(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.)
Does everybody remember over a year ago when I got all wound up because bluegrass goddess Alison Krauss was not getting radio airplay? Well, she crossed over to pick and sing with a rock god -- Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant -- which was a blessing for both of them. They showed up at the Grammy Awards with five nominations to their names and waltzed out of there with five statues each. The latest wins add up to 26 Grammys for Ms. Krauss. Honey, the woman's got more Grammys than any other female. She's a phenom.
Let me tell you what, when the last award was in Alison's hands, I burst out crying for all I was worth. There she stood -- the same sweet girl I know, thanking the musicians who played on the record, on the road and on the awards. And she did not forget T Bone Burnett, who produced the music. She was the same Alison in Hollywood that she was when she was in my kitchen in Nashville when we shot CMT's Southern Fried Flicks.
I'm proud Brad Paisley got two Grammys, one for picking and the other for songwriting and singing, but I'm sorry he wasn't there. I'm also proud of Carrie Underwood, who sang great, looked great and won the best female country vocal performance award for her hit, "Last Name."
And I'm so, so proud of Keith Urban, whose musical chops are so outstanding that he can open the Grammys with a guitar and a smile and proudly play with Al Green, Justin Timberlake and Boyz II Men and then tune up later in the show to play and sing with the legendary B.B. King and Buddy Guy and the young John Mayer. Keith is as great as anybody on the planet earth when it comes to playing guitar.
Chuck and Julianne Will Be Dancing Soon
Am I crazy, or did Julianne Hough say no more dancing when Dancing With the Stars hung up its taps at the end of last season? Seems like I heard a week or so ago that it was Julianne's honey, Chuck Wicks, who was gonna dance on this year's DWTS. Then, out of nowhere, an announcement was made that Chuck and Julianne will be featured on the show when the new season begins in March. Also set to dance are Jewel and her husband, cowboy man Ty Murray. So there you be.
No Huge Surprises Among ACM Nominations
Reba McEntire will again host this year's Academy of Country Music Awards show where LeAnn Rimes will be honored as The Home Depot's Humanitarian of the Year. In terms of the ACM nominations, though, there weren't many real surprises when they were announced last week.
Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood are nominated for entertainer of the year. The top male vocalist nominees are Kenny, Brad, George, Keith Urban and Toby Keith. Up for top female vocalist are Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Heidi Newfield, Taylor Swift and Lee Ann Womack. Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, the Randy Rogers Band and the Lost Trailers are in the top vocal group category while the top vocal duo nominees are Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Joey & Rory, Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland. The biggest surprise is that former Trick Pony member Heidi Newfield got five nominations -- the most of anybody except Brad.
May the best men and women win!
Keith Urban Offering $20 Concert Tickets
Keith Urban's Escape Together World Tour was already expected to be one of the summer's biggest tours even before he announced that he'll be offering some tickets for the low price of $20. "It's easy to see people out there are hurting," allowed Keith. "And if we can lower ticket prices so fans can enjoy a night of music, that's what we intend to do." The tour gets underway in May.
Doesn't this ticket price just make you love Keith even more?
Don't Mess With the Big Dog
Toby Keith was performing in Kentucky when an audience member did a no-no. Now, I've heard two tales. First, I heard an intoxicated dude shot the bird at Toby while he was onstage. And then I heard an intoxicated dude tossed a beer at the stage while Toby was singing. Either one is a big no-no.
"You want a piece of me?" Toby said to the face of this not-very-smart dude. Now listen friends, Toby is huge, muscular, big and tough, but he don't start trouble, and he sings for a living for his fans. He doesn't want some drunk messing up his concert. And if somebody acts like the kooky guy did in Kentucky, Toby will put a stop to it. The guy's lucky Toby didn't punch out his lights big time.
Dierks Bentley's Double Landing
Dierks Bentley has simultaneously landed a No. 1 album with Feel That Fire and a No. 1 single with the title track. Dierks is getting all sorts of fancy compliments in the newspaper and magazine reviews about his new album, but I'll simply say that Dierks has recorded a hit album -- his bet yet.
Ray Price at the Hall of Fame
The legendary Ray Price will pay a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on March 7 to share memories of his close friend and mentor, Hank Williams. Ray was a fledgling artist in 1951 when Hank took him under his wing and asked him to accompany him on tour. Shortly thereafter, they co-wrote a song, "Weary Blues (From Waiting)." After Ray recorded the song, it did well enough for him to be asked to join the Grand Ole Opry in January 1952. That same year, when Ray moved from Texas to Nashville, he and Hank roomed together.
Craig Morgan Rides for Hometown Charities
The Craig Morgan Charity Ride will be held March 31 in Dickson, Tenn., to benefit several local charities. The event, which will also feature Bucky Covington, includes an acoustic concert, silent auction and a motocross and four-wheeler ride. It launches the Craig Morgan Fund to support youth-based charities at the local and national level.
William Shatner to Visit Nashville Film Festival
The world premiere of William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet is scheduled during the Nashville Film Festival taking place April 16-23. The film chronicles the quest to create a new ballet based upon Shatner's album, Has Been. The event will be attended by Shatner -- the Star Trek icon and Boston Legal star -- and composer-musician Ben Folds. The festival is set for Regal Green Hills Cinema and will include several world premieres, among them Flying By, a film by director Jim Amatulli that stars Billy Ray Cyrus, Heather Locklear, Olesya Rulin and Patricia Neal.
Danielle Peck in My Kitchen
It was big fun having Danielle Peck in my kitchen recently for CMT's Southern Fried Flicks. Danielle is not into cooking, but she enjoys eating and singing. So we ate, and she talked about singing.
She has a new digital album, Can't Behave, her first new music in three years. It's taken some time for Danielle. She'll tell you right off the bat that she had some hard lessons to learn in Nashville. Like many others before her, she thought she knew it all when she first got to town. Now she realizes she knows just a little. Especially important is that she learned to listen. "I really feel like this is a new beginning," she noted. "I've grown as a songwriter and as a performer." Smart girl to realize the latter.
"Can't Behave," the first single from Danielle's new album, was a pop hit for Courtney Jaye sometime back. One day, she and Kristin Hall, formerly of Sugarland, were co-writing, and Kristin played her the song. Danielle loved it from the get go, so she took the song to Big Machine Records' main man, Scott Borchetta, and played it for him. The song ended up the title of the album.
Stay tuned for the air date of Danielle's appearance on Southern Fried Flicks.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: New England Clam Chowder.