HOT DISH: Taylor Swift’s International Travels

More News About Justin Moore, Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert 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

Taylor Swift made her first trip to South America recently with a promo stop in Rio de Janeiro. While in Brazil, she was presented with a gold LP plaque for her Speak Now: World Tour Live album.

Her latest single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the longest reign for a country title on the all-genre since Kenny Rogers accomplished the feat with “Lady” in 1980.

While in Brazil, Taylor did promotion for her upcoming album, Red, and she’ll travel to London to perform on BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards on Oct. 7.

She dates between gigs, I assume.

Pretty dadgum hot, huh?!

Kenny Rogers’ Autobiography
Speaking of Kenny Rogers, his autobiography is set for release Oct. 2. With chart-topping hits like “Lucille,” “The Gambler,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “Islands in the Stream” and a multitude of others, this is the first time Kenny has allowed his incredible rise to fame to be detailed in book form.

His rough-and-tumble childhood in the projects of Houston and growing up in poverty with an alcoholic dad, actually helped him avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse that often plagued others. It was the wisdom of Kenny’s mother, her love and advice that helped his journey become one of hard work and a positive attitude. You cannot beat homegrown traits!

Titled Luck or Something Like It, the book reveals how Kenny refused to let his past dictate his future. We could all use that sort of sound advice.

Justin Gets More Excited
Justin Moore is excited to be traveling on the fall leg of Eric Church’s Blood, Sweat and Beers tour. Justin says he’s been on a whole lot of major tours, and they’ve all been great. But he adds, “I’m as excited about this tour with Eric as any I’ve done.”

It appears to me that Justin and Eric have known each other for a long while. It also appears to me that each of these guys are fans of each other. That’ll work wonders on the road.

Jason Aldean Is Laid-Back at Home
Jason Aldean told People Country he is a lot more laid-back at home, playing with his two daughters in his back yard swimming pool, than he is onstage. During a photo shoot with his daughters, Kendyl and Keeley, Jason said, “This is my little getaway,” of his little country spread. Off stage and onstage makes quite a difference for Jason.

It’s Bluegrass Time in Nashville
The International Bluegrass Association’s World of Bluegrass Week is here in Nashville — and what a great event!

The Traveling McCourys and their friends kicked off the festivities with a free concert at Cumberland Park following the Tennessee Titans football game Sunday (Sept. 23). The late Dobro pioneers Josh Graves and Pete “Bashful Brother Oswald” Kirby will honored during a tribute concert on Monday.

Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea, Laurie Lewis, Claire Lynch, Dudley Connell, James King, Della Mae, Tom Rozum, Sally Love, Todd Phillips and several special guests will pay tribute to one of their late friends during a Tuesday performance billed as Heart and Soul: A Concert Honoring Hazel Dickens. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member John McEuen will host a performance celebrating the 40th anniversary of the group’s original Will the Circle Be Unbroken on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the big event — the IBMA Awards, hosted by Laurie Lewis and Del McCoury — is simply bluegrass music’s biggest night. Presenters and performers include Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Blue Highway, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Dailey & Vincent, J.D. Crowe, Gary and Randy Scruggs and many others.

And activities continue through the weekend with the Bluegrass Fan Fest taking place at the Nashville Convention Center.

Allen Reynolds Will Visit Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The great Allen Reynolds will appear at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on Oct. 6 as the latest subject of the Poets and Prophets: Legendary Country Songwriters series. Reynolds, a hit-making songwriters is also a hit-making record producer, who has worked with Crystal Gayle, Hal Ketchum and Kathy Mattea. He helped launch the recording careers of two other notables — Don Williams and Garth Brooks.

Producer Scott Hendricks Saluted for 50 No. 1 Singles
A surprise party was thrown to honor Scott Hendricks, Warner Music Nashville’s senior vice president of A&R to celebrate 50 No. 1 singles he has produced. His most recent was “Over” by Blake Shelton, who attended the event. Scott has produced seven No. 1’s on Blake.

More News
Brantley Gilbert says it’s good to be the boss. He’ll embark on his first headlining tour later this week.

Joe Nichols returns to Australia this month for his fourth visit. He will perform at the Deni Ute Muster festival that also features Kelly Clarkson.

Josh Thompson has signed a new record deal with Show Dog-Universal — home of Toby Keith and producer/label exec Mark Wright. Toby, you and Mark treat Josh right. He’s a great act.

Newcomer Greg Bates sings about things he’d do for a girl in his single, “Did It for the Girl,” but he admits there is one thing he absolutely wouldn’t do. “If she ever asked me to stop doing music, that’s the line I’d draw because I’m pretty much married to music at this point,” he says.

The Eli Young Band have got a baby boom happening. Jon Jones and his wife Sarah are expecting their first child in December.

Congrats to Pistol Annies member Ashley Monroe on her engagement to Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks. She shared the news via Twitter.

Spending Time With Jeff Dunham and Walter
Have you ever watched Jeff Dunham and his family of … well … suitcase pals? If not, it is time you gave yourself a time of laughter. My grandsons Jeremy and Tyler introduced me to Dunham and his kooky characters in a video. I do not recall laughing that much in a month of Sundays.

The only time previously when all my grandkids showed up for a taping of CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks was when Larry the Cable Guy was my guest. Those youngsters could not get enough of Larry — and the same goes for Jeff. They loved his ventriloquism and laughed at him and his friends.

He and his gang will appear on Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters, a special premiering Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on Comedy Central. If you feel like laughing, you will want to tune in. The DVD of his new special arrives in stores on Oct. 9 and showcases Jeff’s cast of characters, including Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Bubba J, Peanut and the whole family.

By the way, Jeff’s pals are dummies but he is no dummy. So far, he’s sold 7 million DVDs. According to Forbes magazine, he earned an estimated $30 million last year, just behind Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld in the comedy category.

Romance is in the air. Jeff and Audrey, his lady friend for more than four years, will be getting married in October at a California winery. Jeff knew when he met Audrey that she was the one. She was a waitress, and he was hungry. He’s a Texan who has lived in California for years, while Audrey is a California native.

Since day one, Audrey has traveled with Jeff. He’s given her a diamond ring that is so big, it about blinded me. Since they love it here, I tried to talk the happy couple into coming back to Music Town for the wedding.

I send them prayers for much happiness — the kind of happiness they gave my cameramen, producer and family and the kind of happiness they’ll give the fans when they see the show.

They’re welcome at my house anytime. And best of all, Jeff’s manager came to the party, too. Loved it!

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id=”1694268 “]Red Beans and Rice.[/news]