HOT DISH: Kenny’s Happiness and Cheatin’ Songs

Cross Canadian Ragweed's Traffic Jam and Earl Scruggs' Electric Fence

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

Kenny’s Happiness
Since Kenny Chesney has said the marital vows, I find myself repeating, “I hope Kenny is happy,” over and over. “I hope Kenny is happy.” It’s just that he was out there and free for oh so forever, and at 37, he said those two words that changed not only his life, but it changed country music history. Here we were coasting along with all the unmarried country cuties, hotties as hot as nature allows — besides Kenny, there’s Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Dwight Yoakam, Keith Anderson and any one of ’em special enough to make even an old heart like mine skip a beat. What each one gives us musically is as good as it gets. Nobody fills venues like Kenny, nobody plays a guitar hotter or better than Keith Urban, nobody, but nobody is as cute as Dierks Bentley with his head full of curly hair — don’t blame the girls — why even his dog Jake worships him! Long-legged Dwight Yoakam in those skinny jeans twisting around before breakfast on Imus in the Morning this week awakening all parts of any American female who tuned in. And newcomer Keith Anderson has got babes at People mag breathing heavy over his photo this week. Shoot, if those guys didn’t sing, they’d still be the cutest guys in town. Their singing is like adding whipped cream to a banana split. Yummy.

After all these years, tears and songs George and Norma Strait, Alan and Denise Jackson, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Martina and John McBride, Clint and Lisa Hartman-Black, Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Travis and Theresa Tritt managed to keep it in the road. Vince Gill and Amy Grant finally have the happiness they deserve. It appears Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have found the fountain of forever.

Lordy, who is gonna write them cheating songs when nobody lives ’em anymore?? Maybe we got some misbehaving songwriters.
Wait a minute — there’s always the best album of the year — the one by Lee Ann Womack full of cheating and truth.

Willie’s Broke Record?
Cross Canadian Ragweed sold tickets to 23,656 fans breaking Willie Nelson’s attendance record on his own home turf of Dallas, Texas, at the Lone Star Park. Not only that, for miles around unexpected traffic was down to a standstill. Police had to extract the band’s bus from the gridlock and escort them to the venue. Can you believe, vendors sold plumb out of the 3,000 gallons of beer! According to their label, Universal Records, the band is putting the finishing touches on their highly anticipated new CD due out late this year.

90 Degree Happenings
It is 90 plus degrees in Music City. Whew! The music is hot and so are we.
Word reached me that the great Earl Scruggs has a beagle dog he is plumb crazy over. Being sure the dog got proper exercise, Scruggs got him one of those collars that work with an invisible electric fence he had installed in the yard. Doubting the contraption worked, plus being from the old school like me, Earl put the dog’s collar around his neck and edged to the invisible fence. The master banjo player learned the hard way his beagle was safe when he was knocked for a loop.

I hear the late Jimmy Martin’s children are starting a bluegrass band a-singing their late daddy’s songs.

Eye saw Elvis Presley’s stepmom, Dee Presley, cruising onto Old Hickory Boulevard in Madison [Tenn.] driving her white Cadillac.

Everywhere is where Keith Anderson has been since People named him one of the 50 Hottest Bachelors. His single “Pickin’ Wildflowers” is No. 10 on the charts and No. 2 on CMT’s video chart thanks to NBC’s Today Show, People and CMT’s Top Twenty Countdown. It helped. His CD, Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll took a 26 percent sales jump.

John Carter Cash, only son of the late Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash has no desire to be a performer. He’s happy working in the recording studio. His half sister, on the other hand, Carlene Carter, will fill their mother’s shoes July 12-31 at Nashville’s BellSouth Acuff Theatre when she appears in the biographical musical Wildwood Flowers: the June Carter Story. Carlene’s cousin, Lorrie Davis Bennett, daughter of Anita Carter, is also set to appear as her mother. Both girls worked the road with Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters and are great singers.

Remember William Hung, the famed reject from American Idol who pops up here and there on TV? Well, the New York Post wrote a piece saying Hung has recorded his second album which I understand is true. First single from second album is “Achy Breaky Heart” which I also understand is true. However, the Post reports that Billy Ray Cyrus will do a cameo in the video which I understand is not true. BRC said no.

Jett Williams went to the Oval Office to present a Bill Rains bronze sculpture of the daddy she never knew, Hall of Famer Hank Williams to President Bush. Jett does favor her daddy, but she is not blessed to sing like him.

Porter Wagoner: the Rhinestone Troubadour will open at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on July 15 and remain until January 2006. His diverse contributions to the genre such as his long-running syndicated television show, classic hits like “Green, Green Grass of Home,” his tenure as Opry ambassador and his building the career of the great Dolly Parton will all be included. Colorful costumes complete with matching boots, his first guitar, awards and other artifacts will be on display.

Ralph Stanley is resting and recovering at home from five-hour triple-bypass surgery in a Virginia Hospital. The operation was uneventful and successful, and Stanley is expected to make a full recovery.

If you love good harmony singing of songs originally performed by brother acts, then you will not walk, but run and buy A Tribute To Brother Duets by Jesse McReynolds and Charles Whitstein on the Pinecastle label. Spotlighting songs like the Monroe Brothers’ “What Would You Give,” Delmore Brothers’ “Blues Stay Away From Me,” Stanley Brothers’ “The White Dove” and the Louvin Brothers’ “When I Stop Dreaming,” just to name a few.

I hope and pray all the record company mergers are for the good of country music. After 40 years at 34 Music Square [in Nashville], Sony Music is moving to 1400 18th Avenue South to join their sister company, RCA Label Group.

Rascal Flatts performed an exclusive online concert for their fan club members. I know less than nothing about this kind of stuff, but it sounds like to me that these guys are putting their fans first. Lord knows, it’s paying off. So far in 2005, they’ve sold more records than any act in the genre.

You Kenny Chesney fans will want to get up a mite earlier Sunday morning, July 24 to watch CBS Sunday Morning. Reigning entertainer of the year for both the CMA and ACM, Chesney allowed, “I certainly don’t think a good ole boy from East Tennessee would be of interest to them. I’m just a regular guy!” Now Kenny, we know better. We know you got a million fans who adore you. We know you got a bank plumb full of money. And the whole world got your number when we learned you love yourself enough to marry an Oscar winning movie star! Saying you are just a good ole Tennessee boy is like Jeff Foxworthy saying he might be a redneck.

Over 40 stellar acts are set to appear during Bluegrass Fan Fest at the Nashville Convention Center Oct. 28-30. Top of the line performers like Alison Krauss & Union Station, the Del McCoury Band, J.D. Crowe & the New South, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, the Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Time Out, the Grascals, Claire Lynch, John Cowan, Tim O’Brien, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Mountain Heart and a passel of others.

Trace Adkins and Waffle House are cooking up a contest. The country hit maker and the 24-hour eatery will award one grand prize winner a three-night/four-day trip for two to New York City Nov. 13-16, 2005, to attend the 39th annual CMA Awards. The contest begins now and ends Sept. 18. Get your entry forms at Waffle House.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Grilled Hamburgers.