not get better.

From all the people I know, myself included, we send our love, our sympathy and our prayers to Gary and the six children.

A private service was held Thursday (Oct. 28) at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Madison, Tenn.

What ’n’ Where
Scotty Emerick’s album is for sale on eBay for $258. Scratch my head. Do I have one of those?

I didn’t like it when good guy Phil Vassar had to follow. It’s great to see the Lynchburg, Va., native in the lead again with his second No. 1 single, “In a Real Love.” Lead on, Phil. Lead on.

Dierks Bentley lives on a boat. He despises landscaping.

Billy Ray Cyrus has a new single titled “I Want My Mullet Back.”

Nancy “Mrs. George” Jones is hosting a baby shower at the Jones estate in Franklin, Tenn., for Rhonda “Mrs. Trace” Adkins, who is in the family way with a third daughter. Trace has two daughters from a former marriage making him the father of five daughters.

Willie Nelson has, no doubt, performed more duets than anyone on the planet. Asked if there was anyone left he’d like to sing with Willie replied, “Well, you know, Barbra Streisand and I have never done a song together.”

Speaking of Willie, I see where he’s added two new members to his Family Band, his young sons, Lucas and Micah. Willie’s daughter Carla married his bass player Bee Spears’ son. Another daughter, Paula, is probably Mrs. Brent Jerome Hines by now. Carla and Paula are daughters of ex-wife, Connie, and are beauties like their blond mama.

Martina McBride has joined forces with Hallmark to release the special CD, My Heart, as the greeting card company’s featured artist for Valentine’s Day 2005. The eight-song disc that includes her duet of “Valentine” with Jim Brickman and two new recordings will be available exclusively at Hallmark Gold stores. Give the one you love a valentine with meaning.

Buddy Jewell has been named the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation’s new country ambassador.

Brad Cotter will travel to Bosnia, Kosovo and Germany during the Thanksgiving holidays as part of a USO tour.

Terri Clark was in L.A. shooting a video for her new single, “The World Needs a Drink.”

Sheb Wooley wrote the theme for Hee Haw, and Sheb wrote and recorded the 1968 smash “Purple People Eater.” Wooley is known by Western fans as Pete Nolan in the hit TV series Rawhide. He died just days after his friend and neighbor, Johnny Cash, passed away and was remembered this past weekend (Oct. 29-31) in East Mountain, Texas, where Ty Herndon, Linda Davis, Jeff Carson and others performed during a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Lifetime St. Louis Cardinal fan Joe Nichols appeared on ESPN’s Cold Pizza from the baseball city. It didn’t help the Cardinals win, however. Martina McBride and Gretchen Wilson performed during the team’s losing streak.

Why was Reba McEntire cut out of the Ray Charles tribute special on CBS?

When young Josh Turner recently traveled to the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, he went to sing the national anthem at the Subway 500 race. He was also on hand the day before at the Craftsman truck race, watching Bobby Labonte streak around the track in the No. 47 Josh Turner Silverado with his likeness painted across the hood.

Travis Tritt appeared on The View this past week from Texas.

I’ve got the skinny! Kenny Chesney fans, keep your britches on. Kenny has recorded an island-flavored CD titled Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair scheduled for release in January. And this time, Kenny, the former Tennessee mountain boy, has admitted that by singing songs from the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, he is sharing his heart with his fans.

Not only was Tim McGraw named country artist of the year at the 2004 Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas, he received a standing ovation for giving the finest performance of the entire night. Some of the stuff on that show was so bad, I had to leave the room. Wait a minute, Ms. Bossy Country Music, let’s not overlook the fact that McGraw and Nelly have a duo smash on the hip-hop chart.

Just out! Tim’s NBC-TV special in November will feature him singing a duet with wife Faith Hill.

New Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Kris Kristofferson will make a rare appearance at the Ryman Auditorium on Nov. 11. It’s just him and his guitar. Every songwriter on planet Earth should attend this event.

If you dig those blue collar guys like I do, you will want to know that Bill Engvall has a new Warner Bros. CD titled A Decade of Laughs.

Members of Clay Walker’s Crazy4Clay fan club decided to follow their leader’s example and raised funds for his Band Against MS (BAMS) foundation. They set up an e-Clay auction selling autographed memorabilia to the highest bidders. They raised $30,000 to go toward funding research that will lead to a cure for the disease. Most of us are aware that Clay has multiple sclerosis.

Wynonna’s 20th anniversary tour, called Her Story: Scenes From a Lifetime, will benefit YouthAIDS, a charity aimed at preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS to young people throughout the world.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Chili Beans.