(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.)
Identical twins Kate and Kacey look so much alike, they could be called two peas in a pod. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, the Coppola sisters moved with their family to Colorado when they were 3 years old. Growing up in Denver, they had a wonderful childhood. They sang a lot and really learned to use their voices while performing professionally all over the world in a children's choir. During the winter, they spent their spare time skiing in the mountains, and their summers were spent by a lake in Minnesota where the family has a cabin. Kate and Kacey even sang at their high school graduation and got a music scholarship to the University of Southern California. When they moved to California, they took along their dad's Martin guitar. Playing the Martin, Kate and Kacey began writing songs and meeting producers and other songwriters.
But you won't believe how they got to Nashville. They met Jamey Johnson in L.A. and became good friends and co-writers. Jamey told the girls all about Nashville and how things work -- the way connections can lead to co-writing opportunities and publishing and record deals. So they moved to Tennessee.
In addition to introducing them to music publishers and other songwriters, Jamey started co-writing songs with them and would pay them to sing demos of the songs the three of them had written together. Thanks to him, Kate and Kacey got a deal with EMI Music Publishing. The sisters say Jamey pretty much kept them from starving.
One of the songs they wrote was "House With No Doors." Two years later, song plugger Ben Vaughn played the song for Erv Woolsey, George Strait's manager. Erv later played it for George, who put a hold on the song, but it was a year before he went into Jimmy Buffett's Studio in Key West, Fla., to record. As the sessions progressed, other songwriters started receiving calls from Florida to confirm that George had recorded their songs. After three or four days, though, the twins had still not heard a word. As it turned out, it was the last song George cut for his Troubadour album. When the call finally came through, the sisters were ready to break out the champagne.
Kate and Kacey's career got a major boost after meeting Big Machine Records boss man Scott Borchetta at his office and singing 14 songs they'd written. Apparently he was impressed. Impressed enough to offer them a record deal. The girls wrote their debut single, "Dreaming Love," with Danny Myrick, whose songwriting credits include Craig Morgan's "International Harvester" and Jason Aldean's "She's Country."
Kenny Chesney is also providing a huge career boost to Kate and Kacey by inviting them to appear at his stadium concerts this summer. They'll be on the side stage, hosting the tailgate party, singing and signing autographs.
"You're Not My Judge" is a song the girls wrote last year after they were kicked off the CMT talent competition, Can You Duet. (They came in fourth). As a judge on the show, Naomi Judd was not a fan of their singing and wasn't reluctant to say so. Not one to hold a grudge, they think of Naomi as being a challenge for them. From that experience, they learned that you cannot allow someone to say you can't follow your dream. They also learned everybody is not going to like you. The sisters are full of depth and character, and the Can You Duet experience only made them stronger.
They've lived together for 26 years, but that's about to change. Kate is getting married in September, so she'll be taking the couch -- and Kacey gets the TV. Kacey's engaged, too.
Clint Black No Longer Apprenticing
When Trace Adkins appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice, he became the most loved contestant on the NBC series. Admitting that collecting money was not his strong suit, Trace was still a team player and gained the respect of everyone on the show because of his A-plus attitude. He looked good and made country music look good. I'd go as far as to say that his appearance on that show gave Trace and his career a genuine kick in the butt. Trace has been invited back for this year's finale of the show.
Clint Black did not fare as well this year as Trace did in 2008. Clint had the worst "I know it all" attitude that I've ever seen on that show. (Well, maybe Omarosa was worse.) He'd argue, he'd bicker, he'd squabble and he'd ignore the suggestions of other players on his team. Writing a jingle for Chicken of the Sea tuna, one would think Clint could put that in perspective -- but noooo! Clint had to lean toward a ballad rather than listen to the urging of his partners, Joan Rivers and Jesse James, and put some life in that tune. So the jingle never got an upbeat treatment, and Donald Trump fired Clint Black.
Trump plans a 2010 run of The Celebrity Apprentice. If Music Town manages to contribute another contestant, let's hope it's a player who will listen to someone besides themselves.
Did Kenny Feel Like Noah?
Standing on that stage in Dallas with the rain pouring down so hard he had trouble seeing the drenched fans in the front row, Kenny Chesney must have felt like Noah. He'd so looked forward to the Big D concert and seeing his Texas fans. During his May 2 concert at the Pizza Hut stadium, his stage was in danger of becoming an ark. With heavy rains, wind and lightning, Kenny kept playing as long as he could. What amazes me is that the fans stayed. But once Kenny looked at the stage filled with people -- and all the microphones, electric musical instruments and cables -- he knew it wasn't safe. So he called it off. The little guy with the big heart will be back at the stadium on Sunday (May 17) to sing for the fans.
Thieves Rip Off a Working Musician
Whoever broke into Shad Cobb's house and stole his fiddle, guitar, mandolin and old-time banjo is lowdown, sorry and no good. Shad, one of the finest people and finest musicians on the planet, had all the tools of his trade stolen recently. All he has left is his dog. Shad plays fiddle for John Cowan.
All the smart people stay tuned to CMT. However, if someone changed the channel, be sure to check Sunday (May 17) for CMT's Southern Fried Flicks with yours truly. My guest is up-and-comer Justin Moore, a singer-songwriter from Arkansas who is signed to the Valory Music Co. The movie is Shanghai Noon starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. The show airs at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET/PT. Keep that TV tuned to CMT or you might miss something of importance. Like me!
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Beanfeast.