(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 hosts CMT's Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at CMT.com.)
"What do you want for your birthday?" Garth Brooks asked into the phone. Without a moment's hesitation, his beautiful Georgia-born wife, Trisha Yearwood, replied, "I just want to come home and sleep in my bed."
Trisha, on the road performing, was apparently homesick, so she flew home and awoke in her own bed on her birthday on Sept. 19. Garth made breakfast -- even fried potatoes, so I understand -- and served her breakfast in bed. Sweet!
Garth and his daughters insisted Trisha stay in bed and get more rest while they went off shopping for a birthday present. Not only did they purchase a gift for her, they also bought a present for Trisha's mom, who was visiting and celebrating her birthday, as well.
Speaking of Trisha, I was watching her totally cool video, "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love." You'd never know the video was filmed near Nashville on one of those hot 100-degree-plus days that plagued us this summer. Trisha got to cool off between takes in an air-conditioned trailer.
And speaking of Garth, mark Nov. 14 on your calendar and circle it in red. This is the date he'll play at the new Sprint Center in Kansas City. The show was originally planned as a thank you concert for Wal-Mart, but upon the realization that the new venue would be up and running, the decision was made to sell tickets to fans, too. My guess is that tickets at $27.50 a pop will sell out in five minutes and a second show -- and maybe even a third -- will be added on the spot. With concert tickets routinely selling for $100 or more these days, leave it to Garth to keep the prices down so just about everyone can afford to go.
Tell Hollywood, "Keith Urban Is OK"
Fortunately, Keith Urban was not injured in a motorcycle accident near Sydney, Australia, on Oct. 1 when he was on his way to an AA meeting and realized he was being followed by a photographer. As he started driving faster, he had to drop the motorcycle to avoid a collision with an oncoming car that was making an illegal U-turn. Keith's pursuer actually helped him from the road without taking photos. Keith went home, got into his car and continued to the meeting as planned.
No thanks should be extended to members of the Hollywood press corps who made negative remarks about Keith. They would love it if he messed up -- but he didn't and hasn't, and he's OK.
Sara Evans Finds Inspiration
Not only is Sara Evans one of the prettiest women in country music, she is one of the most inspired, which comes from reading her Bible and praying daily. Inspiration for her songwriting comes from her strong faith. Says Sara, "The two most important things for me to remember every single day when I get up are to love God and to love others."
We are talking about a lady who is out of the darkness and has seen the light that Hank Williams wrote and sang about. Meanwhile, her Greatest Hits album will be released on Tuesday (Oct. 9).
Will Rascal Flatts Turn Country's Sales Tide?
Rascal Flatts sold 547,000 copies of their new CD, Still Feels Good, during its first week of release -- more than any other act in any music genre during that seven-day period. They're No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart and the Billboard 200 pop chart. This is the third consecutive No. 1 album debut for the trio. It also marks the highest one-week sales of any country album this year.
With numbers like these and Christmas coming, maybe country music sales, like in years past, will rise again. I hope so. And if it does, I hope all you naysayers shut up!
Some Personal Congratulations
There were other deserving winners when the CMA recently announced its latest round of broadcast award winners, but I have to give big, personal congratulations to my friends at WFMS radio in Indianapolis. Jim Denny, Kevin Freeman and Deborah Honeycutt are sharing the CMA's broadcast personality of the year award in the large market category. They've has been nominated since 2002, and this is their first win. This is my 13th year to give country music news on WFMS, and I've been on the air with Jim and Kevin for the entire time. This is Deborah's seventh year. These guys get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. every day to play those good country hits for the fans.
On an even more personal note, the Grascals winning the entertainer of the year honor at Thursday's (Oct. 4) International Bluegrass Music Association Awards is the best news I've had since last year when they won it for the first time. As you know, my son, Terry Smith, is a member of the band. I'm truly, humbly thankful for the recognition they've received.
In the new film, The Kingdom, Tim McGraw plays a husband whose wife is killed in a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. Intense! It's dark -- like the character Tim played in Friday Night Lights. The movie stars Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner.
When Andy Griggs was told he'd been included on Nashville Lifestyles magazine's 2007 list of Nashville's 25 most beautiful people, he said, "I'm so surprised to be honored with this. I don't know how I was chosen because half the time my wife has to stop me on my way out the door to fix my hair or to tell me that my clothes don't match."
Toby Keith and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler have been added to the performance lineup for CMT Giants: Hank Williams Jr., a special premiering Nov. 17 on CMT. Others tapped to honor the superstar include Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Guy. The special will be taped before a live audience on Oct. 25 at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles.
Dierks Bentley and his motorcycle-riding buddies raised more than $100,000 for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville during his second annual Miles and Music for the Kids ride and concert. God bless Dierks and all the rest.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Cranberry Salad.