HOT DISH: Tim This and Tim That

Charlie, Lonestar, Buddy and a Couple of Tracys Help the Kids at Christmas

(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 CMT.com.)

Nelly and Tim McGraw are spending their sixth week at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Mainstream Top 40 chart with “Over and Over.” Nelly is the only male I know with that particular moniker. Now, I know a whole lot of females named Nellie and Nell. Nelly is not one of them.

Surely by now you have heard that NBC finished first in ratings on Thanksgiving Eve because of Tim McGraw’s special Here and Now. Tim’s show was the top-rated concert on network TV in over a year. Listen up! Let me ask, why do they have all that goofy reality stuff on television? Why don’t they have more music specials like Tim’s? Hear me out, you TV programmers: Blue-collar America wants blue-collar music and blue-collar comedy.

Tim recently performed a benefit concert in his father’s name at Florida State University in Tallahassee and raised $1.2 million. Tim’s dad, legendary baseball player Tug McGraw, went to be with the Lord about 11 months ago. The Tug McGraw Scholarship Fund, a fully endowed scholarship, will be distributed annually to members of the FSU baseball program.

Stork News
A couple of months back when Martina McBride publicly said she might have another baby, hubby John looked stunned. John is no longer stunned. The couple announced over the Thanksgiving holiday that they are expecting a mid-June delivery. Let’s see, Martina’s tourmate, Alan Jackson, has three girls. John’s former boss, Garth Brooks, has three girls. And the McBrides’ close buddies, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, have three girls. At the moment, Martina and John have two daughters: Delaney, 9, and Emma, 6.

Trace Gets Early Christmas Present
Christmas came early for Trace Adkins and his wife, Rhonda, when she delivered their third daughter just after noon Friday (Dec. 3) at a Nashville hospital. The little girl, who weighed 5 pounds 9 ounces, has been named Trinity Lee Adkins. It’s Trace and Rhonda’s third child. He has two teenage daughters from a previous marriage.

Thanks To …
All heart, Charlie Daniels, Lonestar, Buddy Jewell and both Tracys — Lawrence and Byrd — are the reason 300 children will enjoy Christmas. A recent sold-out concert in Nashville netted enough for each kid to have $300 to spend at Wal-Mart when they’re loaded up on hillbilly buses for a shopping spree on Dec. 14. Country music bus drivers who host the event tell me some of the kids want to buy a dress or shoes for their mama before they get anything for themselves. If that don’t touch your heart, your heart ain’t working.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and there is a God smiling down on Charlie, the Tracys, Lonestar and Buddy.

January Tours
Getting an early start on the new year, Dierks Bentley who spent only 29 days home in Music Town this year, will hook up with the cowboy — the great George Strait — on Jan. 13 in Charlotte, N.C., for the debut of a 19-city tour that runs through March 5. Capitol Records newcomer Amber Dotson, a Texas native, is the opening act.

Brad Paisley hits the road Jan. 14 in Verona, N.Y., for the Mud & Suds tour with Sara Evans and Andy Griggs.

He Loved Waylon
Having lunch after church at Pargo’s, a beautiful lady approached our table and asked, “Aren’t you Hazel?”

I nodded yes.

She explained how her son had recognized me at Sapporo restaurant a couple of years back from seeing me on TV. She also reminded me that he talked with me about my knowing Waylon. “You sent him the I’ve Always Been Crazy: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings CD,” she offered.

It all came back to me — the pale little boy, maybe 8 or 10 years old, who’d lost his hair from chemo but was so alive and happy and smiling.

“He loved that album so much,” the mother added. “He played it all the time.” Dropping her head, sadly she said, “He died four weeks ago. Our only child.”

That was a hard one, but I managed to get through it OK. It seemed like I had an adrenalin rush and was able to say to her, “Waylon would have loved that little boy. Merry Christmas.”

