(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.)
"I was hoping you could make it," said smiling Brad Paisley as he gave me a hug when he walked into the ASCAP building last week for his No. 1 celebration. I teased him about having star-itis, since he arrived 30 minutes late. He ignored my teasing and just wanted to know how I was doing. I'd heard he wore out the phone calling and checking when I was sick.
He and co-writer Chris DuBois were honored for writing Brad's most recent hit, "Mud on the Tires," which also happens to be the title of his latest double-platinum CD on Arista Nashville. At the event, it was nice seeing Chris' father, Tim DuBois, who signed Brad to Arista and is now a partner at Universal South Records. Arista's Bobby Kraig filled in for vacationing Joe Galante who was on spring break -- just kidding, Joe -- while ASCAP's beautiful Connie Bradley hosted.
"Where's Kim?" I asked Brad, referring to his lovely actress wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley of ABC-TV's According to Jim.
"She was here but had to go back to L.A.," Brad replied.
"Ya'll thinking about having a baby?" I inquired.
"She wants one," Brad quipped.
"Can I put it on CMT?"
Brad grinned and nodded yes.
"Does anyone else know?"
So the couple's parents -- Doug and Sandy Paisley in West Virginia and the Williams family in upstate New York -- along with the rest of the world just learned that a baby may very well be in the future for Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley. How's that for hot stuff?
Eyes Still on Willie
Why does everything involving Willie Nelson seem to fall right into place? Maybe it's because of his two mottos: "Don't worry about a thing, because nothing's going to be all right," and "Fortunately, we're not in control."
Three partners and Willie are working on new fuel and calling it BioWillie, a blend of diesel and vegetable oil. The flagship station is Carl's Corner Truck Stop near Hillsboro, Texas, a place where Willie used to play dominoes. Says Willie, "There is no need going around starting wars over oil. We have it here at home. We have the necessary product. The farmers can grow it."
Plans for expanding the truck stop call for a restaurant, dance hall, stage and even a Starbucks coffee shop. XM Satellite Radio's Hank's Place program will also broadcast from the facility.
The movie, Dukes of Hazzard, with Willie starring as Uncle Jesse in the remake of the popular TV show, will be released in theaters this summer. The film also stars Burt Reynolds, Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott. Jessica Simpson, who portrays Daisy Duke, is recording new songs for the film's soundtrack, including a duet with Willie.
Willie is expected to work with director Robert Altman on A Prairie Home Companion, a movie based on Garrison Keillor's popular radio show. Set for release in 2006, the film also stars Meryl Streep, Tom Waits, Lyle Lovett and possibly George Clooney.
From May 25 through July 11, Willie will open U.S. concerts for Bob Dylan.
Willie and some of his musical friends recently raised more than $75,000 for tsunami victims in Asia during a benefit concert in Austin, Texas. Songs for Tsunami Relief: From Austin to South Asia, a CD and DVD taped at the concert, will be released April 12 to raise additional money for the victims.
"Wonder what the federal government will try to do to Willie over BioWillie?" asked someone with a good heart who loves Willie and his music and remembers the IRS bleeding Willie for $6 million in taxes. "Just pray," was my answer. "And re-read Willie's mottos."
Will New It Babes Have a Hit?
New babes are it, but do they have a hit?
Tons of ink on Epic's Miranda Lambert made her debut CD, Kerosene, light up the album charts when it debuted at No. 1 and gave the label some bragging rights.
Capitol's taste of Texas, Amber Dotson, is currently in the studio completing her debut CD. She's been called country's most exciting new artist and has received great reviews as opening act for George Strait and Dierks Bentley.
When People magazine brags, we listen. Which is the case for Jessi Alexander, a homegrown singer-songwriter from Jackson, Tenn., whose CD on Columbia is titled Honeysuckle Sweet.
Columbia's Shelly Fairchild, who opened shows during Rascal Flatts' spring tour and has been asked to continue on their summer tour, is confirmed for a May 17 appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.
Universal South's Katrina Elam got great reviews while opening shows for Keith Urban. But with nine Canadian dates remaining, she left us scratching our heads when suddenly she departed Keith's tour -- saying she had to head home to take care of some personal and professional business.
As the granddaughter of Hank and daughter of Hank Jr., Curb Records' Holly Williams has the name, the fame and the bloodline but has yet to totally establish herself on a first name basis like grandpa, daddy, Dolly and Loretta.
I've heard almost nothing about Lauren Lucas, a Warner Bros. act, except that her single, "What You Ain't Gonna Get," is on Radio & Records' most added list.
Another Universal South act is Amanda Wilkinson, who is also a member of the group the Wilkinson. With her dad and brother, she had a hit some years ago with "26 Cents."
I believe Arista is Rebecca Lynn Howard's third record label, but the girl can sing and could come out on top this time if she becomes "it with a hit."
RCA's Catherine Britt sings like an angel, looks like a model and is making strides in the right places, hopefully at radio, too, while strutting around with Hank tattooed on her backside.
Plumb Perfect Vince
I call Vince Gill plumb perfect because he is. Vince, the most beloved person in country music, is also one of the most generous, as is his wife, Amy Grant. You know, it's hard for me to believe that Vince -- BA (before Amy) -- used to get angry while playing golf and would throw the bats or irons (or whatever those things are called that he hits the little ball with). He told me he'd swear and scream. I don't think he needs to vent anger --SA (since Amy) -- anymore.
I'd heard Vince and Amy were inviting a bunch of stars to their home to talk about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and I knew there was a dire need for funds to support our place of history. I understand Vince asked the guests to contribute proceeds from one concert to this most important institution. Nanci Griffith spoke right up to say she'd contribute proceeds from her Carnegie Hall concert in New York on Nov. 2. I know my people, and I know they will come through. They always do. Thank God for Vince, Amy and Nanci -- and He knows who else!
Best news I've heard all year: Good guy Trace Adkins' CD Songs About Me got a kicking start to debut at No. 1 on the country album charts. The album's might nigh good as Trace live.
If I were A&R for a country label, I'd sign American Idol contestant Carrie Underwood. What are you slowpokes waiting for? Even cranky Simon says, "The girl is hot."
It has taken Andy Griggs' "If Heaven" some time to reach the Top 10, but good things are worth waiting for. What a song.
Broken Bow Records is the indie label that has proved it can. "That's What I Love About Sunday," from Craig Morgan's new Broken Bow album, is No. 1 on the country singles chart for yet a third week.
Reba McEntire will perform a show over the Memorial Day weekend to benefit Reba's Ranch House that supports families of critically ill patients at the Texoma Medical Center in Texas.
Buddy Jewell will receive a Fatherhood Award for 2005 during a reception and dinner on April 19 presented by the National Fatherhood Initiative. He deserves it.
Ernest Ray Lynn Jr., grandson of Loretta, is selling some of grandma's stuff on eBay. Isn't Loretta's stuff too sacred for this?
Sending love and prayers to my dear friend Dan Rogers in Vanderbilt Hospital. And also sending love and sympathy to my good friend, Brian Hughes, whose 82-year-old mom passed away last week in California.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Chocolate Pound Cake.