HOT DISH: Taylor Swift Is Still the Center of National Attention

More News About Thompson Square, Brad Paisley, Justin More and Other Country Stars

(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.)

Here’s hoping all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

If you are like Taylor Swift, you’ve had a whole year of happiness and giving thanks. Following her CMA entertainer of the year win, Taylor trekked over to the American Music Awards and picked up the favorite female country artist honor and the favorite country album trophy for Speak Now. And if that wasn’t enough, our winningest darling took home the top prize — the all-genre artist of the year award. She’s won it twice!

With her mouth saying “amazed” for about the 350th time this year, do not think for a minute she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She knows exactly what she’s doing.

And did you catch her interview on 60 Minutes?

Taylor might not have a regular boyfriend at the moment, but she told 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl she eventually wants 10 kids! I predict that after one 2-year-old, she will change her tune quicker than she can change a diaper.

By the way, Taylor will join Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley as the five acts to be honored on this year’s CMT Artists of the Year special. Hosted by Rob Lowe, the show premieres Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CMT and CMT.com.

The special will feature performances and appearances by the All-American Rejects, the Avett Brothers, Ellen DeGeneres, Gavin DeGraw, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, celebrity chef Stephanie Izard, Nickelback‘s Chad Kroeger, Miranda Lambert, Matthew McConaughey, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Lionel Richie, Joe Walsh of the Eagles and Hank Williams Jr.

Thompson Square Share on the Santa Train
The wonderful duo Thompson Square were up and on the rails at 5 a.m. on Nov. 19 when they departed Pikeville, Ky., in the dark. Even at this cold, dark and dreary hour, barefoot children with their parents were waiting along the railroad tracks for the bags of food, clothing, fruit, gifts and candy.

By the time the 69th annual CSX Santa Train came to a stop, more than 15 tons of toys were distributed to children and families in the coal mining towns of the Appalachian Mountains across Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

The train made 10 stops with Santa giving out presents all through Appalachia, probably giving the only gifts the children will get this year. It finally made its way to Kingsport, Tenn., where Thompson Square departed the train and crawled on their tour bus for a performance that night in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Thanks to Thompson Square for helping our youngsters in the mountains.

Brad Paisley Makes New York Times List
Brad Paisley‘s first book, Diary of a Player, is spending its second consecutive week on The New York Times‘ best-seller list. It’s a great read for upcoming musicians and for fans of country music. Youngsters who love guitars will love this book. Those of us who are blessed to be acquainted with Brad can almost hear him saying the next line of every sentence he writes.

More News
Kennedy Faye Moore cried her first tear after entering the world on Nov. 21, joining her 21-month-old sister Ella Kole shortly after their daddy, Justin Moore, wrapped up his tour dates for the year. He’s going to be spending time with his wife Kate and their two babies.

It was a rainy morning this past Monday (Nov. 21), so I caught Rascal Flatts‘ performance on NBC’s Today. I was watching from home, but a mob of fans from all over the place gathered there in New York City — with lots of girls screaming their heads off. The guys looked great and sounded great, too, but they sure looked cold.

In a recent interview with Southern Living, poet and author Maya Angelou was asked to name her favorite singer. “Martina McBride, Brad Paisley and Ronnie Dunn,” the great American responded. “And I especially like Toby Keith. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor and a sense of patriotism.”

Carrie Underwood is the first to announce she will perform at the 2012 CMA Music Festival taking place June 7-10. Now, that’ll make you head to Nashville next summer. Carrie has been loyal to CMA and all that goes with the organization.

Billy Currington and his opening acts — labelmates David Nail and Kip Moore — will be hitting those hillbilly highways come 2012. This is Billy’s very first headlining tour.

Eric Church calls his upcoming headlining dates the Blood, Sweat & Beers tour. His opening act is Brantley Gilbert, and an array of new acts, including Cadillac Black, Blackberry Smoke, Sonia Leigh, Jon Pardi and Drake White, will also perform on selected dates.

Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” will be featured on the Dec. 6 episode of Glee. The song isn’t even officially a single, but it’s a smash hit.

The really cute duo known as the JaneDear Girls will make their television series debut in an episode of the CW network’s Hart of Dixie on Monday (Nov. 28). They will perform their up-tempo “Shotgun Girl” during the town’s annual Planksgiving Fish Fry celebration.

My friends Alison Krauss and Dierks Bentley, along with Country Music Hall of Famer Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Darius Rucker, James Taylor, Lauren Alaina and The Band Perry, entertained at the White House for a PBS special that aired Wednesday (Nov. 23). Alison made the news and looked like a model. Thanks for representing country in the nation’s capital.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id="1674932"]Minnie Pearl’s Chess Pie.[/news]