(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.)
Thanksgiving After Thanksgiving
From the time an 18-year-old Terri Clark sat in on guitar pulls at local dives in Nashville, I liked her. She was a country singer-songwriter with homemade songs that fit my hit list. Terri wore jeans, and eventually she began wearing a hat onstage.
I met her husband, Greg Kaczor, a dozen or more years ago. A good guitar player and harmony singer, Greg was not afraid of hard work. After driving all night from a gig, he'd chop and split wood for the stove to keep the house warm, keep the van and his truck in A-1 running shape and help neighbors or friends when they'd get in a bind.
I remember 10 years ago when he went to work for Terri. She soon learned Greg was more than a musician; he'd try his hand at anything. It's no wonder Greg is her guitarist, harmony singer, road manager and, now, her husband.
Greg is family to me. He's spent many Thanksgivings at my house. So I sent an e-mail inviting him and Terri to Thanksgiving dinner this year. We had 27 wonderful friends and family around the table and spread throughout the house, but no Greg and Terri.
The day after Thanksgiving is what it was when I received the e-mail. Greg and Terri were in British Columbia, where they'd purchased a log cabin overlooking the ocean, and I'd bet they're snug as a bug in a rug. Greg, no doubt, has wood he's axed in the fireplace and a roaring fire going to warm two people and a big black dog named Oscar. Of course, they'll keep their place in Nashville. I'm glad Terri and Greg found the happiness they deserve.
Keith and Nicole Spotted Again
Tagged the Down Under Duo, superstars Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were spotted the day after Thanksgiving at the once-a-month flea market at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds near Urban's Nashville digs. Both Nicole and Keith wore caps, dark glasses, coats and scarves to keep out the cold. Nicole had on a pair of wrinkled cargo pants that looked like they'd been slept in. The two cuddling Aussies were accompanied by Kidman's parents who had flown in on Thanksgiving Day to join their daughter and Urban's parents, making it a family affair. If you wonder why a world renowned award-winning couple would visit the flea market at the Fairgrounds, I figured Keith was showing Nicole where we used to have Fan Fair.
Earl Scruggs Takes a Fall
Word reached me on Nov. 26 that Earl Scruggs had taken a fall from the stage of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina. The 81-year-old member of the Country Music Hall of Fame was wearing a neck brace when the rescue squad took him to the emergency room at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach. The legendary banjo player struck his head, suffered a cut over his eye and received 25 stitches. The audience tried to warn Scruggs of the impending danger, but he was apparently blinded by the glare of the stage lights when he fell five feet. Dismissed from the emergency room, Scruggs joined his band on the bus and came home to Nashville. I have since learned from Gary Scruggs, Earl's son, that his dad needed surgery to repair an injury to his knee. The procedure was successfully completed on Nov. 29.
Toby and the Kids
I am happy to report that Toby Keith's young son, Stelen, continues to improve at home following a serious accident on a four-wheeler. Having completed his work on the movie, Angel From Montgomery, Toby is back at home in Moore, Okla., where he's coaching his son's football team with his Stelen sitting on the sidelines watching.
John Carter Cash on Walk the Line
More than anyone else, John Carter Cash knew his famous parents Johnny and June Carter Cash. John Carter reportedly said Reese Witherspoon nailed his mother's personality in the hit movie, Walk the Line. John Carter felt Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of his dad was loose. Goes to show how much I know. I thought Joaquin's portrayal of John was as strong as Jamie Foxx's work in his Oscar-winning role as Ray Charles last year in Ray.
Lee Ann on the Furniture
Following her three CMA wins, Lee Ann Womack and a bevy of A-teamers like Brooks & Dunn, Keith Urban, George Strait and Tony Brown joined hosts Anastasia Brown and Mrs. Scott Siman for a throwdown that lasted until the wee hours when neighbors finally complained. As for Lee Ann dancing on the furniture, hey, the night was hers! She earned the right.
All my CMT partners know -- I've told them enough -- it was yours truly who predicted when it was released that Womack's There's More Where That Came From would be the CMA's album of the year. It was, and after the awards show, sales kicked up 350 percent. Lee Ann's wonderful CD is certified gold.
Alison's CMA Outfit
When I saw Alison Krauss on the CMA Awards, my first thought was, "Lord, she forgot her slip." Then I realized she had on a short skirt under the floor length thin gown that became see-though when bright lights hit her. Alison was lovely, and as always, outplayed and outsang almost everybody.
I was reminded of the time Reba wore that red gown cut to her navel in a V to the CMAs. Her Oklahoma ranching daddy took one long hard look at his daughter on television and said, "She's got her dress on backward."
National Media's CMA Fashion Critique
The New York Post talked down about accents, boots and 10-gallon hats. The Los Angeles Times whined because most performances cried with steel guitars, sighed with fiddles and bounced with banjos. Shut up!
Post fashion editor Orla Healy wrote that Martina's dress was two sizes too small and compared her appearance to a mermaid. Healy poked fun of the guys' tight jeans and black T-shirts and hats. She also allowed that Rascal Flatts looked like they'd been hauled out of bed following an evening of Jack Daniel's in an array of hick headaches and wore separates that would make the wise guys on The Sopranos wince. Who invited Orla Healy?
New York Daily News fashion editor Amy DiLuna wrote that Shania Twain went goddess glam in a gown by Marc Bouwer, while fashion expert (?) Whitney Pastorek allowed in Entertainment Weekly that Shania looked like a shiny furry pony. DiLuna said LeAnn Rimes' strapless number by Marc Jacobs was the color of grits (that would be white) and added that Gretchen Wilson opted for a simple black pantsuit by Dolce & Gabbana. Per Pastorek in EW, Reese Witherspoon chose a Dolce & Gabbana gown and Joaquin Phoenix wore black because he is Johnny Cash. I say Carrie Underwood was stunning in her red strapless gown by David Rodriguez. Pastorek was correct when she described Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley as unfairly cute -- too freaking cute to mock.
Trace, Me and My Mouth
Trace Adkins was set to sing the national anthem during ABC's Monday Night Football from Indianapolis at the game between the Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers. So I allowed live on WFMS radio in Indianapolis that if I was up there, I'd just have to haul off and kiss Trace right in the mouth. Moments later the phone rang ... and it was Trace. "And I'd let you kiss me in the mouth if you were up here," he drawled. Lordy.
Even More News
I want to put my name in the pot now for next year's CMA Awards. I want dibs on hair extensions, and I do believe I'll make enough money I won't have to work for a year.
The Whites helped light the White House lights. Ricky Skaggs joined the Whites, the Napa Valley Children's Choir, Maya Angelou and CeCe Winans as performers during the lighting of the national Christmas tree in Washington this past Thursday (Dec. 1).
Congratulations to American Music Award winners Tim McGraw (who won favorite male artist in the country category and a favorite country album prize for Live Like You Were Dying, Gretchen Wilson (who picked up the favorite female vocalist in the country division) and Brooks & Dunn (for favorite country band, duo or group). More congratulations go to Sugarland for beating two pop groups I've never heard of for the all-genre breakthrough artist trophy.
Wanna win a snakeskin jacket right off of Reba's back? The one she wore on Good Morning America in October? It's up for bids on eBay to benefit the Salvation Army.
During the Feb. 16 opening ceremonies of the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, the Country Radio Broadcasters' Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award will be presented to John Hines, who for over two decades has been a much loved on-air personality at KEEY-FM in Minneapolis. The award was created to recognize individuals who are generous and who care. John Hines is guilty of both. Love you, John!
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Potato Strips.