(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.)
Tim McGraw -- A Hitmaker and a Gentleman
My son Billy, his wife Marilyn, with their 7-month-old daughter Mattie in a stroller, were going into the Mall at Green Hills to do some shopping. A gentleman with three beautiful young girls held the door open for Billy and his family to maneuver the stroller inside. They recognized the gentleman was Tim McGraw with his three beautiful daughters Maggie, Gracie and Audrey who were going out the same door. Tim held the door while Billy and Marilyn maneuvered Miss Mattie inside.
Readers, please know Tim had no idea who Billy was. Tim just happens to be a real good, decent human being with manners.
Have you heard about Operation Homecoming Branson? It's a week-long WELCOME HOME event skedded for June 11-18 to honor America's forgotten heroes, Vietnam Veterans and their families. Two Missouri vets came up with the idea in 2004. This past June 2005, 28,000 people attended. They look for as many as 50,000 this year to attend the "homecoming" they never had with a parade, fireworks and entertainment.
Where Music and NASCAR Mix
You will want to be a part of the premiere of Sprint Sound and Speed -- presented by SunTrust. Proceeds from this two-day event Jan. 13 and 14 will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This is the first big event with NASCAR and country music
joining forces. Events will take place at the Wildhorse Saloon, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Gaylord Entertainment Center and Hilton Park.
NASCAR biggies confirmed so far include Richard and Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Darrell and Michael Waltrip, Ryan Newman, Ernie Irvan, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, plus 2005 Grand American champs Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli.
Country music's finest include Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, George Jones, Keith Anderson, Diamond Rio, LeAnn Rimes, Julie Roberts, Ricky Skaggs, Jo Dee Messina, Darryl Worley, Lee Greenwood, Andy Griggs, Shannon Brown, Erika Jo, Michael McDonald, Taylor Swift, Trent Tomlinson, John Stone, Cowboy Crush and Chely Wright.
A long list of favorite NASCAR drivers and country stars will be signing autographs, and there will a racing and music memorabilia auction, live performances, line dancing, a Q&A session and a closing concert on Saturday night.
Rolling Stone Digs "Alcohol"
Rolling Stone's year-end issue named their Top 10 list of country singles. Brad Paisley's "Alcohol" is their No. 1 choice. Congrats to Rolling Stone and to Brad who wrote, sang, played and gave the director the idea for the video. Happy New Year, Brad and Kim.
RCA Label Group Will Sign Next Nashville Star Winner
American Idol winner Carrie Underwood has been so successful since her competition is no doubt the reason her record label, the RCA Label Group, has made the decision to sign the next Nashville Star winner. The new season for Nashville Star debuts March 14.
Terri and Greg Visit Reba and Narvel
When Terri Clark and her guitar playing hubby Greg Kaczor visited Reba McEntire and her former steel guitar playing hubby Narvel Blackstock in L.A., the Blackstocks invited the Kaczors to stay the night. They did. Impressed by the awesome surroundings, Greg walked out on the patio to enjoy the immaculate, incredible landscaping. Terri followed him out and the door slammed behind her. Mistake.
Naturally the door would not open, nor would any of the other doors, many doors, they attempted to open. Some lady came by to hang wreaths on the gate and called security to say someone was inside the Blackstocks' property fence trying to gain entrance. About that time Narvel drove in. He tried but failed to find Terri and Greg. Jeez, all I can think is that must be some house!
Finally Greg recalled he had his cell phone, and he had Narvel's number. Terri was afraid they were going to get thrown in jail, but she laughed all the time. And they lived happily for the rest of the visit.
Brad Paisley the Prankster
Most artists finish a long tour by shaking hands, smiling, shedding tears, or if they hated each other, they make obscene gestures. None of this applies to Brad Paisley who said his goodbyes to Sugarland by swinging a fake vulture (BUZZARD!) in front of the band Sugarland while Jennifer Nettles was singing. While they sang "Baby Girl," a hairy-legged band member pranced across the stage dressed in a baby girl outfit (not pretty), and two band members slow-danced together.
While Sara Evans sang "Born to Fly," the crew flew a winged band member emulating an angel over the crowd. Those guys sound more devilish than angelic to me!!
Here & There
Boy, the Rolling Stones are the luckiest rock and rollers on the planet to have Brooks & Dunn, CMA duo of the year for 13 history-making years, open their show in Omaha, Neb., on Jan. 29. Yeah, yeah, I know the Stones are the all-time greatest rock and roll band to ever cross a stage, however pal, Ronnie Dunn's killer vocals please my hillbilly ears more than Mick Jagger's ever have.
By the way, didja see Brooks & Dunn on Dr. Phil? When they performed their current hit, "Believe," there was not a dry eye in the studio. I sat at home in my ragged old recliner and bawled like a baby. When it comes to a ballad, you cannot beat the golden tonsils of Ronnie Dunn.
Lonestar performed at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month, and a segment was taped that aired on ABC-TV Christmas Day with Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa hosting the telecast.
During the last CMT Outlaw show with Toby Keith et al, I got pretty ticked off at Kid Rock when the legendary Jerry Lee Lewis was performing. Granted, Jerry Lee is a major problem, but he's also a major star who deserves respect that the Kid did not give him. Kid would dart between the Killer and the camera in one way or another during Jerry Lee's entire performance.
The other day I was talking with Jerry Lee's former drummer for a dozen years about Kid ambushing the Killer's act. One story led to another, and the drummer told about the time Jerry Lee took his daughter, Phoebe, over to England to sing backup. "The girl could not sing," allowed the gentleman. Drummer said he was walking down the hallway toward his room past Jerry Lee, his manager and Phoebe. For some reason, Phoebe lightly open-handedly slapped daddy, Jerry Lee. The Killer reddened, balled up his fist and punched out Phoebe's lights, closing and blacking her eye. Show biz has ever so slightly tamed since the heyday of Jerry Lee.
It grieves me to tell you Sammy Kershaw and Lorrie Morgan have closed their eatery, hotchickens.com. They served some mighty fine chicken and promise to reopen near Music Row. Music Row is much further from my house than the old location. Loved that hot chicken.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Sausage and gravy.