(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.)
By now, everybody knows that Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton got married on May 14 in Texas. I'm just wondering if Miranda stopped honeymooning long enough to know she scored her second No. 1 on Billboard's country songs chart with "Heart Like Mine."
In case you were wondering, here are some facts from the wedding:
Miranda wore her mother's wedding dress.
Neal McCoy provided two hours of entertainment during the wedding reception.
Venison was served at the reception. Beef was available to those who do not partake of wild meat.
A Baptist preacher married the couple. (That works.)
Reba and Kelly Clarkson sang.
Miranda sang with Reba.
Others among the 550 guests were Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, the Bellamy Brothers, Jessi Colter and the Kelley boys -- Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and brother Josh Kelley.
They married in a barn lit with lanterns.
And the groom wasn't lit!
Garth Brooks Earns MBA Degree
In addition to his series of solo performances in Las Vegas, Garth Brooks has been busier than you can imagine during his semi-retirement. While raising his three daughters in Oklahoma, he has also earned his MBA degree from Oklahoma State University. That's no easy task. I'm wondering if he'll eventually become Dr. Garth.
Congratulations, Garth. Do you wonder how I found out this hot news?
By the way, he's announced a new series of concerts at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. He'll be performing there Aug. 19-20, Sept. 9-10 and 23-24, Oct. 7-8 and 21-22 and Nov. 4-5.
Surprise No. 1: Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney got the surprise of his life during a recent concert in Lexington, Ky., but before I tell you about that, let me share some background info with you.
Kenny calls his hero, George Jones, fairly often, but when Nancy, George's wife, answers the phone, Kenny doesn't ask for George. He asks for daddy. Yep, Kenny calls him daddy.
Getting back to the story, everybody backstage in Lexington knew about the surprise except Kenny. Just before the acoustic part of the concert, George walked onstage. The crowd went wild. Wild! When the band broke into "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair," Kenny turned and found himself face to face with the Country Music Hall of Fame member.
There were hugs, tears and laughing. Being the pro that he is, Kenny asked his friend to stay and perform "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
"When George walked onstage, it was one of the biggest thrills of my life!" he said later. "He means so much to so many, and it meant the world to me that he came to my show."
Kenny's current album, Hemingway's Whiskey, features a Bobby Braddock song, "Small Ya'll." He has loved the song for years and kept a copy of Jones' recording of it in his car.
"The song puts me in a good mood instantly," said Kenny.
When Kenny recorded the song, it was only natural for him to dial up the Possum to ask if he'd sing it again with him. And, of course, he did.
Surprise No. 2: Scotty McCreery
Josh Turner traveled to Garner, N.C., to surprise American Idol finalist Scotty McCreery at his homecoming celebration before 30,000 screaming fans. Scotty performed a few songs before he sang his self-proclaimed theme song, Josh's "Your Man."
Just as Scotty started singing the song, Josh walked onstage, completely shocking the 17-year-old singer. The two performed "Your Man" followed by what McCreery calls his favorite song, "Long Black Train." Turner says he thinks Scotty almost had a heart attack when he saw him onstage.
Surprise No. 3: Oprah Winfrey
The third surprise was for Oprah Winfrey! Rascal Flatts were in Chicago while she was taping the final episodes of her talk show. At the invitation of her staff, the superstar trio surprised Oprah with a performance of their latest smash, "I Won't Let Go." The sentiments in the lyrics express their feelings for Oprah. Their appearance on Oprah's farewell episodes airs Monday (May 23). Stevie Wonder and Patti LaBelle were on the show with the Flatts guys.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather Oprah not quit her gig. She's done way too much good in these 25 years to hang up her daily mic. She must be tired.
Curb Records Lawsuit Against Tim McGraw
I guess some people consider the litigation a fourth surprise, but the disagreements between Curb Records and Tim McGraw have been going on for years. Still, I have to say I do not understand the lawsuit the label filed against him for breach of contract. How can that be? Twenty years is a long time to be with a company that turns around and sues a talented star like Tim.
The more I think about it, I really don't want this explained to me. I really don't need to know. All I need to know is Tim McGraw is a wonderful singer and a wonderful performer. For the life of me, I cannot find rhyme or reason to sue the man. Tim's fans will stand behind him. You know, it's a shame when lawyers piddle in our music.
Alabama Enlisting Friends for Tornado Relief Concert
Alabama's Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook have announced plans for Bama Rising, a June 14 concert in Birmingham, Ala., featuring Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, Sheryl Crow, Rodney Atkins, Dierks Bentley, Bo Bice, Luke Bryan, Taylor Hicks, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, David Nail, Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker and Ashton Shepherd. Also appearing is Jay Barker, the Birmingham radio personality and former University of Alabama football star who is married to Sara Evans.
The Bama Rising Fund has been established through the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham to support long-term recovery throughout the state following last month's tornadoes.
More Artist News
"Just a Kiss" debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts The lead track from Lady Antebellum's forthcoming CD went into the record books as the highest debut by a country act in the all-genre chart's history. I see where Lady A's Hillary Scott is also being honored by SESAC this week for co-authoring Sara Evans' No. 1 song, "A Little Bit Stronger."
Brad Paisley has joined the Cars 2 soundtrack. Brad wrote and recorded "Nobody's Fool" and partnered with British pop star Robbie Williams on "Collision of Worlds," a rock 'n' roll-inspired track they co-wrote and recorded as a duet. The soundtrack will be released June 14 on Disney Records, while the animated film will arrive in theaters on June 24.
I wondered where Kid Rock was the night Hank Williams Jr. led the stars at Music Builds: The CMT Disaster Relief Concert. As it turns out, he was at his son Junior's high school graduation. By the way, Kid Rock will return as the CMT Music Awards host on June 8.
The Country Music Association was presented Leadership Music's Dale Franklin Award last week at a dinner hosted by Martina McBride. Joining Martina on the list of performers were Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Milsap, Little Big Town, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley.
Congratulations to Nashville's Laura Heatherly on being named chief executive officer of the nonprofit T.J. Martell Foundation. She previously served as executive director of the organization's Southern region.
Big Machine Records and the Valory Music Co., along with Republic Records, finally announced that the hard-hitting, never-stopping-to-sleep John Zarling has been promoted to vice president of promotion and media strategy for the entire Big Machine operation. John was with the company even as they first moved the first box into their offices. He's still doing his job and taking care of Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Justin Moore, Martina McBride, Steel Magnolia, Edens Edge -- and Borchetta.
I am very proud to tell you that Nashville Mayor Karl Dean presented CMT with the Mayor's Award for Outstanding School Partner for the network's work with their Academies of Nashville school partner, McGavock High School. CMT President Brian Philips accepted the honor on the network's behalf.
A Final Non-Country Note
Is the whole world going plumb crazy? It's no wonder Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled California so poorly. Any man who has a wife by his side and a mistress in his kitchen could use a little tar and feathers. I am embarrassed for Maria Shriver and her entire family. Her mama, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was almost a saint. Most of the Kennedys never stop giving and helping. It appears to me that Arnold never stopped taking, and while he took, he tried to put California in the poor house.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Pinto Bean Casserole.