(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 hear that Taylor Swift has moved from her parents lakeside abode in Hendersonville, Tenn., to her own place near downtown Nashville. The hottest singer in any music genre is now at home in the penthouse of a trendy condo. It's gated and safe, so they tell me.
Taylor showed up at Miranda Lambert's recent concert at the Ryman Auditorium. She had reserved seats for herself and her party in the front row of the balcony -- the best seats in the house. Music is in that girl's bones. Taylor stood and danced during most of Miranda's 15-song concert that showcased music from her new album, Revolution. And good-hearted Taylor stopped at SESAC last week to help honor Liz Rose, her co-writer of the No. 1 hit, "You Belong With Me."
Miranda has made a lot of memories lately, too. She kissed Merle Haggard on the cheek at the ACM Honors concert and kissed the floor of the Ryman stage. Lord knows, I understand both kisses. Two of the most important country music legends -- the Hag and the Ryman. I am totally impressed that 25-year-old Miranda appreciates the history of those two.
Zac Brown Band Hosting Eat-and-Greets
Artists often host meet-and-greets, but now's your chance to enjoy an eat-and-greet with the Zac Brown Band. Zac is quite a connoisseur of great food, and he and the band have scheduled these events at several concerts. Several lucky pass holders will not only be allowed to hang with Zac and the band, they'll be treated to a plate of Southern cooking prepared by Zac and Chef Rusty. A total of 24 eat-and-greet passes will be available for the shows at $35 each. If you find yourself hanging out with Zac, tell him Hazel says, "Hey!"
Dierks Bentley Offers Free Music Download
Always ready to help, Dierks Bentley is offering a free download of the inspirational song, "Beautiful World," to raise awareness about his Miles & Music for Kids fundraisers to benefit local hospitals in the Children's Miracle Network. The Nashville event is set for Oct. 11 and includes a concert at Riverfront Park featuring Dierks and labelmates Eric Church and Darius Rucker, along with Wynonna, Heidi Newfield and Michelle Branch. Dierks has scheduled these motorcycle rides and concerts in five other cities in 2009 and 2010.
Trace Adkins Has Another Powerful Music Video
Have you watched Trace Adkins' latest video, "All I Ask for Anymore"? After you view the video and listen to the lyrics, you will surely understand why I mentioned this powerful song. By the way, the video features Trace's wife, Rhonda, his five daughters, his granddaughter and his son-in-law. It is a pretty spiritual piece. I love it.
The Great, the Incredible and the Fabulous
The great Willie Nelson will return to the Ryman Auditorium on Nov. 5 to wrap his fall tour in support of his newest album, American Classic. This is Willie's first collection of musical standards since 1978's Stardust. That one stayed on the country chart for 10 years.
The incredible Emmylou Harris and plumb perfect Vince Gill, along with the fabulous Dwight Yoakam and equally fabulous Melissa Etheridge and Chris Isaak, gave some love to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum last week when they performed at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. It was part of the series of All for the Hall fundraising shows.
Jason Michael Carroll Helps National Runaway Switchboard
I am proud to announce that my friend Jason Michael Carroll has formed a partnership with the National Runaway Switchboard to raise awareness of the runaway crisis and the help youth and families can receive by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY. The announcement comes after the recent release of his single, "Hurry Home," a story song about a daughter and a father and the struggles each faces during a challenging time. Jason is committed to the NRS and its mission of keeping America's runaways and at-risk youth safe and off the streets.
Trick Pony's Ira Dean Tees Up With Theme Song
Trick Pony member Ira Dean has written and recorded the theme for the 2010 edition of the popular golf video game, Golden Tee. The song, "It's Golden Tee," was a labor of love for Ira, who says he used to seek out the machines in bars when he was on the road with Trick Pony. "We'd hunker down for hours," he said. "I'm a serious competitive golfer. This is close to the real thing as it gets." The single will be available soon on iTunes.
Sluggo Explains Songwriting Technique
Did you see the recent Nancy comic strip where Sluggo had his guitar and was singing? His song ended with the lines, "Then one night in front of the world, it became real for all to see/Montgomery Gentry ... the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry!"
Then Nancy asked, "How is it that you can write such cool poems set to music -- yet you get all D's and F's in English."
Sluggo replied, "Maybe I can only write with a guitar, not a pencil."
I've often wondered why grandkids made A's in Spanish and had to go to summer school to pass English. "You speak English!" I reminded them.
Kitty Wells' Daughter Dies
A couple of Sundays ago, the Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells, celebrated her 90th birthday with a party at the Ernest Tubb Theater near the Grand Ole Opry House. Her 95-year-old husband, Johnnie Wright of Johnnie & Jack fame, attended the event, as did their son, Bobby, and their daughters, Sue and Ruby. It saddens me to report that Ruby was found dead last week in her apartment in Madison, Tenn. The 69-year-old Ruby had been battling heart problems. She appeared with her parents on the Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright Family Band tours and had a hit single in 1965 with "Dern Ya," an answer to Roger Miller's "Dang Me."
Colonel Tom Parker Exhibit at Hall of Fame
The whole country and perhaps the world knew about Colonel Tom Parker, the colorful manager of Elvis Presley. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has unveiled a special spotlight exhibit dedicated to the man who really wasn't a colonel after all. The exhibit traces Parker's life from his days as an immigrant carnival worker to his time as a powerful pioneering artist manager. He managed Elvis from 1955 until the King's death in 1977. A mysterious character, Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk in Breda, Holland, and entered the United States illegally in 1929. Before managing Elvis, he was involved in the careers of Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow.
Some Final Notes
Neal McCoy's 15th annual golf tournament to raise money for the East Texas Angel Network was a sellout. Neal and his wife created the nonprofit organization to assist the families of sick children. Kevin Sharp was Neal's guest at this year's event in Longview, Texas.
Tracy Lawrence is heading south to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to perform for our troops.
CMT on Tour is featuring Alabama native Jamey Johnson and Mississippi native Randy Houser. Those boys won't need a Rebel flag to tell people they're from the South. All they need to do is sing -- and folks will know.
CMT Radio host Cody Alan exercised early one morning last week. Wearing gym duds, sweaty and warm, he bounced into the elevator and ran into -- oh, don't tell me -- Carrie Underwood!
MCA's David Nail was the featured artist at the recent country music night hosted by the Chicago White Sox. He performed an acoustic set and the national anthem before the game.
The wonderful Eli Young Band is selling out shows all over the place. I hear 3,700 fans filled a club in Austin, Texas, and it's that way every where they stop.
Mobil Delvac has entered into a sponsorship with the Grascals. Keep those big trucks and buses oiled and running.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Grated Sweet Potato Pudding.