HOT DISH: Mindy McCready Shows How to Destroy a Career

The Singer's Erratic Behavior Led to Her Continuing Trials and Tribulations

(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 hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at

The first time I saw Mindy McCready was on the RCA Label Group’s boat ride down the Cumberland River on the General Jackson showboat during Country Radio Seminar. I saw she was a real cutie as she sidled by me. David Malloy, who was producing her first records, stopped Mindy and told her she needed to meet me.

She was nice enough. However, a teenager just arriving in Nashville and working on their first album does not have enough happening in her career to have already developed an attitude — which Mindy had big time. When I smiled, Mindy sneered.

Those of us who recall when pretty Mindy had her navel pierced, we were sort of shocked when she did such a daring trick as to display it during her first gold album party. I remember like it was yesterday how Mindy turned on the tears as she said thanks. She was like an actress, but those of us who saw her performance that day are now mad or sad.

Never in all my years, have I ever seen anybody destroy their own successful career like Mindy did. Don’t let anybody tell you the girl could not sing. Mindy McCready could sing. It just happens to be a fact that one needs to use brains during a career — even a singing career. But that doesn’t mean the singer is smarter than the person in charge at the record label.

Somewhere along the way, Mindy decided she was supposed to do what she wanted to do and knew more about how to handle her career than those paid to advise her. I remember Mindy deciding she wasn’t going out on the road to support her album. She would not show up for meetings, and she began advising those in charge what to do and how to do it. Her antics went over like a lead balloon.

Mindy met actor Dean Cain, star of the TV series, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He gave her a seven-carat ring. When her second album was released and just when she was needed to promote it, Mindy high-tailed off to visit Cain in Hollywood without telling anybody in Music Town of her whereabouts, leaving promotion plans and record promoters high and dry. Needless to say, her second album bit the dust. Cain also became history somewhere along the way.

I think her worst case of dumb-ass was when she went on network television and proceeded to explain how much more she knew about music than Joe Galante, who was the man who signed her to a record contract, ran her record label and who is still the most successful label exec in country music. That must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. She just would not listen to anybody because she thought she knew it all. She kept right on talking until she talked herself out of a lucrative record deal. From then until now, the singer’s life and career went from bad to worse, sneers and all.

Mindy gave birth to a son in 2006 and struggled with personal problems, including an alleged beating by her then boyfriend and at least one suicide attempt. A charge is still pending from 2006 for violating her probation by driving on a suspended license. All of this finally caught up with Mindy.

On Sept. 14, Mindy was sentenced to a year in jail after she violated her probation on a 2004 drug charge by getting charged in a domestic dispute with her mom in Florida. She’d been in jail here in Tennessee since July after she was charged with scratching her mother during a scuffle in Fort Myers. She had dealt with several legal problems and received a three-year suspended sentence in 2004 on the charge connected with her current jail sentence — obtaining painkillers illegally with a fraudulent prescription. Mindy’s tears and her plea for leniency did not change the judge’s mind. After her release from jail on the probation violation, she will face another two years of probation plus 200 hours of public service.

This is sad to me, but it appears to me that this scenario would make an award-winning movie. If that happens anytime soon, my advice would be to not allow Mindy anywhere near it.

Tanya and Daughters Explore Hollywood
When Tanya Tucker moved to Malibu, Calif., with daughters Presley and Layla, I was sure she had stars in her eyes for her pretty little girls. Well, according to the video on, Tanya and her daughters were leaving the Mr Chow restaurant in Beverly Hills when she encouraged 8-year-old Layla to sing. Surrounded by a bunch of onlookers, Layla spit her gum in her mama’s hand (like a good little Southern girl with manners) and obliged. No, Layla cannot sing like her mom belted out “Delta Dawn” at age 13, but she can carry a tune.

I’ll bet Tanya thinks, “If Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter, Miley, can do it, so can Presley and Layla.”

June Carter Bought Bloomers for Linda Ronstadt
Entertainment Weekly gave the new DVD, The Johnny Cash Show: The Best of Johnny Cash, 1969-1971, a well-deserved “A” grade in its review. It amazes me when New York and Hollywood see the truth of our people come flying through.

The sidebar info in the magazine made me laugh with an unfinished fact that read: “On a clip of a nymph like mini-skirted Linda Ronstadt nuzzling up to Johnny, the show’s hairstylist informs us that Ronstadt wasn’t going to wear underpants on the show until Cash’s wife, June Carter, put a stern stop to that sort of hippie nonsense.”

Actually, what June did was hand a $10 bill to one of her associates with an order, “Go buy that girl some bloomers.” Underwear was known as bloomers in the Appalachia where June was raised and in Caswell County, N.C., where I’m from.

Statler Brothers Headed to Gospel Hall of Fame
The collection of awards Harold Reid, Don Reid, Phil Balsley and Jimmy Fortune earned as the Statler Brothers is staggering. For decades, they were named group of the year at various awards shows, yet they’ve never gotten the ultimate crown — induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame — and it’s a shame. After 40 years of success in country music, including a successful television show, they will be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with the Winans, Phil Keaggy, Larnell Harris and Joe Moscheo. The ceremony takes place Oct. 29 in Nashville.

Nashville Owes Plenty to Frances Preston
Every woman on Music Row who has a position in the entertainment industry owes it to Frances Preston. Frances was a trailblazer. She wasn’t the best typist or the finest secretary, but Frances never did those menial gigs. She was a doer. Frances was a leader.

When she dared to take over and run BMI’s Nashville office, eyebrows were raised as she started taking care of business. Frances had a way of smiling through problems and surrounding herself with loyal associates who’d help her get the job done.

I remember when she was transferred from Music City to head BMI’s main office, the great Harlan Howard bragged, “Frances is the president of BMI World!” And she was. With the New York gig, our Frances never forgot Nashville or the songwriters. Whenever songs needed to be sung, she’d see to it that our people were on the podium. Why, when she retired, she helped make sure her shoes were filled by Del Bryant, son of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, the Nashville songwriters who are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday night (Sept. 18), Frances was honored with the prestigious Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award during a sold-out ceremony at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. She’s been honored so many times and in so many ways. Through it all, Frances has remained herself — never haughty or proud, always doing and leading.

Females in showbiz in Nashville owe this great lady big time — and so do songwriters. Hell, all of us owe Frances!

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding.