HOT DISH: Brad Paisley Bounces Back After the Fall

More News About Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Chris Young

(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

Brad Paisley took quite a fall onstage while closing his March 6 concert in North Charleston, S.C. With his electric guitar in hand, he was playing one of his encore songs, “Alcohol,” when he ran across the stage to the riser and went down hard. But he stood straight up, waved to the now-screaming audience, touched a few hands on the front row, waved a few more times, handed his guitar to a roadie and exited the stage.

Once he left the building, he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. Thank goodness, doctors determined he was only badly bruised. The next day, he complained of being very sore. “You ought to see the bruise,” Brad allowed. I was really concerned about him until I found out on Tuesday (March 9) that he was following through with plans to shoot a new music video that day!

So friends and fans, I think it’s safe to say Brad is on the mend. It takes a lot to take a good man down, especially one who plays a mean guitar, writes hit songs and sings before thousands. And after shooting his new video, he and his band headed to Texas for Thursday night’s (March 11) performance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He had to be there. After all, he previously played there to 73,003 fans — more than any country music artist in the 78-year history of the rodeo. Bruise or no bruise, Brad couldn’t possibly miss the big Houston show.

Little Big Town Adds New Member
Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild named their 7 pound 14 ounce son Elijah Dylan. Born in Nashville on March 5, Elijah will travel with his parents to Las Vegas for the ACM Awards on April 18. In May, he’ll be hanging with the group during the Country Throwdown tour led by Montgomery Gentry.

Flatt Anticipating
Rascal Flatts, Joe Don Rooney and his Playboy model wife, Tiffany Fallon, are expecting a second child in September. The couple’s first child, the handsome Jagger Donovan, will be 2 years old on my birthday, May 31.

Tim and Faith at the Academy Awards
Like me, I’m sure all of you were really pleased with the recent Academy Awards show. Never has Nashville been so front and center. For instance, when the cameras took a full view of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, I knew there would not be another woman as beautiful as Faith there that night, and I also knew that she and Tim were the best-looking couple to walk the red carpet.

Upon seeing the couple, whoever was hosting one of the red carpet shows remarked, “I’ve never seen Tim without his hat before.” It’s not like Tim goes traipsing to some Hollywood event on a daily basis. I thought he looked quite handsome without his hat.

And the world must know that Sandra Bullock, Tim’s co-star in The Blind Side, was named best actress in a leading role for her work in the film. Boy, did Sandra ever make a great acceptance speech. I would have liked to have heard Sandra mention Tim, though.

More Oscar Thoughts
Everybody in Music Town must have been cheering when Ryan Bingham, who records for Lost Highway Records, and producer T Bone Burnett picked up their Academy Award for co-writing the year’s best original song — a country song titled “The Weary Kind” from the Crazy Heart film soundtrack. Congratulations, guys. Your mamas could not be any prouder than I am of you.

Lord knows, we cannot omit Jeff Bridges, who was named best actor in a leading role for his performance in Crazy Heart. I wonder if Jeff knows that in the film, he was channeling Waylon Jennings onstage and Kris Kristofferson when he was just talking and walking around. But his facial grimaces and body movements were totally Billy Joe Shaver. With that said, my guess is that Robert Duvall, the actor who was neck-deep in Crazy Heart, had films and videos of Waylon, Kris and Billy Joe and that the great Mr. Bridges, the superstar that he is, surely watched that footage for a year or more.

Let me end with my comments on the Academy Awards by saying I am totally surprised that Hollywood finally had the know-how to make a movie of America’s music — country music. I’ve been screaming for moviemakers to look at Music City for 40 years, and this is the first time Hollywood listened.

Welcome Chris Young
Chris Young gave me a hug and asked if I recalled what happened during his last visit to my kitchen to tape CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks. For the life of me, I could not remember. So he told me.

What happened was this: When I went to the restroom, I forgot about the wireless transmitter microphone fastened waist-high on my back, and I dropped it into the toilet! Of course, Chris recalled that boo-boo and is still laughing about it. I’ll tell you what, though: It’s never happened again. I am always aware of that very expensive wireless transmitter microphone. It ain’t going in the toilet anymore when I’m wearing it.

So much has happened in Chris’ career since that previous visit. For one thing, he’s had a No. 1 single with “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song),” a tune he co-wrote.

When I asked him who told him the song had reached No. 1, he smiled and explained that he was returning home from a tour of radio stations. Just as the plane landed, he called Keith Gale, one of the promotions reps for his record label. When he answered, Keith said, “Hold on. Somebody here wants to tell you what happened this week with your single.”

“Congratulations on your first No. 1 hit,” said a familiar voice Chris couldn’t quite identify. “What a great song. I’m so proud for you and proud of you.”

The mystery voice on the phone was none other than Kenny Chesney, who’d dropped by the Sony Music Nashville office that day. When he heard the news about Chris’ single, he wanted to be the first one to congratulate him.

“Can you believe that?” Chris told me, still a little shocked that a superstar would go out of his way to tell him the news.

“Yep, Chris,” I told him. “I believe it. That’s the way it is in this town. Everybody is for everybody else. When someone hits No. 1 for writing or singing a song, there is always a brother or sister in music ready to offer congratulations. When you’re as successful as Kenny, you know to say thanks and congratulations. A man like Kenny never forgets where he came from — just a few miles up the road east of you, Chris.”

Chris, who hails from Murfreesboro, Tenn., moved the 20 miles to Nashville about four months ago. He still drops by to visit his parents whenever he gets a chance, and the family-minded 24-year-old still goes to Columbia, Tenn., to visit his grandparents on every holiday.

“Grandpa won’t ask the blessing until I get there,” Chris said. It’s no wonder Chris is such a nice boy. He comes from a good family that raised him right.

Chris has been called the sexiest man in country music and the handsomest man in country music, but he tells me he doesn’t have a steady girlfriend. For the time being, he’s too busy writing songs and performing. Right now, his mind is focused on opening the shows during Alan Jackson’s big tour that’s coming up. Having been an Alan Jackson fan forever, Chris is so humbled and happy for the opportunity to tour with his all-time hero. While planning for Alan’s Freight Train tour, he’s all smiles and counting the days until his dream comes true. Stay in touch, Chris!

With Cowboy Jack, Things Happen
“Guess Things Happen That Way,” the Johnny Cash hit that was penned by Cowboy Jack Clement, marked a milestone recently when it became iTunes’ 10 billionth download. Still active, Cowboy hosts the The Cowboy Jack Clement Show which airs Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings on Sirius/XM satellite radio. A legend himself, Cowboy has produced other legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Pride, George Jones and U2. Jack has also worked with others whose music will play forever, including Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, Townes Van Zandt and Carl Perkins.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Frozen Waldorf Salad.