HOT DISH: Did You Hear About … ?

Lots of News About Gwyneth Paltrow, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley and Others

(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 hear that Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s co-starring with Tim McGraw in the much talked-about movie, Country Strong, has also recorded the title track as a single for RCA Records? Co-written by Jennifer Hanson, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler, the song features background vocals by Vince Gill and Patty Griffin. The track has already been delivered to country radio, and the label has set an Aug. 23 date for its big push to get stations to play it. Paltrow is not blessed with powerhouse vocals like Faith Hill or Miranda Lambert, but her singing is better than most people expected. So far, there’s no word if McGraw will offer music for the movie which is set to arrive in theaters Dec. 22. The soundtrack album is set for release on Oct. 26.

Did you hear that Toby Keith‘s new album, Bullets in the Gun, will be in stores on Oct. 5? The first single, “Trailerhood,” is hot out of the oven and climbing charts on its own.

And did you hear that plumb perfect Vince Gill is one of the artists featured in the concert film from Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival? At Clapton’s invitation, a whole passel of great guitarists turned up in Chicago earlier this year, including Jeff Beck, ZZ Top, John Mayer, B.B. King and Sheryl Crow. Looks like Sheryl and blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi are the token females in the film that was screened nationally last week. It’s set to be released on DVD in November.

Did you hear that Jimmy Wayne survived one of the coldest winters and one of the hottest summers while walking 1,700 miles from Nashville to Phoenix to call attention to the problems faced by young people who are homeless? He had blisters on his feet, but Jimmy never went hungry or thirsty — not with wonderful country music fans who helped him along the way. I wish I knew the names of all those sainted people who gave Jimmy food and water and accompanied him down the highway. From Tennessee to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and, finally, Arizona, maybe the governing officials in each state are more aware of homeless teens, thanks to Jimmy’s good heart.

Did you hear that ASCAP’s 2010 country awards presentation will take place on Sept. 14 at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville? Or that BMI’s 58th annual country awards extravaganza is scheduled for Nov. 9 at the company’s office on Music Row? Both events are black-tie and by invitation only.

And you’ve probably heard that the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame’s 40th anniversary dinner and induction ceremony will be held Oct. 17 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

Mrs. Fisher Scores a No. 1 Single
When Carrie Underwood‘s “Undo It” became her latest single to top the chart, it became her very first No. 1 as Mrs. Mike Fisher. There’s plenty of bling for Carrie these days. She wears a gorgeous ring on the third finger of her left hand, and “Undo It” is a gold digital single from her platinum album, Play On. And that doesn’t even take into account all her other gold, platinum and multi-platinum records.

Carrie made a guest appearance Tuesday night (July 27) in Nashville on the Grand Ole Opry and headed to New York City for a Friday morning (July 30) performance on Today. Welcome back to planet Earth, Mrs. Fisher. For an Okie girl, a honeymoon on an exotic island is pretty far out.

New Arrivals Scheduled for Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner
Santa will be making a special visit to Dierks and Cassidy Bentley’s house when he flies his sleigh into Music Town with a new brother or sister for Evie, who will be 21 months when the new arrival comes in December. I’m so excited for this marvelous family. When I spoke with Dierks a few weeks back, he told me the best thing in his entire life is when he comes home off the road and sees his girls, Cassidy and Evie.

Another baby is on the way, too, for Josh Turner and his wife, Jennifer. They already have two sons — Hampton, 3, and Colby, 1. The family will be welcoming the latest addition early next year.

More News
Taylor Swift will be joining Emmylou Harris and Kris Kristofferson in Los Angeles during a Sept. 23 fundraiser for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The All for the Hall event takes place at Club Nokia. Taylor’s new album, Speak Now, will be released on Oct. 25.

Somewhere in heaven, the great Bill Monroe must have been smiling when he saw Dierks Bentley singing his beloved bluegrass music on the Late Show With David Letterman and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

With oodles of country soul, James Otto‘s new album, Shake What God Gave Ya is set for release on Sept. 14. The project includes his duet with one of his idols, Ronnie Milsap, on “Good Things Gone Bad.”

Passings
I see where Ben Keith died recently at age 73. I met Ben when he played steel guitar in Tompall Glaser‘s band during the high-and-holy Outlaw days. I’m here to tell you, the man could flat play a steel guitar. Ben became a longtime sideman for Neil Young after meeting him in 1971 during sessions for the rock star’s Harvest album.

Margaret Ann Rich, 76, wife of the late singer-songwriter Charlie Rich, passed away at her Memphis home on July 22. She’d been battling Alzheimer’s disease.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Baked Chicken.