CMT News

HOT DISH: One Woman Kissed by Keith Urban!
Vince Gill Issues a Call for Funds; Johnny Cash's Guitar Goes Home
(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 shares her recipes at CMT.com.)

Scores of young, attractive, thin ladies filled ASCAP to catch a glimpse of Keith Urban. Wouldn't you know Urban had the good taste to kiss the lips of only one ... ME!!

They call it "round robin" when media circle a table and pop questions to artists. As was the case when Nashville's best, including yours truly, amassed for Urban and Rodney Crowell news. Two of our finest singer-songwriters were honored: Urban for singing and Crowell for writing the No. 1 hit for five weeks, "Making Memories of Us."

Fans of each other, Rodney allowed he thought Keith's version of the song was gorgeous. Keith said, "Rodney says what I'd like to say in songs."

Keith's producer, Dann Huff, who I hired to play guitar on Dr. Hook sessions two decades ago, described Urban's passion when recording. "I've never produced an artist who tries harder than Keith to make a song be just right," Huff told me. "It's an honor to work with someone of his caliber who cares about music so deeply." Huff told the crowd later he'd never seen such commitment from an artist. Personally, I've never seen such humility.

Keith told me he's happy with his career. He said he was honored he was chosen to perform in Philadelphia July 2 on Live 8 where artists from all genres performed, and he is thrilled his tour is selling out.

Capitol's Fletcher Foster seized the opportunity to suggest that voters nominate "Making Memories of Us" as CMA song of the year and single of the year.

Keith and Rodney closed by performing the honored song. Keith sang lead on the first verse, and Rodney harmonized on the chorus. Rodney sang lead on the second verse, and Keith harmonized on the chorus. They swapped lines on the third verse, and then all of us sang along on the chorus.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Blessed by Generosity for "All for the Hall"

Invited guests filled the Hall's Ford Theater to capacity on Tuesday (July 12). The event opened with the recording of the legendary "Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul" by the late Stoney Edwards. Director Kyle Young welcomed guests by explaining the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an educational organization. "This is country music's Library of Congress," Young remarked. He added, "I'm proud to say a prayer of thanksgiving has been answered. It takes $200,000 a week to run the HOF plus the enormous mortgage. As for right now, we are covered." Wow.

Board president, plumb perfect Vince Gill, took the stage to say he is proud to sit on the HOF board. Vince said when he learned of the need he felt that instead of begging for money, the performers who created the music should support it. He and wife Amy Grant hosted a party at their home and invited several hundred fellow artists making them aware of the need, hence, All for the Hall became a reality. Vince suggested each performer donate money generated from one concert annually. "The outpouring has been incredible," said Gill. Besides Vince, artists who have participated so far are: Kenny Chesney, the Jordanaires, Naomi Judd, Jim Lauderdale, Lonestar, Mac McAnally, Jimmy C. Newman, Jeanne Pruett, Eddy Raven, Earl Scruggs and Todd Snider. The following artists are committed to the cause: Carlos DeFord Bailey, Big & Rich, Junior Brown, Kate Campbell, Melonie Cannon, Beth Nielsen Chapman, John Cowan, Cowboy Troy, Katrina Elam, Janie Fricke, Grant, the Grascals, Nanci Griffith, Mike Henderson, Hal Ketchum, George "Goober" Lindsey, Robert Reynolds (of the Mavericks), Jon Nicholson, James Otto, Boots Randolph and Gretchen Wilson. Lastly, the following have expressed interest/final commitment pending: Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss, Charlie Daniels, Radney Foster, Jamie Hartford, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Ashley Monroe, Maura O'Connell, Gretchen Peters, LeAnn Rimes, Jeannie Seely, Phil Vassar and Lari White.

Board member E.W. "Bud" Wendell described the HOF as the future and past of country music. "What you are supporting is very, very important," he assured. In closing he said, "The HOF is country music's eternal light."

