HOT DISH: Reba Is Still Great and Still Enthusiastic

More News About Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Taylor Swift and Larry the Cable Guy

(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

It’s always a pleasure to speak with a superstar like Reba McEntire, a successful gal who started out riding horses, milking cows and being a ranch hand for her dad. Reba is still great, and I will tell you all about it a few weeks down the road. It’s amazing that she’s as enthusiastic about music as she was when she began. The woman is not lazy and never has been. And she loves to sing.

Alan Jackson, Thousands of Boats and Folks
Alan Jackson’s Aquapalooza concert on Lake Martin in Alabama set an attendance record for boats and folks. Taped for a CMT special airing Sept. 4, boats were packed in a mile wide and a mile deep on the lake. From all over the nation, fans showed up for the event wearing bikinis and floating in inner tubes. Alan pulled up to the dock in his 1923 Hacker Craft boat, sang his hits and talked about family trips he took to Lake Martin during his childhood. For his encore, he included the Hank Williams classic, “Kaw-liga,” which Hank wrote in a cabin near there. The concert also included performances by the Carter Twins, Jypsi, Matt Stillwell and Caitlin & Will.

Porter Wagoner’s Home Burglarized
Will the party (or parties) who burglarized the log house in Donelson, Tenn., near Nashville and stole the silver service, please be aware: That was the home of Richard Wagoner. He’s the son of the late Porter Wagoner and his late wife, Ruth Wagoner. The silver items belonged to them. Richard and his sisters are very hurt. This silverware belonged to their mama and daddy. Please have a heart and return these items. They’re personal items money cannot buy. Mama’s silver service — priceless.

Recording Academy Honoring Vince Gill
The first-ever Grammy Salute to Country Music will honor Vince Gill on Sept. 9 at the Loveless Barn in Nashville. The star-studded, invitation-only event will feature Amy Grant, Alison Krauss, Steve Martin, Michael McDonald and Brad Paisley. It will also include a special presentation of the Recording Academy President’s Merit Award to Vince, a 20-time Grammy winner, in honor of his professional achievements and remarkable career. The Grammy folks are really lucky to honor plumb perfect Vince, a much-loved man and a highly-respected musician, songwriter and entertainer.

Larry the Cable Guy Gits-R-Done for Holiday Special
Larry the Cable Guy, one of my all-time favorite funnymen and someone who has been to my house for CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks, returned to Music City last this week to tape a CMT holiday special at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Larry the Cable Guy’s Hula-Palooza Christmas Luau is set to debut Nov. 20. After the premiere, Jack Records/Warner Bros. Records will release the special on DVD on Nov. 24. In addition to musical performances by Billy Currington and the Zac Brown Band, Larry’s special guests on the show include Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson, Caroline Rhea, George Lindsey and comedians Jon Reep and Reno Collier. Returning to the holiday special is Tony Orlando. Larry can git-r-done.

Was Jessica Simpson Tossed Aside?
After dumping Jessica Simpson the day before her 29th birthday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo reportedly instructed security to keep her out of his house in a gated community in the Dallas area. A sign placed on the gate leading into his property read, “Red Alert! Tony has made some changes to his list of people allowed in. … Jessica is no longer on the list and not approved for access.”

Maybe Jessica has no intention of visiting. After the breakup, she apparently paid $19,000 to overnight 37 boxes of her belongings from Dallas to Los Angeles. Good Lord! All the girl has been wearing are those Daisy Duke cut-offs, so she sure didn’t need 37 boxes to ship those tacky things.

Sounds like Tony has tossed Jessica aside like an old football.

Brenda Lee: Little Miss Dynamite
Brenda Lee was known as Little Miss Dynamite when she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Today, this beautiful and talented woman is the only female inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is honoring her with an exhibit featuring memorabilia from throughout her career. One of the most beloved entertainers in the world, the Lithonia, Ga., native began singing professionally at age 6 and had a recording contract at the age of 12. That’s even younger than Taylor Swift!

Parting of the Ways: Gretchen Wilson
Gretchen Wilson and Sony Music Nashville have agreed to part ways. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who exploded into the national spotlight in 2004 with her smash hit “Redneck Woman” has released three albums. She has announced plans to start her own label, Redneck Records.

A Different Parting of the Ways: LeAnn Rimes
Days after news of actor Eddie Cibrian’s separation from his wife — based on allegations of an affair with LeAnn Rimes, his co-star in the Northern Lights TV movie — one of Rimes’ friends told People and Us Weekly that the singer’s marriage is also on the rocks. People reports that Rimes and husband Dean Sheremet have been separated for quite some time. According to the friend, the couple had been going through a rough patch of their marriage with issues that were already brewing before Rimes met Cibrian on the movie set. Rimes and Sheremet married in 2002, and their Nashville home is on the market for $7.45 million. Meantime, Cibrian’s wife, Brandi Glanville, told Us, “Eddie and LeAnn deserve each other.”

Darryl Worley, Songwriters Raise Big Bucks for Charity
Two songwriter showcases to benefit the Darryl Worley Foundation raised some big bucks for the singer’s favorite cause. It’s his dream to build a children’s hospital wing in his hometown of Savannah, Tenn., to help children battling life-threatening illnesses. If a child gets sick in the Savannah area, they have to travel 65 miles (one way) for treatment in Memphis. Darryl and four of his songwriter buddies participated in the fundraising events at Harley-Davidson dealerships in the Tennessee towns of Murfreesboro and Jackson.

Blake Shelton’s Fans on an Autograph Mission
Patty and Terry, my e-mail/radio friends from Indianapolis, love country music as much as I do. They share my opinion that Blake Shelton needs to line up for superstardom because he’s handsome, chooses great songs and sings like a saint. Well, the 12-year-old daughter in the household found out Blake was signing autographs at an area Wal-Mart store. She wanted to go — big time. All she had to do was ask mama, so they took off, got in line, bought CDs (one each) and breathlessly got autographs. Judging from the contents of their bragging e-mail, I’m convinced there are lots of other people out there who love Blake’s music as much as we do. At least all the smart people do!

Other Autograph Hunters
Larry and Rebecca Sterling sign up the stars. Keith Urban, Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Brett Favre, Hillary Clinton and Keith Richards are among the names that drive the Sterling’s business, Music Row Picture Framing, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. From an autographed photo to a shadow box holding a guitar or football jersey, they seek autographs and memorabilia and sell them. Larry tells a great story about seeing a homeless man approach Kid Rock for an autograph. “You don’t want my autograph,” Kid responded before reaching into his pocket and giving the man $100.

More Country Music News
The flower arrangement Taylor Swift sent to one of her friends, Selena Gomez, on her 17th birthday was so large, it took two men to carry it.

A photo of Dierks Bentley and his beautiful daughter, Evie, riding on daddy’s back in a backpack like a papoose is the cutest thing I’ve seen lately. The photo was snapped in Colorado, a place Dierks loves.

Jimmy Wayne recently met Bob Schieffer, host of CBS-TV’s Face the Nation, in Washington, D.C., while on tour with Brad Paisley. Proud to be a Texan, Bob Schieffer is not ashamed to wear a cowboy hat in New York or Washington.

Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser, two artists who are as good as we’ve got, will be working together during CMT on Tour ’09 taking place this fall. These two boys can write and sing. Don’t miss them.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Sour Cream Apple Bars.