(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.)
The first bit of news I heard is that Taylor Swift bought her parents a 5,000-square-foot home in Nashville. Now, isn't that the kindest thing a daughter could do for her parents?
The second tidbit is that Taylor reportedly bought a house for herself in Los Angeles so she won't have to stay in a hotel when she's out there. She has an apartment in a trendy and safe part of Nashville. Why does she need a house on the West Coast? Will she be in L.A. that much? Are the bright lights of Hollywood enticing Taylor? Or is it the young, handsome actors who would love having the talented and beautiful Taylor on their arm?
Taylor is first and foremost a singer-songwriter and entertainer. Think of the history of those before Taylor -- those who left Nashville writing killer songs, but the movies and all that goes with it seemed to gobble up their songwriting. Yes, they could still sing -- sing the same songs they penned on Music Row, that is.
While he's written some other excellent songs in recent years, master poet Kris Kristofferson has not written another "Sunday Morning Coming Down" since he departed Music Row to star with Barbra Streisand in the movie, A Star Is Born. I am proud of his acting, but we need more clever poetry like those lines in "Me and Bobby McGee." Kris and his family now reside in Maui, Hawaii.
The great Roger Miller's sure-hit songwriting pen sorta dried up once he left his beloved Music City. Of course, Big River, the Broadway musical he was hired to write, was a saving grace for the Okie, but his creative spark seemed to dim in the later years of his life.
The incredible Dolly Parton has a place in Los Angeles, but she does not reside there. Dolly lives in the Music Town where she wrote "I Will Always Love You," her biggest hit. She's acted in several movies, but she always comes back home to live.
Willie Nelson is surely one of our all-time great singer-songwriters and entertainers. Willie mainly lives on his bus, but he has a house near Austin, Texas, and another in Maui. He's acted in several movies, but he's never been a full-time resident of Hollywood.
All of us in Nashville are proud of your incredible career achievements, Taylor, but I suggest you keep residing in Nashville. You can always visit Hollywood.
Hank Williams Film Screened in Nashville
Loosely based on the final days of the late Hank Williams, the new movie, The Last Ride, made its debut last week at the Nashville Film Festival. Actor Henry Thomas, just a child when he starred in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, portrays Williams (referred to in the movie as "Mr. Wells) while his driver is played by a young actor named Jesse James.
Director Harry Thomason said they tried to do what they thought would be an accurate representation and he believes that's what they did. They have a deal with Fox. The well-known Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax Films, viewed the movie and said, "I think you got two of the finest performances out of actors I have ever seen in a film."
Hank Williams Jr. and his family deserve the best of the best. Not only did his daddy give us real country music that we still enjoy, he also gave us Hank Jr.
Rolling Stone Says Nashville Has Best Music Scene
Rolling Stone magazine reports that Nashville has the best music scene of any city. Not New York or L.A. or Chicago or Miami or Austin. It's us!
When it comes to honky-tonks, local rocker Ke$ha named Robert's Western World, where she knows you can enjoy live music and even buy a pair of boots. Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney prefers the Station Inn, an old-style bluegrass venue. For hot new bands there's the 5 Spot, 12th & Porter or the Exit/In. Nothing holds a candle to the Ryman Auditorium, though, the venue the magazine correctly refers to as "God's own listening room."
Carney says the best place for daytime drinking is the 12 South Taproom, while the Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill hones shuffleboard at Loser's but claims Nashville's ultimate dive is the Springwater. For cheap eats, Carney suggests fried avocado tacos at Mas Tacos. Ke$ha says Arnold's is the place to go for a meat-and-three meal. The Kings of Leon's Nathan Followill swears by bison burger at Burger Up. And Jack White and his wife Karen Elson are brunch regulars at Marche. Taylor Swift loves the Blue Chair granola yogurt parfait at Fido.
Rockers with royalties buy fancy jeans at Imogene + Willie. Others go for the vintage look at the Hip Zipper. But it is Manuel who gave Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash their signature look. These days, he dresses folks such as Kid Rock and Bob Dylan.
Thanks, Rolling Stone. We read you, too.
Nominees for the 2011 CMT Music Awards will be announced live on NBC's Today show on Wednesday (April 27). Appearing with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, CMT's Evan Farmer will present the nominees during the 10 a.m. ET hour. The Band Perry will also participate in the nomination announcements and perform their current hit single, "You Lie."
It's slipping up on us fans. What we used to call Fan Fair -- now called the CMA Music Festival -- is right around the corner. The 40-year-old event will kick off with Gary Allan at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage on June 9 at 10 a.m. The daily lineup features exciting newbies like Brett Eldredge and Josh Kelley and well-knowns like Billy Ray Cyrus, Terri Clark and Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis. The nightly concerts at LP Field are the top of the line, too, with Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, the Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, and many others. The biggest show on earth is what it is.
Toby Keith is returning to the Middle East for his ninth USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour. Since 2002, Toby has entertained 159,000 troops and their families. During the upcoming 12-day, three-nation tour, Toby will perform a series of concerts, pose for photos and lift the spirits of the men and women in uniform. Toby has also announced plans to return to Europe this year during his Locked and Loaded World Tour.
Opening concerts for Kenny Chesney this spring, Billy Currington had a night off, so he performed a headlining show at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas, where he sold 5,500 tickets. The curly-headed hill-Billy broke the club's record for presales and for total tickets sold.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Hamburger Stroganoff.