HOT DISH: Faith Hill, Martina McBride Still Rocking the Cradle

More News About Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton 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

Maggie, Gracie and Audrey know they can always depend on their mom, Faith Hill. Delaney, Emma and Ava also know they can always depend on their mom, Martina McBride. Faith and Martina are two of the all-time great beauties who also happen to be country music singing stars.

Married to one of country music’s greatest and most successful singers, Faith is obviously proud of her man, Tim McGraw, who is making a name for himself these days in Hollywood as an actor.

Martina is equally proud of her husband, businessman John McBride, who runs the very successful recording studio they own. He began his Music City career working sound on the road for Garth Brooks. John later ran the soundboard for his wife. Eventually, the dream of a studio became a reality for the two of them.

Rock the Cradle is a fundraiser to support babies born at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital and the Beaman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. With Faith and Martina having rocked the cradle for each of their daughters while still touring to entertain country music fans, when they were needed to rock the cradle for newborn and ill babies, they answered the call.

Martina and Faith will perform during this year’s Rock the Cradle show taking place Oct. 26 at the Loveless Cafe Barn in Nashville.

Fans and friends, don’t forget to thank these good-hearted ladies who rocked their own daughters and now will rock the cradle for those in need.

Keith Urban Takes Lead in Honoring Country Music Hall of Fame
I’ve said before, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is our home. It’s the history of country music, the place where the songs and singers of songs reside. And it’s a man from Australia who’s making sure future generations remember that rich history. His name is Keith Urban and, thank God, this friend of mine is as much a part of the big picture as Cash and Waylon and Willie.

Keith Urban was barely knee high when his love affair with the music of Don Williams, Dolly Parton and other country greats took root. His home in Australia was an 18-hour plane ride from Nashville, but he followed his childhood dream and eventually made it to Music Row. He became one of the greatest guitarists on the planet, writes songs that are becoming classics and is one of the finest entertainers on the open road. And he’s as country as Roy Acuff and his Tennessee hills and Bill Monroe and his Kentucky bluegrass.

When Keith hosted his second We’re All for the Hall fundraiser in Nashville, he found plenty of talented friends to volunteer for last week’s show. Those friends included Hall of Famers Vince Gill, Dolly Parton and Charley Pride, along with Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Alison Krauss, Alan Jackson, Billy Currington and one of Keith’s newer friends, John Mayer.

Mayer flew all the way from Italy for the concert and thanked Keith for introducing him to “the real Nashville.” Mayer told him, “Keith, I’ll be anywhere you want me to be.”

Hey girls, maybe we can find John Mayer a hillbilly girlfriend!

Tailored by Taylor?
Taylor Swift has become a fashion diva. At the personal invitation of designer Roberto Cavalli, she jetted off to Milan, Italy, and Paris for fashion week. She made several media appearances and did a photo shoot.

The fashion-conscious Taylor is focusing on headwear accessories and has become quite a designer of sorts. She frequents craft stores where she buys ribbons, lace and the like and uses her imagination — just like she writes songs.

“Tailored by Taylor”! What a great idea I’m giving her.

Stars Shine at IEBA Presentation
The always-wonderful Dolly Parton showed up at the recent International Entertainment Buyers Association meeting in Nashville to present her former manager, Jim Morey, the organization’s Industry Achievement Award. Kenny Chesney presented his manager, Dale Morris, an award. And Lee Ann Womack presented an award to her manager, Erv Woolsey, who also manages George Strait. Martina McBride presented Ron Baird, formerly with Creative Artists Agency, his award.

Actor Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West, entertained the IEBA attendees. He admitted he was always afraid to follow his first love — music. According to Costner, his wife listened to some of his songs and pushed him to start exploring music again. “It was a great thing she did for me,” he added.

First-Ever CMT Artists of the Year Airs in December
CMT is planning its first-ever CMT Artists of the Year special. Criteria for choosing the five acts included music sales, country radio airplay, concert grosses as a headliner or co-headliner and video streams. Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Zac Brown Band will be honored for their accomplishments when the show premieres Dec. 3.

Burlesque With Cher and Julianne Hough
Watching television, there was a commercial for the new movie, Burlesque, starring Cher. I didn’t recognize the other starlets, but when they said Julianne Hough, I took a long, hard look. It’s Julianne’s face all right but that hair! Remember her long, always-pretty blond tresses that were always in place? What Hollywood has on the girl’s head is Judd-red, straight and stringy. Very unbecoming. It looks like a trailer park hairdo — or mine on a rainy day.

More News
Lady Antebellum celebrated their two-week No. 1 single, “Our Kind of Love,” last week during a party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville. While they were there, executives from their label, Capitol Nashville, presented the trio with a plaque commemorating the triple-platinum status of their latest album, Need You Now. That’s 3 million copies served.

Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Reba, George Strait, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban will join Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton as performers at the CMA Awards on Nov. 10. Brad and Carrie will co-host the show for the third year.

Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band and Toby Keith claim the top spots of songs getting the most jukebox plays this year. Lady A’s “Need You Now” got over 440,000 plays in bars and restaurants. The Zac Brown Band scored No. 2 and No. 3 with “Toes” and “Chicken Fried.” Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar” was No. 4.

Reba says, “I think women have a hard time of stopping, making sure everybody is happy before they are happy. And if the woman is happy, everybody else is happy because that attitude shines through.” I think Reba’s got something there.

Giving credit where credit is due, Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney speaks up to say, “Our fans are to blame for our success. Fans employ us. Record sales, ticket sales, plus the fans are passionate and pumped for our music. Fans are the driving force behind us.”

For the first time in 22 years, Mel Tillis traveled to New York City, where he promoted his new comedy album, You Ain’t Gonna Believe This. When the Country Music Hall of Famer visited Sirius XM Satellite Radio, he ran into an old friend, actor Mickey Rooney, who was celebrating his 90th birthday.

Trace Adkins will entertain our brave troops when he returns to the Middle East for his third tour in the war-torn region. A longtime supporter of the U.S. military, Trace stopped by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., last month and spent time with wounded warriors. Trace has performed for more than 7,800 troops in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id=”1649640″]Chips and Dip.[/news]