(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.)
By now, everybody on the planet knows Garth Brooks will release The Ultimate Hits, a package featuring 34 songs (including four new tracks) on two CDs and 33 music videos on a DVD. Garth will market it on his Pearl Records label for release on Nov. 6, and Big Machine Records will promote his new single, "More Than a Memory," which will start getting airplay Monday (Aug. 27).
What you may not know is that when a very thin Garth came onstage at a Nashville press conference wearing a white hat, burgundy shirt, jeans and cowboy boots, he stepped off the stage to give me a hug and a kiss.
"You look great," he said, probably glad I'm still alive! Garth talked about business, but he also talked about his three daughters and his wife, Trisha Yearwood. He still refers to her as Miss Yearwood, although he admits there are those who call him Mr. Yearwood.
In discussing his domestic life in Oklahoma, he explained a few of his parenting rules. First of all, the daughters get a cell phone without a camera at age 12, a cell phone with camera at 14. At 16, they qualify for a driver's license and, if they choose, double piercings. ("Whatever that means," he quipped). When they're 18, he considers them adults. He's obviously extremely proud that all three girls are on the honor roll. The youngest is 11. When she's 18, will Garth start touring again? At 45, he's already concerned with competing with the younger guys on the charts. He pointed out Keith Urban's guitar prowess, good looks and stage performance.
The press conference took place Aug. 18 at a hotel in downtown Nashville. Around sundown that day, the 150 radio programmers invited to Music Town by Garth and Big Machine were bused north of town to Garth's property in nearby Goodlettsville, Tenn., where he lived with his family before moving back to Oklahoma. The radio folks not only had a magnificent meal -- steak, roast, chicken, veggies, rice, cheesecake and other scrumptious desserts -- served at food stations throughout the area, they also saw some items from country music history. The bus he traveled in from 1996 until 1998 is parked in a huge barn where all his many awards are on display. Also stored there are the stages he used throughout his years of performing, including the huge stage from his Central Park concert in New York.
If I know Garth, he remembered each and every one of the radio programmers and will know them all by their first name when he talks to them again to promote his new single.
I've never seen anyone as good at remembering names and faces as Garth.
Will Garth have a hit single? My guess is yes.
Where can you buy the CD? Anywhere that sells records.
How expensive? Between $11 and $14.
Will he sell his music on iTunes? No, he wants to keep the product together as a package.
Tune into CMT's Southern Fried Flicks in October to see two dear friends chatting -- Garth Brooks and your truly. We talk about showbiz, but we also talk about teens wearing bras and lip gloss. Don't miss it.
Dierks Bentley Opens Throttle for Tour
Dierks Bentley is geared up for his Throttle Wide Open tour with special guest Jack Ingram, who promises to ignite audiences in the opening slot. The tour rolls into 28 cities beginning Oct. 4 in Rome, Ga. Dierks has been at full tilt for the last four years. Headlining at arenas, Dierks will focus on bonding with fans at the larger venues.
"Our show is all about connecting with fans every night, not through video screens or a crazy light show but through music and interaction," explains Dierks. "I like to leave the door open for spontaneous moments. Sometimes I leave the stage to sing or maybe pull a girl onstage to dance. ... We always connect."
Visiting With Trent Tomlinson
It was all fun having Trent Tomlinson -- do-rag and all -- visiting my kitchen for CMT's Southern Fried Flicks. Trent has been hot on the hillbilly trail the whole summer, playing 24 concerts in July.
"You're competing with Dierks Bentley as the hardest working man in country music," I suggested.
"I just want to play for as many fans as I can," allowed Trent, who dug my down-home cooking, especially the corn and macaroni dish from my cookbook. It happens to be the recipe of Sara Evans' grandma back in Missouri. Both Trent and Sara are from Missouri, and he is from the same hometown as Sheryl Crow and Doug Howard, who is the senior vice president of A&R at Trent's record label, Lyric Street.
News and More News
Would you believe Trisha Yearwood walked 60 miles in a weekend? She participated in the Breast Cancer Three-Day Walk in Chicago. The event was sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Trisha had been training with some of her girlfriends for a few months, but still it was a challenge. They'd camp out at night after walking 20 miles during the day -- sometimes in 100-degree weather.
"Never Wanted Nothing More" now has an incredible five-week run at the top of the charts. If Kenny Chesney was any hotter, his britches would be on fire.
I see where Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and her actor hubby, Adrian Pasdar, attended the 18th birthday soiree for Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere in Malibu, Calif. Pasdar is also a cast member of Heroes.
Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn are set to headline the first-ever Go Fest concert on Oct. 13 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, Calif., near Los Angeles.
In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, Brad Paisley talks about the influence Garth Brooks had on his young adulthood by making country cool. "All of a sudden, I was the kid at the party who knew how to play 'Friends in Low Places,'" said Brad. "It was deliverance."
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Hammy Hawaiian Bread.