HOT DISH: Gretchen Wilson Now Also a Record Executive

Her Next CD Is Coming in March on Redneck Records

(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.)

The CEO of Redneck Records, Gretchen Frances Wilson, is set to release her first album on the new label in March — and the title is I Got Your Country Right Here.

Gretchen co-penned “Work Hard, Play Harder,” her first single for Redneck Records, with John Rich and Vicky McGehee. ABC-TV included the song in a feature called “The Art of the Burnout” during the NASCAR Ford 400 season finale Sprint Cup race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday (Nov. 22).

She used to wear those Daisy Duke britches with a bra and cowboy hat. Today, she’s wearing T-shirts with jeans. Her long hair curls around her face, and her brown eyes shine with pride. Daughter Grace is now 9 years old. Her mom tries to pick her up at school by 2 p.m. daily. Grace is the light of Gretchen’s life. They ride horses together. Gretchen has a pasture full of something like 30 horses. Her brother, Josh, lives next to her. (He and his wife handle the merchandising for Gretchen.) Aunt Vickie manages the farm. Says Gretchen, “Her hands are so rough from working so hard on the farm, but she loves to do it.”

When Grace reached the third grade, Gretchen realized she could no longer help her with her homework. So she went into overtime and got her GED degree. During graduation ceremonies at Mt. Juliet High School near Nashville, it was her friend, Charlie Daniels, who presented Gretchen with her diploma. “Charlie feels like a daddy to me,” she allowed. Her proudest moment came when she was honored by the National Coalition for Literacy in the nation’s capital. “I’m prouder of that award than any of my gold or platinum records because of Grace,” she said.

Greetings From Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has partnered with American Greetings Corp. for a line of greeting cards, gift wrap, stationery, online photo products and online greetings. Surely you know that after she started visiting radio stations, Taylor would always send handwritten thank-you notes. Nobody, but nobody, ever routinely did that … but Taylor did!

Lee Ann Womack Joins King’s Court
Lee Ann Womack has been added to the George Strait/Reba McEntire tour that begins Jan. 22 in Baltimore. Excited about joining the king and queen, Lee Ann is wondering what on earth to wear onstage. “You can’t out-starch George, and you can’t out-spangle Reba,” she said.

Speaking of Reba, she’s scheduled to perform during CBS-TV’s Early Show coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Brad Paisley Remains Frugal Shopper
While going into a Sam’s Club store south of Nashville, someone met my pal Brad Paisley with one of those printed request slips to buy a TV set. Yep, Brad is a man who will save a few bucks when he buys a big ol’ television.

Faith Hill Splits With Longtime Manager
After 16 years, Faith Hill and her manager, Gary Borman, have called it quits. Borman still represents Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum. This reminds me that Faith’s hubby, Tim McGraw, and his longtime manager, Scott Siman, also called it quits earlier this year.

Zac Brown Band Provided Favorite CMA Moment
Now that the dust has settled following the CMA Awards , it seems that everybody’s favorite moment on the show was the Zac Brown Band‘s wonderful performance of the Charlie Daniels Band’s masterpiece, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Pickers such as Keith Urban were on the edge of their seat digging Zac and the boys. No lip-syncing by those Georgia dudes. I’ve been told there was a tad of lip-syncing at the awards show, however, but I’m not naming names.

Wynonna Takes Her Two Children on Santa Train
Big-hearted Wynonna and her two children recently rode the Santa Train from Shelby, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn., to deliver gifts for youngsters along the route. Says Wy, “I decided to ride the Santa Train this year because I wanted to bring my children home to Appalachia for the holidays. It’s important to me for them to experience the joy of Christmas giving.” Some 15 tons of toys and gifts were given out to the thousands of people along the tracks. Wynonna was raised not far from the trains tracks in Ashland, Ky.

Toby Keith Conquering Europe
With sellouts reported everywhere his tour stops, Toby Keith is tearing up Europe. Fans are digging Toby and so are members of the news media who point out that Toby has a large and loyal following overseas and deserves greater recognition. Mica Roberts, Toby’s background singer, is opening the European dates.

Tracy Lawrence’s Holiday Mission
For the fourth consecutive year, Tracy Lawrence will host the giant turkey cook-off to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission. Tracy fries hundreds of turkeys in the parking lot to raise money and generate awareness — and provide food for the less fortunate. It’s Tracy’s favorite event of the year.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Cherry Breeze.