HOT DISH: Kimberly Williams-Paisley Is in the Kitchen

Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney Make Money While John Rich Makes News

(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

I am so richly blessed! As I write this, I’ve just spent the day with the beautiful and talented actress-writer Kimberly Williams-Paisley in my kitchen shooting CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith.

Of course, you know Kim is married to country superstar Brad Paisley. For seven years, she starred in the ABC series, According to Jim, and she will be in the 2008 finale. My family of males watched to look at Kim. Long before she married Brad, they knew she was a beauty. Ever since she starred in Father of the Bride with Steve Martin, her blue eyes stole the screen and wows were heard.

Kim has written a children’s book with her dad, Gurney Williams III, titled Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden. She joined Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressings along with the School Nutrition Foundation and the Produce for Better Health Foundation to support their Love Your Veggies program which provides grants to schools wanting to give their students better access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Parents and children will enjoy the book that tells the story of a city cousin who eats pizza and plays video games all day until a visit to the home of a country cousin who skedaddles all over the outdoors gathering fruit from trees and veggies from the garden. The country cousin enjoys good, home-cooked, healthy meals.

If you’re like Brad and Kim, who see to it that their 18-month-old son, Huck, gets his veggies, then get this book and read it to your children. While Kim was visiting my house, I saw to it that Brad got some veggies, too. I sent him a care package of green beans and a few other goodies.

Huck’s favorite ride is when he’s strapped in a seat on the bulldozer with Brad. They move rocks, gravel and dirt, and Huck loves it. He looks for bugs and frogs. Boy stuff. “A real daddy’s boy,” smiled Kim who was getting ready to fly to L.A. to appear on ABC’s Boston Legal with their friend, William Shatner. “And there’s a party Saturday night,” winked Kim, who admits her favorite gig is being mommy.

Most of you know Brad is one of my favorite people. We chat. So I sent an e-mail giving Kim the best directions from their house to mine — ending up by explaining for her to just look for the house on the right with a yard full of cars. Brad answered by saying, “You’d expect a yard full of cars at the house of a redneck journalist.” Cute.

Banking With Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift
During their recent roadwork, Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift raked in $912,772 in Raleigh, N.C., $885,788 in Charlotte, N.C., and $876,351 in Atlanta. Taylor also headlined a show on Aug. 16 at the Civic Center in Savannah, Ga. The concert was a sellout. I am told the first four rows had 48 folding chairs that seated only four males. The rest were young girls and their moms, or tweens and teens who dig the 18-year old amazing Taylor. There wasn’t a Jonas brother in sight.

They have yet to announce the dollars and cents, but Kenny Chesney sold 47,669 tickets in Houston. I’d say he sold that many seats, but everybody stands at Kenny’s concerts.

John Rich and Toby Keith Make Political News
Astounded and amazed I am! Why? Because John Rich has more trouble keeping his foot out of his mouth than I do. Rosanne Cash and the Cash family have reason to be perturbed with Rich, who at a John McCain rally said if Johnny Cash was still around, he’d support McCain. John Rich didn’t even know Johnny Cash, so why he made such a brazen and impudent statement is totally beyond me. Like the rest of us, Johnny had a family who loved and respected him. The least we can do is respect his memory and his family.

Politics does make strange bedfellows, though. Who’d have thought that Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith would ever agree on anything? Maines has contributed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. And now, Toby — a Democrat — has been saying nice things about Obama.

Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley Ready for Swampstock
Tim McGraw, wife Faith Hill and friends Dierks Bentley, Halfway to Hazard, Jason Aldean and Catherine Raney are headed for the steps of the Richland Parish courthouse in Rayville, La., where the Swampstock 2008 concert will take place. Tim and Faith’s Neighbor’s Keeper Foundation will present the event that supports Rayville Youth Baseball, the Steve Colvin Scholarship Fund and, added this year, Habitat for Humanity of Ouachita. Rayville’s residents must be proud of their native son who has not gotten above his raisings.

More News
Got a “Hey Baby” card in the mail celebrating the new little guy, Jagger Donovan Rooney, son of the gorgeous Tiffany Fallon and Rascal Flatts cutie Joe Don Rooney. Jagger was born on my birthday — May 31. Not only was a color photo of Jagger on the card, his face was on the postage stamp, as well.

I see where Carrie Underwood and LeAnn Rimes are set to join Miley Cyrus and a whole bevy of music gals from rock and pop to record a single, “Just Stand Up,” to benefit the Stand Up to Cancer charity. An all-star television performance will air simultaneously on Sept. 5 on all three major networks when ABC, CBS and NBC devote an hour of commercial-free time to the nationwide event. Numerous actors will be involved, as will network anchors Charles Gibson, Katie Couric and Brian Williams.

Alison Krauss has joined the honorary committee of the seventh annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days, a global network of performances to be held the entire month of October. The event began on Oct. 10, 2002, to commemorate the birthday of the slain journalist. Not only was Daniel Pearl a writer, he was also a fiddle player who loved acoustic and bluegrass music.

It was all smiles last week when Trace Adkins and 38 Special met to tape an episode of CMT Crossroads. Trace is a huge 38 Special fan, so it was right up his alley to perform with the group. Folks lucky enough to have attended the taping say it’s one of the best Crossroads performances ever. Watch the airing of the show on Sept. 24 and see for yourself.

Guess who I heard from? The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Stay tuned.

Remembering Jerry Wexler
I was introduced to the great record producer and Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler years ago at the Lone Star Cafe in New York City during a party for Chet Flippo to celebrate the Hank Williams biography he’d written. Linda Ronstadt and writer Pete Hamill were with Wexler in a room filled with the famed and near-famed including Flippo’s wife Martha Hume, Tony Bennett, Kinky Friedman, songwriter Doc Pomus and Dennis Locorriere of Dr. Hook, who was seated across from me. I asked Wexler how he knew to sign a then 40-plus-year-old Willie Nelson to a label deal on Atlantic Nashville.

“It was during the disc jockey convention in Nashville,” explained Wexler. “I went to a guitar pull at Harlan Howard’s house where they pass the guitar and sing songs they’ve written. Willie was seated on a stool. They handed the guitar to Willie, and as he began to sing I said to myself, ’That son-of-a-b—- is a star.’ So I signed him and sold him to Columbia a couple years later.”

I thought about this story when Wexler died Aug. 15 at age 91.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Fried Okra