HOT DISH: Country Stars Are Ready for the CMA Awards

More News About Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Montgomery Gentry 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

Some people will do anything for a laugh.

Brad Paisley proved that in a TV spot for Wednesday’s (Nov. 9) CMA Awards show which he’s co-hosting again with Carrie Underwood. In a parody of Carrie’s ad for the Olay skin care line, Brad took his whitest cowboy hat filled with water and then put the hat and the water on his head.

It’ll be great to see Brad and Carrie host the show for the fourth year. They’ll also be singing their No. 1 duet, “Remind Me.”

As I write this, the other performers include Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Taylor Swift, Thompson Square, Chris Young and the Zac Brown Band. In addition, Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter will be singing “You and Tequila,” Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield will deliver “Easy” and Lionel Richie will be performing select duets with Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts and Darius Rucker. Blake Shelton will be joined by Kenny Loggins on “Footloose” and singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson will perform his new single, “Run,” with Sugarland.

More than anything else, though, I am so thankful and excited about three former CMA entertainer of the year winners — Brad, Vince Gill and Keith Urban — offering a musical tribute Glen Campbell, another EOY winner who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Earlier this year, Campbell announced he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He has released his final album, Ghost on the Canvas, and is in the midst of his farewell tour.

The tribute became even more newsworthy after Keith announced he’ll undergo surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords. He’ll still perform on the CMA Awards, but he’s canceling or rescheduling most of his other appearances for the remainder of the year after his doctors prescribed “complete voice rest followed by an undetermined period of recuperation.” Among the shows he’s rescheduling are two Grand Ole Opry appearances and January’s We’re All for the Hall benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Brad’s Book
Kids, if you want to make a parent happy, read a book!

Diary of a Player is the first book Brad Paisley has written, and reading it is like hearing him talk about his childhood, his hometown of Glen Dale, W.Va., his parents, grandparents and Hank Goddard, the man he always credits for his fascination with guitar picking.

In the book, he also writes about the Wheeling Jamboree and his love and respect for people like Little Jimmy Dickens, Buck Owens, Steve Wariner, Vince Gill and Keith Urban. And he also talks about some of the college crowd he hung out with at Nashville’s Belmont University — co-writer and co-publisher Chris DuBois, co-writer, neighbor and friend Kelley Lovelace and producer and partner Frank Rogers — and the little multimillionaire corner of the world they’ve carved out for themselves on Music Row. It’s all between the lines of the book, though. As usual, Brad doesn’t brag on himself. His humility shines through like a silver dollar used to.

It’s my hope that teens who love guitars and music will buy this book and read it over and over. They’ll learn you don’t become a musician to be famous but to enjoy yourself and to entertain others.

So many fans have accused me of favoring Brad. After reading his book, I’m sure I will never be accused of anything that lame. But I am so proud of Brad, and I’m glad I met him before he became so incredibly famous.

Montgomery Gentry’s Rebels on the Run
Fans waited a long time — too long — for a new Montgomery Gentry album, and they drove it to a Top 10 debut on the country chart. Rebels on the Run is the new music the fans were ready and waiting for. The duo are so thankful to everyone at Average Joe’s Entertainment and for the team they’ve put together to get the word out about the album.

Produced by Michael Knox, who has worked with Jason Aldean, Trace Adkins and Hank Williams Jr., among others, Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry feel this record returned them to their musical roots. After one listen, some people have said Eddie and Troy have found the groove they seemed to have lost a couple of albums ago.

Somewhere in the retail world, there’s a CD copy of Rebels on the Run with a “golden ticket” hidden inside. The fan lucky enough to purchase that particular copy will win a one-of-a-kind Demented Cycles custom chopper designed with input from the duo.

More News
By the time you read this, the wonderful Eli Young Band may be celebrating. And what a reason to celebrate! Their platinum-selling single, “Crazy Girl,” is one notch away from hitting the top of the country chart. They’ll be out with Dierks Bentley on his Country & Cold Cans tour with Jerrod Niemann until late November.

By the way, Dierks is going international with his tour next year — first to Canada, then down under to Australia for five headlining shows.

Kellie Pickler will release her third album, 100 Proof on Jan. 24. Says Kellie, “I’m just happy to be making music. I just hope everybody enjoys my new music as much as I enjoyed making it.” I can’t wait to hear Kellie’s music. Shoot, I think she’s 1,000 proof!

Hunter Hayes, the young singer, songwriter, musician and producer from Louisiana, has joined the Milk Rocks campaign to promote milk consumption, health, exercise and nutrition. He’s being featured on more than 25 million milk cartons in schools across the U.S.

For eons, Dolly Parton has tried to cajole Hollywood into doing a movie or television sitcom with her in the role of an evangelist. It never happened, but Joyful Noise, a new film set for release in January, stars Dolly and Queen Latifah. The superstar divas portray choir leaders in Georgia who have a hard time working together to win a national competition. The movie also features Kris Kristofferson and Courtney B. Vance.

Tribble Reese and Sweet Home Alabama
Did you see the recent episode of CMT’s Sweet Home Alabama with bachelor Tribble Reese and all those scantily-dressed females staring at a nasty pond filled with alligators? Alabama boy that he is, Tribble didn’t seem the least bit scared of those ’gators — or scared of the girls, either. I was a tad shocked when one of the contestants, Hailey Glassman, admitted to Tribble that she used to date Jon Gosselin. It takes all kind, don’t it?

Tribble is such a nice guy. I hope he finds love during this reality show, but it seems to me that all he’d have to do is drive down I-65, stop at every exit in Alabama and look at the females. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the prettiest women I’ve ever seen were in Alabama — some driving tractors, others mowing yards or working in their gardens. And several worked at that wonderful exit where they sell those great peach milkshakes. If you’re traveling on I-65, look for the sign with the huge peach. You can’t miss it, and you really don’t want to miss that milkshake.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id=”1673791″]Broccoli Sunshine Salad.