(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.)
All Tim McGraw and Faith Hill had to do was announce plans for the Nashville Rising flood relief benefit for top-of-the-line singers to volunteer their help. More than 20 of them turned out for Tuesday's (June 22) concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, but the biggest star of all was surprise guest Sandra Bullock.
The actress is without a doubt the biggest star in all of Hollywood right now. She won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy in the movie, The Blind Side. McGraw played her husband in the film.
Bullock walked out on the stage with a guitar in her hands and sat down on a stool. She jokingly asked the audience to be quiet as she plunked out "Smoke on the Water."
"When Tim asked me about participating in this evening, I couldn't say no," she told the crowd. The beautiful Hollywood actress then introduced Faith Hill, the most beautiful female to ever hail from Star, Miss.
The concert pretty much provided something for everyone with a lineup that included Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus, Montgomery Gentry, Amy Grant, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Julie Roberts, Blake Shelton, Michael W. Smith, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and ZZ Top.
Brooks & Dunn had to miss the show because Ronnie Dunn's doctor put him on voice rest after lingering problems with a sore throat. Some of the duo's concert dates have been moved around to finish their Last Rodeo tour.
Faith and Tim gave their all, so we need to thank them for looking after those who need help until they can look after themselves again.
Kellie Pickler Is Engaged
Can you believe little Miss Red High-Heeled Shoes -- Kellie Pickler -- has gone and got herself engaged? When all of Music City thought the white sands on the beaches of Florida were covered with tar balls and nothing more, our little North Carolina beauty was vacationing there on June 15 when she wound up getting engaged to her boyfriend, songwriter Kyle Jacobs.
Kyle proposed on Kellie's late grandmother's birthday. "The best day of my life," Kellie told People magazine. "My whole world changed. We both feel like we got my grandmother's blessing." Her grandmother raised her after Kellie's mother left her and her dad.
Songwriter Kyle wrote "More Than a Memory" for Garth Brooks and "Still" for Tim McGraw. And he's had cuts by Trace Adkins, Jo Dee Messina, Clay Walker and others.
Taylor Swift Still Going Strong
For those of you who contend that Taylor Swift's career is in a lull because she didn't take home any trophies at the ACM Awards or the CMT Music Awards, all I can say is, "Please!" Do not say these untrue words to me now or ever. Taylor recently raked in $3.7 million for a stadium concert near Boston, $2.4 million for two shows in Toronto, $1.8 million for two shows in Washington, D.C., and another $1.2 million for two concerts in Houston. That doesn't sound like a lull to me.
Ronnie Milsap Hit Is Newest Tennessee State Song
"Smoky Mountain Rain" has won the competition to become Tennessee's newest state song. The song was made famous by Ronnie Milsap and written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan. Tennessee now has eight state songs, more than any other state. "Tennessee Waltz" and "Rocky Top" are the most famous.
Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest?
What's this I hear about Ryan Seacrest and Julianne Hough getting serious? The word I get is that they're merely enjoying each other's company. They have made no official announcement, but the two of them have been seen all over the place. Julianne's ex, Chuck Wicks, is far more handsome than Ryan.
U.S. Cracking Down on Pirated Music and Films
In an effort to reduce intellectual property theft, Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. will target foreign websites that pirate American music and movies. "This is theft, clear and simple," said Biden. "It's 'smash and grab,' no different than a guy walking down Fifth Avenue and smashing the window at Tiffany's and reaching in and grabbing what's in the window." Those of us whose jobs rely on music welcome the initiative.
Since earlier this year, the great Randy Owen, lead singer for the group Alabama, has been treated for prostate cancer. And, praise God, the doctors diagnosed it early, and Randy is doing great.
Rascal Flatts have been chosen to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame sometime in 2011. Kellie Pickler and Chris Young are set to open shows for the trio's Nothing Like This tour that began Friday (June 25).
Kenny Chesney's first studio album in three years will be released on Sept. 28. The title track, "Hemingway's Whiskey," was written by Guy Clark, Ray Stephenson and Joe Leathers.
While the ever-so-wonderful Keith Urban was opening for the Eagles and the Dixie Chicks in Chicago, he told the crowd, "Let's sing 'Happy Birthday' to my wife. Her name is Nicole." Isn't that as sweet as life gets?
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Stewed Tomatoes.