HOT DISH: Brad Paisley Enjoys Best of Family Life and Career

More News About Darryl Worley, Taylor Swift and Other Country Music Stars

(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 CMT.com.)

Brad Paisley was asked, “What’s it like to be a dad?” After thinking, he replied, “Kids are like watching your own heart walking around.”

Having two sons and six grandchildren, I must say Brad gave the best answer I’ve ever heard. Whenever Brad mentions his wife Kim, his 2-year-old son Huck or 4-month-old Jasper, he always comes up with a meaningful statement. I’ll never forget the grin all over his face when I asked Brad if Huck resembles him. He answered, “We have six pictures in frames on the coffee table in the living room — five of me and one of Huck. Nobody can tell which one is Huck. He looks so much like me.”

Like a dandelion in springtime, Brad is popping up everywhere. His new album, American Saturday Night, and his current tour of the same name are showing up all over the place. Brad is the first country artist to be featured on the MySpace Music Feed. He’s on the August cover of Reader’s Digest with a nice article inside. Entertainment Weekly recently included a couple of blurbs, and he graced a recent cover of Country Weekly magazine. The new album sold almost 130,000 copies its first week out, and it’s still the No. 1 album on the Billboard country chart.

Asked if he writes songs for radio airplay, Brad explained, “I don’t write songs for radio. I write songs that I’d like to hear on radio.” It’s true that Brad has written most of his hits, but when other writers offer him a song like “Whiskey Lullaby,” he’s smart enough to record it. And he was smart enough to call in Alison Krauss to make the song a duet. The first time I heard that song come out of the CD player in his truck, I had to choke back tears. I remember telling Brad, “That song will be as everlasting as ‘Long Black Veil.’”

I wish I was smart enough or schooled enough to say how proud I am of Brad. It seems his every move is a winner. For example, his 2009 opening acts are Dierks Bentley and Jimmy Wayne. Now that’s a really smart move! Dierks is releasing hit singles right and left, and Jimmy’s singing for more country music fans than he ever dreamed possible. Those boys are having a good old time out there, and the critics can’t say enough good stuff about American Saturday Night — the album and the concert.

Quarterback Breaks Up With Former Country Singer
I see where Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has ended his relationship with Jessica Simpson. There are those who say Jessica is brokenhearted. Surely there are other football players she can watch from the stands.

Darryl Worley Visits My Kitchen
Fans who love Darryl Worley, circle Aug. 16 on you calendar because that’s the day Coyote Ugly airs on CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks. It’s also the day Darryl makes his way to vittles in my kitchen.

Songwriter, singer, musician, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Darryl is also a humanitarian who has been on the front line with our troops in the Middle East and is using his name and friends to establish a wing at the hospital in Savannah, Tenn., to treat children with cancer.

Darryl has been a friend of mine for 10 years. I was pleased when I learned he’d recently signed with Stroudavarious Records, where James Stroud is in charge. Stroud had previously worked with Darryl at the now-shuttered DreamWorks Nashville label. The handsome Worley is looking better than ever, girls. Of course, he’s got a special girl — an 18-month-old daughter — he’s awfully proud of. “I rush home off the road to see her and her mama,” laughed Darryl.

His eighth annual Tennessee River Run is coming up Sept. 10-13 at Pickwick Dam near Savannah to raise money for the hospital. The entertainment has been expanded this year to include a rock concert headlined by Night Ranger and a gospel concert featuring Richie McDonald and Jason Crabb. Joining Darryl at the country concert will be his pal Craig Morgan, Caitlin & Will and Jonathan Singleton & the Grove.

Nashville Songwriters Enjoy “The Climb”
Jessi Alexander had a record deal with Columbia Nashville, and Jon Mabe used to be a song plugger at EMI Music Publishing. Jessi, named for singer-songwriter Jessi Colter, had dreams of a No. 1. However, when she and Jon wrote “The Climb,” Miley Cyrus was not on their mind. She’s been on their mind a lot lately, though, after she recorded the song and took it to the top of the pop charts.

Jessi’s hubby is none other than the handsome and talented Jon Randall, who co-wrote “Whiskey Lullaby.”

Taylor Swift on MTV Video Music Awards
Tune in to MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sept. 13 to see Taylor Swift perform. I’m already applauding her.

Prayers for Ray Price
Ray Price was recently hospitalized in Texas for the removal of some non-cancerous polyps from his colon. He was released from the hospital, but I’m told he apparently picked up a staph infection and had to be readmitted. This matter pleads for prayers for a legendary singer who’s a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Homemade Peach Ice Cream.