A performance of Johnny Cash singing "Five Feet High and Rising" from ABC-TV's The Johnny Cash Show from '69 was shown with Cash playing his D-35S Martin guitar. Young asked good-hearted Robert W. McLean of Murfreesboro to come on the podium. Perhaps you recall McLean as procurer of Mother Maybelle Carter's guitar for the HOF, also underwriter of the marvelous Earl Scruggs Journey on display at the HOF. Now McLean has brought us the Johnny Cash Martin guitar. "He brought it in my office last week with a smile," Young said. Added McLean, "The instrument is safe in our Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It belongs to you and me, the fans of country music." McLean, a country fan, is on the HOF Board.

Contribute if you can. Come see us in Music City.

New News

Pretty soon Shania Twain will smell things up. She'll have a new fragrance, Shania by Stetson, in September.

Bryan White and actress wife Erica Page White have a new son named Jackson Dylan, born July 8. Jackson joins 2-year old brother Justin Daniel.

The Little League Park in Pocahontas, Ill., has been named the Gretchen Wilson Park.
Gretchen's forthcoming All Jacked Up CD is a tribute to Jack Daniels. She knows him.

Charlie Daniels set to release a patriotic CD to be sold exclusively by Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. Since May, Cracker Barrel has sold over 125,000 pieces of a compilation by Alison Krauss & Union Station, also for sale exclusively in their stores.

Dolly Parton showed up at Nashville's Station Inn and performed with mandolin player Chris Thile of Nickel Creek.

R&B crooner Brian McKnight joined Rascal Flatts onstage during their sold-out L.A. gig at Universal Amphitheatre. Celebs Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and David Hasselhoff visited backstage -- probably hoping to catch a glimpse of Joe Don Rooney's Playboy girlfriend.

Look for the Porter Wagoner exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum which opened Friday (July 15). Wear dark glasses while gazing at The Rhinestone Troubadour. Porter has worn tons of shiny stuff during his illustrious career.

Skechers, the makers of trendy footwear, partnered in the past with Britney Spears and Christine Aguilera, but no more. Skechers had the good taste and good sense to partner with country Carrie Underwood, the latest American Idol winner. The company believes Carrie has global appeal and have put their money where their mouth is.

Kenny Chesney has sold twice more concert tickets in 2005 than Celine Dion, but she's made more money than Kenny. See, Dion charges an outrageous $136.70 per ticket. In my opinion, nobody is worth that amount of obscene money. By the way, Kenny has sold more tickets than anybody, around 610,000.

Tim McGraw had not even stepped on his bus to leave home, and he'd already sold out his two-month summer tour. He and wife Faith Hill just returned from Rome performing on Live 8. Lastly, Tim has his first lead role in the Fox movie, Flicka.

Toby Keith thought his birthday had slipped by, and nobody knew. Opening act Lee Ann Womack found out late in the day, got ticked off, then got busy. She ordered a six-foot tall inflatable birthday cake and had it set up on top of her bus. Belated happy b-day, Toby from CMT and me. And congrats for the new platinum color of Honkytonk University and Boomtown.

Brooks & Dunn hired a rock photog to shoot their CD cover. God, I hope he don't make them look wrinkled, old and ugly as the Rolling Stones. Kix and Ronnie are pretty.

Clay Walker has signed with the Curb/Asylum label. Keith Stegall set to produce.

"Hurt," the Johnny Cash single, is certified gold.

Vince Gill set to receive the Humanitarian Award while the Oak Ridge Boys will be honored with the Living Legend Award at the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) conference in October at the Hilton Inn Downtown Nashville. Bill Engvall serves as dinner host.

Radio, play "Come Friday" by Aaron Tippin!

Borrowing from Kris Kristofferson's classic song "Me and Bobby McGee," Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman on CNBC told host Tim Russert his new campaign slogan is "Friedman's just another word for nothing left to lose."

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: White Chili.
CMT - Get country.