(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.)
At the MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé surprised performers and the audience with her baby bump. The superstar and her superstar hubby, Jay-Z, are expecting in February. She was set for the starring role in a film remake of A Star Is Born with Clint Eastwood producing.
Warner Bros. planned to begin filming in February, but that's when the baby is due. They're also searching for a leading man. I understand Leonardo DiCaprio turned down the co-starring male role.
Rumor has it, there's interest in Tim McGraw for the role and that some initial inquiries have been made to him. I'm sure Tim is aware that Kris Kristofferson starred with Barbra Streisand in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born.
Of course, a lot could change in the film biz, but maybe a country star can fill those boots a second time. Following his performance in The Blind Side, Tim got Hollywood's attention in a big way.
Taylor Swift in L.A.
Our girl Taylor Swift blew 'em away at Staples Center in Los Angeles for four sold-out nights. Jason Bieber joined her onstage (before he wrecked his Ferrari). Ellen DeGeneres showed up, too, for the concert series that featured surprise appearances from Nicki Minaj and Music City's Hot Chelle Rae, the hotter-than-hot band that includes Nash Overstreet, the son of hit songwriter Paul Overstreet and brother of actor Chord Overstreet.
As you may recall, Chord walked away from Glee when the powers that be at the hit series wanted to relegate him to a recurring role. The talented Chord has landed a guest starring role on the ABC sitcom, The Middle, as Ralph Wilkerson, a new fourth-grade teacher.
Remember, too, it was Chord who was hanging out with Taylor a while back. Cute couple.
Taylor's concerts got rave reviews from the L.A. media. She has 40 more shows scheduled between now and Thanksgiving.
Alison Krauss at the Ryman
"Two semis and three buses!" I said. "Am I at the right venue?"
Lord, yes, I was.
"Seventeen consecutive sold-out shows," uttered Dobro god Jerry Douglas to anyone listening. I listened.
The bluegrass majors -- Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas -- set down for two sold-out nights at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Not an empty seat in the house, and I could see that from the stage where Alison seated me. I felt like the Queen of Music City while watching Alison and her cute boys.
Bassist Barry Bales has picked with Alison for 21 years. Ron Block, playing banjo and guitar, has harmonized with her for 20 years. On vocals, guitar and mandolin, Dan Tyminski -- who provided George Clooney's singing voice in O Brother, Where Art Thou -- has been in the band 18 years, and Douglas has been there for 14 years. It's no wonder the band is so freaking great.
Then there's Alison, the leader of the pack who can wail deep from her diaphragm like Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. She's such a star. She always has been a star and a great singer, but when did the little girl from Illinois begin belting out songs like that? Did Robert Plant encourage her to sing out? Or maybe T Bone Burnett? I don't know who or what encouraged it, but the girl can flat curl your hair clear back to the 65th row.
What a concert! What a show! Alison and the rest of the band were welcomed by clapping, whistles and screams as they opened with Robert Lee Castleman's "Paper Airplane," followed by Tyminski singing "Dust Bowl Children." Alison got in the groove with "Let Me Touch You for a While" along with my all-time favorite, "Ghost in This House," and "Baby, Now That I've Found You."
There's no finer acoustic music on this planet than Dobroing by Jerry Douglas. He played solo for several minutes. Ear candy.
After performing other songs from their latest album, Paper Airplane, and favorites from their previous projects, the quartet -- plus Josh Hunt on drums and John Deaderick on piano -- tried to close the show with their version of Little Feat's "Oh, Atlanta," but the audience wasn't ready for the night to end. So they encored with the angelic vocals of Alison, Dan and Ron harmonizing on snippets of Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing at All," Brad Paisley's "Whiskey Lullaby," O, Brother's "Down to the River to Pray" and a couple of others.
We are so blessed to enjoy music such as this on our journey to Gloryland.
Let's Hear It for the Girls
The ninth annual SOURCE awards presentation was held recently in Nashville to honor the women who have played a vital role in the success of Music Row and the Nashville entertainment industry. I was happy to be there for the banquet.
The honorees for 2011 included Roberta Edging (who worked for Eddy Arnold for more than 40 years) and Millie Kirkham (a legendary background singer who also worked for Jack Stapp at both WSM radio and Tree Publishing).
Also honored was Barbara Orbison, wife of the late Roy Orbison, who owns Barbara Orbison Productions and runs Roy Orbison Music. Her just-released perfume is called Pretty Woman in honor of her Roy's most famous song. Unfortunately, Barbara was under the weather and could not attend the awards ceremony.
Another honoree was Evelyn Shriver, founder of the public relations company that bears her name. She's also the first female in Nashville to be president of a major label -- Asylum Records -- and she ran and operated Bandit Records for George and Nancy Jones.
Georgia Twitty Chellman was honored posthumously. Georgia founded Gospel Jubilee, ran Music City Hotline, owned Veeson Travel (the first travel agency on Music Row) and also baked Tennessee T-Cakes! Her husband, Chuck Chellman, accepted her award.
Lastly, Janice Wendell ran Noble Dury and owned Ericson Advertising, both advertising agencies. After her marriage to E.W. "Bud" Wendell, the former president and chief executive officer of the companies that have owned the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland, Janice has been active in whatever agenda her husband takes and has been actively involved in supporting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and other worthy causes.
Kay Smith welcomed the filled house, Robert K. Oermann gave humorous remarks and Jeannie Seely hosted the event. An ailing Brenda Lee, who usually co-hosts with Jeannie, was unable to attend.
It was great to see Frances Preston (who is retired from BMI) and Jo Walker-Meador (who ran the Country Music Association for years). And it was especially great to see Chris Young's mom. No wonder Chris is such a great guy. He has a great mom.
My escort for the evening was the handsomest man on Music Row, Fletcher Foster. You should have seen me getting in and out of his Mercedes convertible. It was not a pretty sight.
Mac Wiseman Prepares Boxed Set
Mac Wiseman laughed, "153 songs, six CDs, 20-page book. Took a year to transfer everything to digital and put it all together." The 86-year-old native of Cremora, Va., in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, is so excited about the boxed set he's working on.
"It's on Wise Records," the bluegrass legend allowed. "My label. I thought I may as well do it this way. It'll sell for $49.98. We've got all the players listed, and we included liner notes with each location where each song was recorded and information on sessions and songs. The Ernest Tubb Record Shop will carry it and some other places." He's talking about launching a website where fans will be able to buy it directly from him.
I do love the guys from Texas in the Eli Young Band. It makes me feel good they've got a gold single with "Crazy Girl" and their new album, Life at Best, debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's country chart.
Neal McCoy sang at Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's wedding. The couple will now be working with guitarist Brent Rowan to produce McCoy's next album.
Martina McBride hopes her 16-year-old daughter Delaney will always hear her "mom" voice when it's time to make adult decisions. That's one superstar who always put her family before her career.
LeAnn Rimes' ex-husband, Dean Sheremet, wed photographer Sara Silver in New York City.
Justin Moore says he really enjoys Rascal Flatts' kid-friendly tour. With 18-month-old daughter Ella and another baby due in November, it's a good thing Justin likes the family atmosphere.
Brantley Gilbert may be a newcomer, but he's learned a few important lessons in a short time -- shake every hand that wants shaking, sign every autograph, pose for every camera and keep smiling.
The Band Perry and Jake Owen will announce this year's nominees for the CMA Awards during a Tuesday (Sept. 6) segment on ABC's Good Morning America. They'll make the announcement in New York City, and Jerrod Niemann and Thompson Square will reveal the finalists in seven other categories during a press conference at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Broccoli Cheese Soup.