(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.)
Taylor Swift recently returned to Nashville from the Asian leg of her world tour, but she stopped off first in Los Angeles and got plenty of attention. After all, the Oscars were happening. And before that, there was the L.A. Kings hockey game she attended at Staples Center with former Nashvillian Chord Overstreet.
The know-it-all reporters in Hollywood finally acknowledged that Chord, a star of the Glee TV series, is the son of hit songwriter Paul Overstreet. Paul had two No. 1 solo singles and another No. 1 as a member of Schuyler, Knobloch & Overstreet, but he's probably best known for the hits he's written, including Randy Travis' "On the Other Hand," "Diggin' Up Bones" and "Forever and Ever, Amen," the Judds' "Love Can Build a Bridge" and Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy."
In addition to the photos of Taylor and Chord at the hockey game, they were also seen having lunch together and attending a party at the Chateau Marmont. Taylor still hasn't visited the set of Glee, where Chord is the new hottie. Some troublesome critics claim the reason Taylor has not moseyed over to the set is because Cory Monteith, another guy who caught her eye before Chord did, is also a star of the highly-rated show. It's worth mentioning that nobody has linked the name Jake Gyllenhaal to Taylor since she returned from her overseas tour.
There are photos of Taylor hanging with actress Gwyneth Paltrow at Vanity Fair's Oscar party in Hollywood. People who attended the party say Chord was at the event, too, but he and Taylor arrived separately and hung out together -- out of sight from the cameras.
Paul Overstreet says his son and Taylor are hanging out. So there. If anybody knows what the kids are up to, it's Paul.
Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees
Jean Shepard is 77 years old -- as old as Willie Nelson. The Paul's Valley, Okla., native scored her first hit in 1953 with "A Dear John Letter," a duet with Ferlin Husky that stayed at No. 1 on the country chart for six weeks and crossed over to peak at No. 5 on the pop chart. Joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1955, she continues to be a mainstay of that stage. The woman can still sing and, as far as I know, she still yodels. Her life has not been easy. With one little boy and very pregnant with their second son in 1963, Jean got the news that her husband, country singer Hawkshaw Hawkins, was killed in the plane crash that also took the lives of Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Randy Hughes. Knowing all this history may be the reason I wept when I learned Jean was one of the new Country Music Hall of Fame inductees. I'd actually prayed that she'd live to see this honor.
Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year is Reba McEntire. Present-day fans are aware of Reba's incredible run as a country music star and her success on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun and as the star of a very successful television sitcom, Reba, that ran for seven years. Reba wasn't present when the announcement was made last week at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She was in Tulsa, Okla., where her dad was hospitalized and in a coma after suffering a stroke.
As for this year's other Hall of Fame inductee, songwriting master Bobby Braddock, just give the man a legal pad and a pen, and he'll write you some rhyming words you'll never forget. As a matter of fact, he and Curly Putman co-wrote my all-time favorite song, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," sung by the incredible George Jones. Braddock is a hillbilly Shakespeare from Florida. From his magic pen flowed "Golden Ring" for Jones and Tammy Wynette, "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" for Wynette, "Time Marches On" for Tracy Lawrence and "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous" for Johnny Duncan. Braddock's songs are singable. Is singable a word? I'm not sure about that, but I know you can sing the lyrics and hum the melodies to his songs.
I recently spoke with the beautiful Allison DeMarcus, CMT Insider correspondent and wife of Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus. I had not talked with her since she became the mother of Madeline Leigh DeMarcus, born Dec. 17. Allison is so thrilled with her daughter, who looks exactly like Jay. The child even has the wild stand-up black hair. Allison admits the hair surprised her. After all, she has been combing her own long, blond locks for many moons.
By the way, Rascal Flatts' new manager is Clarence Spalding, who took care of Brooks & Dunn for all those years and still manages Ronnie Dunn's solo career. He also manages Jason Aldean, Sara Evans and Terri Clark. I've known Clarence 35 years. He's a good man and a good manager.
Some Rich News
I enjoy writing John Rich news when it's good news. And this is good news. At Mount Richmore, his home overlooking the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, John helped start a dance marathon for the university with a performance of the Big & Rich hit, "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." The event raised $157,209 for the Monroe Carrel Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Goodhearted John also wrote them a check for $10,000. And that is some Rich news.
Brad Paisley Comes Home
According to Pollstar, who had the highest-attended country tour in 2010? My dear friend Brad Paisley, that's who. His H2O World Tour wrapped in Music City at Bridgestone Arena on Feb. 26. I cannot tell you how happy it made me to see the sign in front of the arena that read "Brad Paisley -- Sold Out." One of Brad's all-time favorite guitar players, John Jorgenson of Desert Rose Band fame, joined him for some flat-out hot picking, and the ever-beautiful Sheryl Crow made a guest appearance, too. Darius Rucker and Jerrod Niemann did a great job as the openers.
Broken Bow Records president and CEO Benny Brown gave Jason Aldean the keys to a brand new pickup truck last week during their kinda party to celebrate the platinum success of his latest album, My Kinda Party.
Zac Brown Band will host the inaugural Southern Ground Musical and Food Festival taking place April 8-10 at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. Zac writes, picks, sings and cooks!
Atria Books will release Shania Twain's autobiography, From This Moment On, on May 3.
Ashton Shepherd announced during last week's Country Radio Seminar in Nashville that she and hubby Roland Cunningham are expecting a second child. They have a 5-year-old son, James.
Sending sympathy and love from myself and CMT to Terry Eldredge of the Grascals on the passing of his mother, Mary Jane Eldredge.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Cupcakes and Icing.