HOT DISH: Drama Continues for Mindy McCready

Other News About Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley and New Hall of Fame Members

(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

Those of us who work in the media get oodles and oodles of press releases. We glance at them and closely read a few. However, if we closely read every one we receive, we’d never get one day’s work done.

A few of them, though, immediately demand attention. A case in point was Tuesday’s (May 25) statement from Mindy McCready’s publicist that the singer was taken to a Fort Myers, Fla., hospital and that a diagnosis had not yet been confirmed.

The announcement prompted the Nashville-based media to begin checking out the websites of the daily newspaper and television stations in Fort Myers. Given McCready’s history of substance abuse, it was not a big surprise that the news reports attributed her hospitalization to a possible drug overdose.

From there, the stories were everywhere on the Internet, and it’s still difficult to figure out exactly what happened. Did she OD, or did she just have a reaction to the Darvocet pills her mama gave her to relieve the pain of a broken toe?

Darvocet. Isn’t that a fairly powerful narcotic? And her mom gave it to her? Is that why Mindy ended up in the hospital? Why did her mom call 911? Did the Darvocet cause Mindy to pass out?

I heard a recording of the 911 call on the Internet. Mindy’s mom told the operator her daughter had taken an overdose and said it was intentional. She added that her daughter had taken Darvocet and a muscle relaxer, but she did not know the amount. She said her daughter had not passed out but was “going in and out.”

Mindy’s brother later announced that his sister had been released from the hospital and that too much was made of the incident. Was that the fault of her mother or the media?

According to a later press release, she and her mama are still arguing over who gets custody of Mindy’s 4-year-old son, Zander. Mindy, of course, has had lots of medical and legal problems because of her substance abuse. She recently appeared on the third season of VH1’s reality series, Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.

Nobody could have foreseen any of this in 1996 when Mindy’s first single, “Ten Thousand Angels,” reached the Top 10 and “Guys Do It All The Time” hit No. 1. Those of us in Nashville can only hope the story has a happy ending.

Carrie Him Home
Whispers and suspicions lead one to believe that sometime this summer, the beautiful Miss Carrie Underwood will no doubt become a Mrs. — Mrs. Mike Fisher, to be exact. We offer our congratulations and wish the couple the best.

One question, though. After Mike can no longer be a hockey star, what will he do for a living? Of course, we know Carrie can sing as long as she wants to. With few exceptions, there’s no retirement in country music.

The current leg of Carrie’s Play On tour with Craig Morgan and Sons of Sylvia will be followed by another series of concerts with Billy Currington and Sons of Sylvia. The tour, currently taking her to points west, will wrap up Dec. 19 in Calgary, Alberta.

Hmm. You don’t reckon the lovely Carrie will wait until the week before Christmas to edge in her “I do’s”?

Dierks on the Ridge
The Dierks-man wrapped his acoustic Up on the Ridge tour with a sold-out concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium with Ronnie and Rob McCoury and the other Travelin’ McCourys picking and grinning. The Punch Brothers and Del McCoury turned out for the event that was filmed for an upcoming television special. Critics are abuzz over Dierks’ new album, Up on the Ridge, to be released June 8. I dare you to not like it!

Birthday Greetings From the Rooney Family
It’s enough to give me a big head. The only way a body can celebrate a birthday is to get a year older. But when you get birthday greetings from the Rooney family — kind, drop-dead beautiful Tiffany, her guitar playing-singing superstar hubby Joe Don and their plumb perfectly gorgeous son, Jagger — you just know you cannot get a card from more famous folks in your entire life. Thanks, you wonderful three, for remembering.

Willie Did It
My grandson, Adam Smith, called me early Thursday morning (May 27) with breaking news — and it was such a surprising hair-raising experience. Willie Nelson cutting off his waist-length braids is the hairiest saga I’ve heard in this hillbilly town. He bobbed off his hair at the brim of his hat. Someone said, “Hell hath froze over.”

Why’d he do it? Just because he wanted to, would be my guess. Willie’s done it many times before, and his hair has nothing to do with his picking and singing. Still, I’ll miss his braids.

Ferlin Husky, Billy Sherrill Enter Hall of Fame
Members of Ferlin Husky’s family were seated on the front row and wept when Ricky Skaggs and the Whites sang Ferlin’s 1960 hit, “Wings of a Dove,” at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They were there to witness the 84-year-old singer’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Hit songwriter, record producer and label executive Billy Sherrill uttered only a few words during his induction. His friend, former BMI president and CEO Frances Preston, explained to the audience how Billy always chose not to say much. Billy’s accomplishments are too numerous to list, but I have to mention that he’s the man who found the song and produced “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the George Jones recording that’s one of my all-time favorites.

More News
Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner kicked off the Grand Ole Opry’s 85th birthday celebration at the Ryman Auditorium with a guitar jam on Tuesday (May 25) This birthday will be celebrated and celebrated.

Nashville residents Faith Hill, Emmylou Harris and Jack White will be heading to the White House to join an all-star lineup to honor Paul McCartney when he is presented the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. President Obama is expected to attend Wednesday’s (June 2) event that will also include the Jonas Brothers, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock.

The General Jackson show boat in Nashville has not been rolling on the Cumberland River since the recent flood. The problem is not the boat. The boat can go, but the piers have to be rebuilt. Some were washed away by the flood, and others just hung on and wore out.

Nashville Still Pulling Together
Never in my entire life have I seen people stick together like the folks in Middle Tennessee following this month’s flood. When I was a kid, North Carolina farmers would join in to help neighbors at wood choppings. Thirty or more neighbors would cut down trees and saw ’em up to heat the fireplaces, heaters and cook stoves. The same with wheat thrashings or corn shuckings. Men would help the neighbors, and the women would fill the tables with the finest food you ever tasted.

The great Tennessee flood of 2010 found strangers helping strangers, friends helping friends, people sharing food. The talented people in this town have been donating their God-given talent to help somebody. They haven’t stopped working and sharing and giving and praying. And these people will not stop until the last baby is fed, the last elderly person wears clean clothes, the last sick person gets medical attention, and every cabinet is stocked.

Homefolks help homefolks. We want to.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: A Family Chow.