HOT DISH: Country Music Community Jumps In to Help Others, as Always

From St. Jude Fundraisers to Hope for Haiti Now, Country Artists and Fans Are the Best

(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.)

Did you know that for the past 21 years, country radio has raised more that $365 million for healing some of the nation’s sickest children at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.? May I remind you all once again that the late actor-comedian Danny Thomas, who founded the hospital, handpicked Alabama’s Randy Owen to lead the good folks at country radio, all their listeners and those of us who work in the music business to pitch in and help.

So it comes as no surprise to me that the country music community is pitching in to help the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. I see where Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow performed Friday night (Jan. 22) on the Hope for Haiti Now telethon that aired on nearly all of the networks. God bless all the artists who are donating their time and energy, and God bless all of you who are helping out with your donations.

Bomshel in My Kitchen
I knew so little about the duo known as Bomshel, but when they walked into my kitchen and compared me to the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium, why, I about lost it. But I understood what they meant: The Opry, the Ryman and I have been around for quite a spell and are still working! I consider the comparison to be accurate and a huge compliment. The Southern Fried Flicks shoot was major fun last week.

The girls were so pretty, nice and smart — and funny. I really enjoyed hanging out with them, and I was happy they liked the food, as well. With beef tips over white rice, pasta salad, candied sweet potatoes and “Ooey Gooey, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Cake” for dessert, really, it was like Sunday after church.

Kelley Shepard (from Arizona) and Kristy Osmonson (from Idaho) met while performing at a multi-artist event in Michigan.

“Kelley went on right before me,” explained Kristy. “The lineup was Blake Shelton, Sarah Buxton and other acts. I’d been out in the crowd and was leaving to get ready for my set when Kelley came out and started singing. I came back in so I could watch her. She has an amazing voice. Kelley absolutely blew my mind. She’s like LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride all wrapped up in one. The girl is an incredible singer. That day in Michigan, Kelley was owning the stage.”

Kristy and Kelley struck up a conversation that led to an instant friendship that led to merging their talents as Bomshel.

“I called Kristy, and we talked until 2 o’clock in the morning, like best friends do,” Kelley remembers. “Things developed quickly after that first meeting. I’d never really met anybody who became an instant friend like that. It’s really funny. We are so different — as different as night and day. Complete opposites. But for some reason, it totally works.”

So far, the music is working like a charm. They are all over the country, visiting country radio stations, meeting as many fans as time allows and co-writing songs like crazy. And speaking of crazy, their current single, “19 and Crazy,” is climbing the country charts.

Since they have an apartment together, they are always writing. Kelley blows Kristy away with her vocals, and Kristy blows Kelley away the way she plays the fiddle, guitar, piano and almost anything with strings. Seeing the two girls together, it’s clear that Bomshel is a perfect name for the duo. A pretty girl has been called a “bombshell” as long as I can remember — and that’s a very long time. It’s show biz. Just change the spelling to add interest.

The girls are in the running for top new vocal duo at the upcoming ACM Awards, and they organized a fundraiser for Haitian relief efforts that took place Saturday (Jan. 23) in Nashville.

Trace Is Hot and Smoking, and So Is Martina
When Trace Adkins‘ Shine All Night tour with Martina McBride kicked off recently in Little Rock, Ark., fans got more music than they anticipated. Sarah Buxton joined Trace and Martina for a fun-filled evening of entertainment. USA Today declared that Sarah has one of music’s most arresting voices. She’s appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Today and in the pages of People, Redbook and Country Weekly magazines. What? No Tonight Show with Conan. Or is it Jay?

At their concerts, Trace’s hits such as “This Ain’t No Thinking Thing,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” “Hot Mama” and “Ladies Love Country Boys” are followed by Martina’s spectacular vocals on well-known hits like “Independence Day,” “This One’s for the Girls,” “Anyway” and “I Just Call You Mine.”

Trace Adkins — or at least his likeness — returns Wednesday (Jan. 27) as comic book hero Luke McBain. Since its launch in November, the Luke McBain series has become a hot-selling item at stores and at Trace’s concerts. The first issue in the series sold out in less than 48 hours. The second one, released in December, sold even faster.

Meeting Mr. George Jones
My 11-year-old grandson, Trevor, recently went on the bus to Alabama with his dad and the Grascals for the big event hosted by bossman Ronnie Gilley to open the Alabama Crossing entertainment complex. It was quite the to do. Anyone who is anybody was on hand, and loads of fun was had by all, especially Trevor.

When they got back to Nashville, Trevor bolted into my kitchen and said, “Guess who I met, Grandma!”

“I don’t know, honey,” I said. “Who?”

George Jones!” replied Trevor with his eyes dancing. “I shook his hand,” he added as he showed me how he did the honor.

Thinking back to my two sons and now four grandsons, each one has come home filled with pride that they met the great Mr. George Jones.

Some Final Notes
I have to mention Brad Paisley‘s “2.5-D” video for “American Saturday Night.” Lordy me, Brad! I don’t understand how the band and over 100 extras are hanging on the green screen. And the whole kit and caboodle looks like a pop-up book.

Reba and her team at Valory Music will get together in Nashville this week to celebrate her latest No. 1 single, “Consider Me Gone.” This will be a biggie.

All you smart fans who love great movies will want to watch Rudy when it airs Saturday (Jan. 30) on Southern Fried Flicks. Also on hand to entertain is the wonderful Randy Rogers Band, who worked 200 concerts in 2009. And, of course, I will be there, too, talking and tasting. Please plan on tuning in.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Sweet Apple Quick Bread.