HOT DISH: Kix Brooks’ New Home Is as Big as a Warehouse

Some Thoughts About the CMA Nominations and the Possum in My Kitchen

(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

When I saw the color photo of Kix and Barbara Brooks’ new house in Nashville’s City Paper, I said, “My goodness, it’s big as a warehouse.” I was surprised to learn the just-built, 13,000-square-foot house with four bedrooms and five and a-half baths included reclaimed structural beams, flooring and roof decking milled from century-old remnants of tobacco warehouses. As a kid, I might have toiled in fields of tobacco that ended up being sold in those warehouses.

Brooks & Dunn boasts 23 chart-topping singles, more CMA awards than any other act, and now, Kix Brooks has topped yet another list. He and his wife are the buyers of Nashville’s biggest home sale of 2007 and 2008. The couple paid $5.45 million for the estate that includes a three-story wood-and-steel staircase, a wine cellar and a pool feeding a 45-foot wide waterfall that spills into a wading trough. The mansion is gated and situated far away from tourist attractions, tour buses, Music Row and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.

Taylor Swift’s Label Head Wears a Kilt
Always a pretty boy, I’ve believed Scott Borchetta, with his black curly hair and dashing good looks, would’ve made a pretty girl. So what happened? Borchetta, the founder of the Big Machine and Valory record labels, recently escorted his flagship artist — the beautiful and talented Taylor Swift — to London where he actually wore a kilt. Wouldn’t you know I missed that. I must ask Taylor, “How are his legs?”

Chuck and Julianne
There they were holding hands, walking to the stage together and holding hands backstage. You can’t have one without the other. Like I said, Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough are the best-looking couple in country music. They are Ken and Barbie.

Tim McGraw Cancels Swampstock in Louisiana
Tim McGraw fans will have to wait another year for his Swampstock concert in his hometown of Rayville, La., after recent flooding from Hurricane Gustav forced the cancellation of the event. McGraw promises he and wife Faith Hill will be there next year with a concert and tons of fun. Meanwhile, the couple is assisting the folks back home in Louisiana. In the meantime, Tim and his Dancehall Doctors band took off for San Antonio last week to entertain U.S. Army troops and their families at Fort Sam Houston.

How Was Jessica Simpson’s Show?
Just how was Jessica Simpson’s private mini-concert at Nashville’s fanciest venue, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center? Don’t ask me. I wasn’t invited! But I did see her on the Grand Ole Opry. She did OK. Locals complained her dress was low-cut, but the old men loved it. Jessica didn’t show as much boobs as Dolly Parton, but that’s because Dolly fills larger cups.

Emerson Drive Moves Along
Emerson Drive announced during Canadian Country Music Awards week in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that they have departed the Midas record label and like former labelmate, Adam Gregory, have moved to the Valory Music Co., label home to Jimmy Wayne and Jewel.

A True Legend in My Kitchen
God blesses me every day. You’re not going to believe who came to my kitchen to tape an episode of CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks. Kenny Chesney calls him daddy. Bluegrass musicians Terry Eldredge and Terry Smith simply call him the greatest singer who ever lived — and so do I. Of course, I’m talking about the Possum — the great George Jones.

CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks will never be the same. Two hours of George Jones, followed by fried pies and tenderloin, is huge. Tune in to CMT on Oct. 5 for the show in its entirety.

The day he was at my house, George learned he will receive one of the the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7. Other honorees Barbra Streisand, actor Morgan Freeman, choreographer Twyla Tharp and musicians Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry of the Who. A kind man with a big heart, George was overwhelmed to be a recipient of the honor.

“I m proud to be in the same category with folks like Johnny Cash and this year’s nominee, Barbra Streisand,” he said. “I’m just a country boy. I’ve sung country music all my life. I never dreamed anything like this would happen to me. I’m humble and proud.”

George came to visit with wife and manager Nancy Jones and daughter Georgette Jones. Georgette recently appeared on TV’s Sordid Lives: The Series where she appeared as the ghost of her late mother, Tammy Wynette. Georgette sang a couple of her mom’s songs. She’s also featured on George’s most recent album, Burn Your Playhouse Down: The Unreleased Duets, which features everybody from Keith Richards to Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart. It includes the original song Georgette wrote about her dad, “Me, You and Time.”

George Jones has legendary status, but he sang “Happy Birthday” to my 15-year-old granddaughter, Tara Smith. More than a legend, he’s a real man.

CMA Nominations — Just My Opinion
The final nominations are out for this year’s CMA awards, and Rascal Flatts deserve to be in the entertainer of the year category but are not.

I am extremely happy that traditionalists George Strait and Alan Jackson are still in the running with album of the year noms and more, which goes to prove that fans love real country music.

Sure, he got single and video nods, too, but Trace Adkins deserved to be a male vocalist finalist. But he was overlooked again.

Miranda Lambert is good and different. It’s good to see her make the final ballot in the female vocalist category.

Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley — who are as good as we’ve got — work long and hard and had to be on the list of nominees. Brad’s video of “Waitin’ on a Woman” with Andy Griffith is like a mini-movie. Kenny and Keith worked the stadiums this year, playing for countless thousands. Keith performed worldwide.

In the duo category, makes no sense to include the Wreckers, who are no longer an act. I’d love to have seen another act besides the Eagles as one of the five listed in the vocal group category.

And where’s Toby Keith and Tim McGraw? Duh?! Here where I live, folks talk about Toby having sold a truckload of records on his own label, hosted a golf tourney that helps sick kids, wrote and starred in a movie and sold out venues across the country in concert! I forget how many millions Tim made this year touring, and he also starred in a couple movies along the way.

This is just my opinion. Don’t blame anybody but me.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Corn Casserole.