(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.)
Twenty million people tuned into the Grammy Awards on Feb. 11 and saw just how very little respect country music gets from the Recording Academy. It is an utter shame and disgrace that Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood, two of the top music sellers in the U.S., were not allowed to sing their own songs on what is supposedly the most important TV musical extravaganza in this nation.
People who live in Los Angeles and New York City don't have the privilege and pleasure of tuning into a local country station and hearing Rascal Flatts or Underwood because those two major cities do not have a country radio station. It's a total travesty for country music and its performers.
Sony BMG and other reps of Carrie Underwood -- along with the Disney Corporation, owners of Rascal Flatts' label, Lyric Street -- should consider knocking on the doors of the Recording Academy and demanding a public apology for the way country artists were treated on the Grammy Awards show.
The only country performances of the night came with Underwood singing Bob Wills' "San Antonio Rose" and then joining Rascal Flatts for a medley of hits made famous by the Eagles. Let me ask, why on earth were nearly all of the non-country Grammy nominees allowed to perform their own songs? The executives who made this decision must hate country music.
Before I get completely carried away, let me say that I am very happy the Dixie Chicks won Grammys in every category that they received a nomination. God in heaven knows they've had enough grief, and it's time for closure. They looked great and sounded great. Personally, I would love to hear their records again on the radio, but I ain't holding my breath for that to happen. As long as it's a political issue -- which it never should have been -- those of us who want to hear the Dixie Chicks on the radio will be denied.
Back to the beginning, though, what happened to Underwood and Rascal Flatts must not happen again to country music artists who sing as good as any other act on any stage. Underwood and Rascal Flatts' lead singer Gary LeVox have incredible voices that I'd stack against any other singer on that freaking show. So I suggest we find out the culprits responsible for this year's foolish, non-caring, careless decision. Get rid of their butts. Give 'em a broom, and let 'em sweep floors without music.
Had this same situation occurred to artists in other genres of music, I'd be ticked off. But it happened to my people -- and that makes me livid.
Late Friday (Feb. 16), the sad news reached me of two impending divorces.
Terri Clark and Greg Kaczor filed for divorce in a Nashville court after getting married less than two years ago. For 10 years, Kacor worked for Clark as a guitar player and road manager.
Also, Hank Williams Jr. has filed for divorce from Mary Jane, his fourth wife. Married for 16 years, they have two children.
More Celebs at My House
Would you believe actors Randy Wayne and April Scott -- hot from the upcoming prequel, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning -- were in my kitchen, chowing down on Hazel-made chicken salad, broccoli and pea casserole, potato casserole, crunchy sweet potatoes, cucumbers and onions, and chocolate cake?
Handsome Wayne, a native of Moore, Okla., with leading-man features, is perfect in the role of Luke Duke. Missouri-born April can easily fill the cutoffs of Daisy Duke without breaking a thread. Wait until you see the DVD featuring Willie Nelson in the recurring role of Uncle Jesse. It's set for a March 13 release.
Cowboy Troy, the tallest person to ever grace my kitchen, also came for the party because he raps a version of John Anderson's mega hit, "Swingin'," in the movie. And he told me he is expecting -- well, his wife is, anyway.
Where was the actor who portrays Bo Duke in the new movie? Like a blue-zillion others, hottie Jonathan Bennett was snowbound in Denver. He even missed his co-stars' first visit to downtown Nashville and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, where I understand April danced on the bar. Oh, my!
Look for Cowboy Troy and the actors on an upcoming episode of CMT's Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith.
From Coast to Coast
Larry the Cable Guy sold out two nights at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. It's amusing to me to know 6,000 classy New Yorkers like to hear jokes about Larry's grandma passing gas.
The Hollywood Hills home of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill was recently burglarized, but no one was home at the time. According to reports, money was missing. Somebody please tell Tim and Faith to put their money where it belongs -- in a bank.
Kyle Lehning, who produced those wonderful traditional country records on Randy Travis, has been producing a new project by Little Richard.
Jason Michael Carroll's debut single, "Allysa Lies," was not only a smash at country radio for the rookie singer-singer songwriter, the song obviously had a huge impact on CD sales. Waitin' in the Country topped the chart right out of the box. With almost 58,000 copies sold during the first week of release, he is the bestselling new male country artist since Billy Ray Cyrus arrived with Some Gave All in 1992.
Bucky Covington and his wife Crystal have separated. They've been married seven years and have no children.
Says Carrie Underwood, "Alan Jackson was, is and always will be the king of country music to me." Her favorite song is Alan's "Like Red on a Rose."
A couple of months back, Sammy Kershaw told me he was broke, and I reported the sad news through this column. Sammy has now filed for bankruptcy. Nobody works harder or sings better.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Broccoli and Pea Casserole.