McCready Gets Probation
Mindy McCready pleaded guilty in a Williamson County, Tenn., court to prescription fraud. The singer of the 1996 No. 1 hit, “Guys Do It All the Time,” was ordered to serve three years supervised probation, perform 200 hours of community service, pay a fine of $4,000 and have random drug tests. McCready was arrested when she presented a fraudulent prescription for the potent painkiller OxyContin to a Nashville-area pharmacy.

This is a crying shame for a talented girl who not too long ago had the world at her feet. A great singer, Mindy was set for a brilliant career. She was also once engaged to marry actor Dean Cain, best known for his role in the ’90s TV series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Fun Liners
Sarah Jessica Parker got fully dressed to attend Dolly Parton’s recent concert in Atlantic City, N.J.

Didja know the voice singing the Hoyt Axton-penned song, “Joy to the World,” for Target’s holiday commercials is our own Gretchen Wilson?

The grand marshal of Nashville’s Christmas Parade was the inimitable Phil Vassar.

The Honky Tonk Tailgate Party tour — with Rhett Akins, Chad Brock, David Kersh and Daryle Singletary, along with my favorite honky-tonker, Mark Chesnutt — hits Las Vegas this week to perform at the kickoff of the 2004 National Finals Rodeo. Wranglers will look fine on them boys’ backside.

Ricky Skaggs and the Whites joined Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell at the Ryman Auditorium for the lighting of the Christmas tree and an old-time singalong. They will perform their Christmas show at the Ryman on Dec. 17.

Wonder if Julia Roberts named her new daughter, Hazel, after me?

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and family’s Frist Center for the Arts in Nashville will highlight the work of costume designer Manuel beginning Dec. 17. Manuel’s tailor-made clothes have covered the backs of Porter Wagoner, Johnny Cash, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Marty Stuart and Dwight Yoakam, to name a few.

On March 4, the New Faces Show at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville will feature Blue County, Billy Currington, Josh Gracin, Julie Roberts and Sugarland.

Do not blink while watching Brad Paisley’s new video Mud on the Tires, and you might spot li’l old mud-pie maker me.

Look for Trisha Yearwood in the December issue of Women’s Daily. She’s talking about her new music coming out in 2005.

With a house filled with dog lovers, I feel obliged to send sympathy to Trent Willmon. His blue heeler, Blu, was hit by a car and killed while he on a Caribbean cruise with Montgomery Gentry.

Fiddler Charlie Cline, a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, recently passed away in Jasper, Ala.

Brooks & Dunn raised more than $75,000 for the T.J. Martell Foundation at their Stars & Guitars charity concert here in Twang Town.

With all the lip-synching on the NBC-TV special during the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York City, our very own Kenny Chesney made me awfully proud when he reared back on his boots and sang live with his keyboard player.

Hot news! Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow are set to perform a duet on the Billboard Music Awards.

CMT Crossroads with Montgomery Gentry and Lynyrd Skynyrd will air Dec. 10.

Eye saw Catherine Britt and her band rehearsing “In the Pines” backstage at the Opry. At 19, Catherine knows more about the roots of country music — and why there is such a thing — than most musicologists. If there’s any fairness left, this girl will become a superstar.

Rebecca Lynn Howard and Billy Dean are the opening acts for Kenny Rogers’ holiday tour that ends Dec. 23.

George Strait’s Honkytonkville is now certified platinum.

Beginning next year, Imagination Library, a program created by Dolly Parton, will be extended to all children in Tennessee. From birth until kindergarten, children are given a book each month. Parton began this practice in the mountains of Sevier County, where she was born and raised, and has given away 1 million books.

Vince Gill and Amy Grant kicked off their holiday concert tour last week in Baton Rouge, La. At their San Antonio show, plumb perfect Vince and his lovely wife will broadcast the show live over the Armed Forces Radio Television Network to the American troops in Baghdad. The show will be taped to air elsewhere to U.S. military personnel in the Middle East, Europe and the Pacific. Don’t you agree? Angelic needs to be added to the tour title of Simply Christmas With Amy Grant and Vince Gill.

Steve Azar received a BMI million-aire certification for “I Don’t Have to Be Me (‘Til Monday)” signifying 1 million radio plays of the song.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Red Velvet Cake.