(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.)
"I'm having a ball," Brad Paisley exclaimed right off the bat via phone.
I knew without asking what brought on his excitement. He'd just finished the video for his current chart-climbing single, "Waiting for a Woman," with his hero guest-starring in it.
"One of my greatest achievements was meeting Andy Griffith," Brad allowed. "Kim and me took Huck. We flew over to the island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where Andy and his wife live -- the prettiest spot on earth, pretty as Hawaii," he noted. "We went down a week early so I could meet Andy and visit with him. Course Andy wasn't really sure what a video was about until I described its function. Andy and his wife both loved the song."
I could tell Brad was smiling when he said, "Andy drove us around his property. It's just beautiful down there. Afterwards we sat around the house and told stories. Andy still has the Martin guitar that he played on The Andy Griffith Show. Matter of fact Andy said he played that same guitar in the movie, A Face in the Crowd. I can't believe I sat in his house on his sofa and played that same guitar while Andy sang, 'You get a line and I'll get a pole, honey, You get a line and I'll get a pole, babe, You get a line and I'll get a pole and we'll go down to the crawdad hole, Honey, baby mine.'"
Brad continued, "I thanked Andy for The Andy Griffith Show and told him I watch the show every night. And I told him, you're helping me to raise my son. I raise my son by watching the show and deal with my son the same way you dealt with Opie. Your show was one of the greatest ways to raise a child. When my son does the things Opie did and needs reprimanding, I saw how you handled it and that's how I will handle the situation if and when it arises. The Opie spoiled child episode is one of the best I've ever seen. Course Andy was such a great actor, so was Opie (Ron Howard) and Barney (Don Knotts) -- all of 'em."
I'll say this for Brad. He will raise Huck the right way. If all these parents who spend their money on high price shrinks for their kids just applied a little Andy Griffith wisdom, this world would be a better place for happier children. Do I hear an AMEN??
"Never seen anybody with a stronger work ethic than Andy," said Brad. "He was so committed to make that video be what he wanted. He'd take over lines of the song that were mine and I loved that. Here's a man 82 years old. He's just amazing. I am so impressed by him and cannot wait to see him again this month."
Andy, a native of the Pilot Mountain/Mount Airy area of North Carolina, had a house in L.A. but kept this place on the coast. Andy moved from Hollywood back home to North Carolina after his friend, Don Knotts, aka Barney Fife, passed away.
Being a native North Carolinian, who loves the Outer Banks, loves the Carolina Coast and always proud of the native son, Andy Griffith, I do not have the words to explain the happiness I feel that good guy Brad Paisley became acquainted with such an icon, such a legend, such a great man who is a hero to my family, myself and to Brad himself.
I asked, "How are Kim and Huck?"
"Great!" replied Brad. "Kim has written a wonderful children's book. Huck is running everywhere and running his mouth saying everything!"
Then Brad talked about my green beans being the best he'd ever had. "Wonder if you'd like to come down to the house and cook some?" he asked. Stay tuned.
When the Paisley Party tour comes to your town with Chuck Wicks, Jewel and Julianne Hough, don't miss it.
Sending Love and Prayers
Sending love and prayers to Nan Kelly, the perky backstage Opry host. Nan is in the middle of chemo and radiation for Hodgkin's disease.
Appearing on Late Show With David Letterman, Mary- Kate Olsen told about she and her twin Ashley flying into Nashville and taking a bus to Bonnaroo for the festival. They stayed in the bus -- sorta camped out, she said. Little skinny girls do not have a clue. That's how hillbillies live.
There's no longer a CMA Horizon Award category. Henceforth, it shall be called new artist of the year.
It appears to me that Kenny Chesney may be allowing history to repeat itself with Luke Bryan. Every review of the Poets & Pirates tour that I read, the media raves about opening act Luke Bryan's singing, songs and good looks. Not too many years back when Kenny was the opening act for King George Strait, the media sat up and took notice of the kid from Luttrell, Tenn., and Kenny Chesney became country superstar Kenny Chesney. Is history doing a repeat here?? Could very well be.
Kid Rock has fiddled and diddled around and dreamed us up a country music summertime hit with "All Summer Long." I like it.
Always a Good Guy
Ask Nashville Star judge Jeffrey Steele and you'll see he agrees with me when I say Billy Ray Cyrus is always a good guy. Billy Ray has raised his daughter, Miley Cyrus, the right way also -- the country way. You see, Jeffrey recently hosted a memorial skating festival honoring his late son, 13-year-old Alex LeVasseur, who was killed in an ATV accident last year. Billy Ray and Miley showed up and performed on the show as surprise guests. If that doesn't touch your heart, you ain't country and never will be.
CMT'S Next Big Matchup
CMT Crossroads next big matchup features Taylor Swift and Def Leppard, taping in October with a Nov. 8 premiere.
Tom Honors Tom
God and everybody knows Tom T. Hall's and the Statler Brothers' medallion ceremony was held Sunday the 29th of June at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where the famed and near famed rubbed shoulders, shook hands and smiled. A wonderful, historic event where superstar Reba McEntire gave credit to the Statlers for giving her career the proverbial kick in the pants that shoved her from clubs to big time. Others whose careers were jump-started by opening shows for the group include Garth Brooks, the Judds and Ricky Skaggs.
May I tell you about the June 30th party hosted by Tom Collins at his estate honoring Tom T. Hall? My son Billy and I drove out where Highway 70 and 100 split. We took 70 past mansion after mansion to the one with balloons. Driving into the long driveway, I saw Collins on the front porch welcoming invited guests. Pretty soon Tom T. and his beloved Miss Dixie arrived looking spry and happy. First item of business when Tom T. shook hands he said, "Billy, I'm so glad I've got on these comfortable clothes and not that suit I had to wear last night." I had to laugh. Tom T. had threatened when the induction ceremony was over, he'd either burn the suit or give it to Marty Stuart who collects stars' discarded clothing.
Great party with CMA's Tammy Genovese; ASCAP's Connie Bradley and hubby Jerry Bradley; Steve Popovich with Steve Jr. and his lovely wife; Jimmy C and Mae Newman; from New York-Sirius radio's Jeremy Tepper and his wife singer Laura Cantrell; Dr. and Mrs. Terry Comer, the wonderful DDS who keeps bluegrassers smiling; and Ralph and Joy Emery. Each and every bluegrass musician not on the road was picking and singing poolside. Tom T. and Miss Dixie loved it and so did I, seated in a comfy chair. I'd personally like to say, I feel like the Hall of Fame is lucky and blessed to add Tom T. Hall to its hallowed roster. Nobody ever gave us thinking songs quite like the man from Olive Hill, Ky.
Two of my very favorite females, Kellie Pickler and Ashton Shepherd, will be opening shows for Sugarland beginning Sept. 13 in Asheville, N.C.
Keith's CD Name Change
Keith Urban's current CD title has been upped a notch from Greatest Hits: 18 Kids to Greatest Hits: 19 Kids. Why? Keith's hot-as-a-pistol current single, "You Look Good in My Shirt," is his fastest rising single ever, so he added the song to the CD, making 19 hits. The single was included on Keith's Golden Road album.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Salmon Loaf.