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CMT Hot Dish: Dinner With Andy Griggs
And Big, Big Parties for Gretchen, Kix & Ronnie
(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by former Country Music magazine columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel's Hot Dish: Cookin' With Country Stars, she also shares her recipes at CMT.com.)

Brad Pitt Look-a-Like

The Town Car driver ferried me clear across town to the better part of Music City where I joined the A-team of flacks and hacks for an evening of noshing and music at the inner sanctum of Joe (and Phran) Galante's private residence located across from the governor's mansion. Galante, leader of the Nashville pack of label-heads, runs a tight ship as he steers the careers of artists on RCA, BNA and Arista -- which, of course, includes Brad Pitts look-a-like, Andy Griggs. After we chowed down on delish 'n tender eye of beef, tasty boiled shrimp, fine and fresh veggies, yummy blackberry cobbler with ice cream and a couple other desserts, we gathered in the huge living room to hear new music from Griggs. Top brass like CMT's Brian Philips enjoyed the private showcase.

Musically privileged, I'd already heard Andy's new CD, This I Gotta See and allowed that this was the record to catapult the Louisiana native into the stratosphere known as superstardom -- something Andy wants bad ... real bad. To tell the truth, sipping and sitting and listening to the acoustic performance in the comfort of the Galante abode could become a habit. With award-winning producer Randy Scruggs accompanying Griggs on guitar, it don't get no better. And girls, Andy, who is unmarried -- does have the best-looking butt on Music Row. The boy looks good, coming or going. Shoot, if you ask me, he's even better looking than Brad Pitt. So there!

It was good visiting with Andy again. He talked about his new album; hunting and fishing and touring and fixing up his house in nearby Mt. Juliet, and he told the whole kit and caboodle about me introducing him at a WFMS "Girls Night Out" in Indianapolis with 10,000 screaming females, how I forced him to turn around, so the ladies could get a better view of that cute butt. The chauffeur drove me across town to where houses are noticeably smaller. Thanks for the limo ride, Joe.

Didja Know?

Didja know Buddy Jewell's song was the answer to a $2,000 Jeopardy question? The Double Jeopardy answer needing a question was, "Buddy Jewell's daughter asked if the angels would let her do this when she reached heaven." The correct response: "What is pour out the rain?"

The Dukes of Hazzard Never Got Cold

When The Dukes of Hazzard cast blew into Nashville, they brought the fastest car in Kentucky, the General Lee. Along for the ride Daisy Duke a/k/a Catherine Bach -- the wearer of cut-off denims, Cooter (Ben Jones), Deputy Cletus Hogg (Rick Hurst), Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (James Best) and the bumbling Deputy Enos (Sonny Shroyer). Memories raised their head -- memories of Waylon Jennings, the writer and singer of the show's theme, "Good Ol' Boys" that went to No. 1 on the charts. Waylon also served as the show's narrator. He recorded at Glaser [Studio] where his office was located. It took Waylon maybe 45 minutes to do his dialogue, and he'd come back downstairs grinning and say, "Just made $9,000." Late '70s and early '80s, that was big money even for a superstar like Waylon. Still hot after all these years, a feature film of the Dukes is in pre-production, the first season of the TV show is available on DVD and a new video game will hit stores in September.

Brad's Dad Stunned

(Background: Last week, Brad Paisley chose CMT's Hot Dish on CMT.com to tell his dad, Doug Paisley, he was giving him his red Corvette.)

When Nashville Kat from a Seattle radio station called Doug Paisley in Glen Dale, W.Va., last Monday morning asking about his Corvette, he had no idea what she was talking about until he went on CMT.com. Yelled Doug, "Am I excited? Overwhelmed is the word. I'm not sure how to react. I feel strange."

Same Monday in Music City -- another Paisley surprise. Brad was asked to come by the record label office for a photo with the execs. Was he surprised when the entire kit and caboodle showed up with a platinum record for Mud on My Tires.

Kenny Trails

I see where Chesney trails only Prince and Britney Spears in mid-year ticket count. I cannot for the life of me figure how Prince or Spears could sell more tickets than Kenny.
I couldn't hum a Prince song if my life depended on it, and Britney Spears doesn't even attempt to sing live ... why she can only lip-sync. How do I know?? I know one of her stagehands! Who would want to pay hard-earned dollars to see her? My niece Lisa has been to almost every Chesney show east of the Mississippi. Young girls are rabid for Chesney. I understand that. Renee Bell and the almighty BNA-A&R department birddog
them songs for Kenny and come away with the best. Besides, he is country, and that's what we are supposed to be.

Right On

The week of Ray Charles' passing, VH1's Bill Flanagan said on CBS Sunday Morning, "If you don't think Ray Charles influenced country music, just listen to Travis Tritt. One of the smarter broads in town, my friend, Louise (Mrs. Earl) Scruggs says, "Travis Tritt is the best singer out there today." I can't argue with that.

Two-Party Day

These two-party days are wearing me plumb out. First, to the rotunda at the Country Music Hall of Fame for Gretchen Wilson's platinum party. Gretchen is much smaller and 10-times prettier than photos or videos allow. Her long silken hair and no nonsense attitude are exactly what I imagined both would be. She's been halfway around the world. So NYC big-gun Donnie Ienner joined Nashville's John Grady for the event. Ienner did his brags, but it was Grady who announced that Gretchen's record was double platinum! Enough to make a girl cry and Gretchen cried. I thanked Gretchen for singing to the workingmen and women in this country ... my kin and asked who keeps her 4-year-old. "Mama," she replied with a smile. "I take her on the road when I can," she said. "Not mama, my daughter!" she laughed.

On to the Gulch on 12th Avenue across from the Station Inn where Brooks & Dunn were holding court with host, RCA Label Group, Joe Galante. The billboard said 25-million records. "They've actually sold 27 million, but 25 million looks better on a plaque," allowed Galante. "There was never a time to celebrate. These guys are so busy. I've been in show biz 33 years," continued Galante, "and these two guys are the best at everything and try to do everything they can to make it better." Major leaguers in attendance were Martin Clayton, CMT's senior VP; Renee Bell and Butch Waugh, RCA's senior VPs; and the Hall of Fame's Kyle Young.

Kix (Brooks) and Ronnie (Dunn), always gracious, thanked everybody in attendance and
especially thanked Galante for his leadership and the staff. The curtains behind the most-awarded duo in country music raised, and the Coors Light twins drove out matching four- wheelers, a gift to B&D from their record label. A curtain on the right raised displaying plaque after plaque, floor to ceiling, and all personalized. Those of us who had been given red armbands at the door took home a B&D 25-million plaque personally engraved. Yes, there was a plaque with the name Hazel Smith.

See this week's Hot Dish Recipe of the Week: Giblet Gravy.
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