(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.)
Just a few years ago, who'd have ever thought Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman would be regularly attending a country music star's No. 1 party? Well, she does. She's always present and smiling at her husband Keith Urban when he has something to celebrate.
"Without You" is Keith's 12th single to top the chart. The first time I saw the video and heard the song, I thought he had written the lyrics. Actually, though, the song was written by Dave Pahanish and Joe West. It's hard to believe those two guys came up with a song about how a music career, fast cars and guitars mean nothing without a family, but it fits Keith perfectly. Keith's love of Nicole and their daughters Sunday and Faith was the reason the song meant so much to him.
And, yes, she was there when the No. 1 party was held at Cabana, a restaurant and bar in Nashville.
Toby Keith Brings His Guitar and a Worm to the Bluebird Cafe
Toby Keith and songwriting buds Scotty Emerick and Bobby Pinson filled Nashville's Bluebird Cafe to running over last week. In addition to the music during his first-ever performance at the club, Toby brought along one of his newest projects, Wild Shot Mezcal, and passed it around to the crowd -- worm and all.
Toby dedicated "American Soldier" to a Marine sergeant he met in Iraq who showed up at the show. Thousands of dollars were raised to benefit the little Bluebird Cafe, where Garth Brooks was discovered. It's a world-renowned performance venue for songwriters.
CMA Music Festival Special Airing Next Month
CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock airs Aug. 7 on ABC. Performers include American Idol's Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, along with Jason Aldean, Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and the Zac Brown Band.
By the way, last month's CMA Music Festival generated $30 million in visitor spending for the Nashville area.
Justin Moore's Outlaws Like Me album debuted at the top of Billboard's country albums chart. Of course, his hit single "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" surely helped propel sales of the album. Besides, unlike a lot of singers, Justin was raised in the country and will work to make a living.
Luke Bryan's hit single "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)" is certified gold with sales totaling 615,800. It will be featured on his upcoming album, Tailgates & Tanlines.
The recent Bama Rising benefit concert in Birmingham, Ala., raised $2.1 million for tornado relief efforts. Alabama, the band, organized the concert. Good-hearted Brad Paisley donated productions costs, and Dave Matthews underwrote other expenses. The state of Alabama has always survived and will continue to do so.
Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Jack Ingram are among those on the double-disc compilation, This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, to be released Nov. 1 to coincide with Guy's 70th birthday.
Wish Me Away, the film that detailed Chely Wright coming out as a lesbian, won the documentary award at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival.
Josh Turner is doing his part to help rebuild the schools destroyed by an F-4 tornado in Ringgold, Ga., by performing a July 14 fundraising concert.
Jack Clement's Loss
Words fail to come when I try to say I'm so sorry, Cowboy. Love, thoughts and prayers pass through my mind, but they are nothing when I think of the man's lifetime loss. Cowboy Jack Clement's home and recording studio on Belmont Boulevard in Nashville was destroyed in a recent fire. For four decades, the walls were lined with award-winning albums and shelves filled with irreplaceable master tapes by superstars that have passed on -- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and others. What made me so sad was seeing Cowboy on TV wearing his Elvis pajamas with a look of defeat on his face. Gone up in smoke were priceless instruments, his clothes, his bed, business papers and photos.
Here is a man who has given and given time and again, yet he's never been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He truly deserves it. May the heavenly father wrap his arms around this 80-year-old hero and lead, guide and direct his life for his sake and ours.
Dickey Lee's Gain
Dickey Lee has been writing and singing hit songs for about half a century. Now one of his 50-year-old tunes is paying off big time. It started last year when Dickey began receiving mailbox money (royalty checks) for "Memphis Beat," a song recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis. Then he got a call from BMI asking him to fly to Los Angeles and receive an award for the song.
As luck would have it, unbeknown to Dickey, Keb' Mo' recorded the song, and it was being used as the theme song on a TNT series titled, appropriately, Memphis Beat. It goes to show that the Good Lord looks after His own. That means you, Dickey Lee! Show biz is a wonder.
Florence Henderson's Little Friends
Back when network television production was relatively new in Music City, the Hee Haw crew worked out of a trailer on the side of Grand Ole Opry House where there was an entrance toward what years later became the Opry Mills mall. The wonderful Opryland theme park was by the Cumberland River. Opposite the Hee Haw entrance, Alan Reid and his crew worked out of trailers. Billy Paul Jones (who years later married Cheryl White of the Whites) and Lang Scott (husband of Linda Davis and father of Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott) were employed by Reid on his various TV productions.
This was TNN: The Nashville Network in its infancy -- before CMT was launched. One of the TNN shows was Country Kitchen, a cooking series hosted by The Brady Bunch star by Florence Henderson.
If you're wondering where I'm going with this, those memories came back to me last week when I awoke at 5 a.m. and turned my television to Imus in the Morning. Don Imus was in the studio at his New Mexico ranch while the remaining crew was in New York.
Both sides of the country were laughing their heads off, I'm sure, as Imus and his sidekicks talked about Henderson's new book, Life Is Not a Stage. To be more specific, they were talking about an incident she included in the book -- a one-night stand with former New York City Mayor John Lindsay.
According to her story, Henderson gave in to Lindsay's advances at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Both were married at the time, but Henderson admitted, "I was lonely. I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. So what did I do? I did it!"
She went home late that night. The next morning, she woke up with tiny little bugs all over her bed and her body. She called her doctor and was diagnosed with pubic lice -- crabs! The next day, the actress received a bouquet of flowers and an apology from his honor, the bug carrier!
I don't know why Henderson felt the need to include this in her book. But if she's got the nerve to share the story with all who buy her book, I don't mind sharing it with you.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Pork Chops in Sour Cream.