(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.)
Can you believe it's 2012? When I paid my bills, I had to erase 2011 on almost every check I wrote.
But with the new year, the time came for Glen Campbell to fulfill the promise that he'd return to the Ryman for what will probably be his final performance in Nashville. The historic old building danced with joy with the music from his wonderful voice and guitar. And, yes, he looked great as he sang hit after hit.
Bluegrasser Del McCoury and his entire music-making family turned out for the historic event. I also hear the great George Jones and his wife Nancy were in the crowd, as were Buddy Jewell, Ricky Skaggs, the Whites, Jean Shepard, Mac McAnally and John Carter Cash and his wife Laura.
Most surprising, Tanya Tucker, Glen's former lover, showed up for the show. When they were together in the early '80s, stories of drugs, booze and wild times covered the tabloids until their relationship ended.
About a half dozen were in Tanya's entourage at the Ryman, and she remained seated in the balcony without any fanfare until Glen began singing "Rhinestone Cowboy." From the reports I received, Tanya ignored her friends as she bolted from her seat and raced down the stairs to get a closer look at the man she was involved with when she was barely in her 20s and he was in his mid-40s.
Although Glen has concerts booked through the end of June, it was probably the last time Tanya -- and his fans in Nashville -- will see him. Having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he'll be retiring later this year.
In the meantime, those attending the Ryman show were lucky enough to see him performing with one of his daughters and two of his sons in the backing band called Instant People. And Glen's wife, Kim, was standing in the shadows watching his every move. I also heard that just before he went onstage, he got a surprise phone call from Merle Haggard to offer his best wishes.
When his last song is sung, Glen will no doubt return to his home in Phoenix with his wife and will probably spend the remainder of his days recalling his colorful life touring with the Beach Boys, playing on recording sessions for Haggard, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others and becoming a superstar who brought country music to a national audience in the late '60s and early '70s with his CBS variety show, The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour. And, just maybe, Glen will recall his childhood in Delight, Ark., and his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift Made Big Bucks During 2011 Tours
It is no secret Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift had two of the hottest tours of 2011, and recently-released numbers show just how big. Taylor's box office receipts totaled $97.3 million and Kenny's were $84.6 million, according to Billboard Boxscore, which tracked data from ticket sales between Nov. 1, 2010, and Nov. 8, 2011.
The year's biggest outing, though, was U2. They raked in $293.3 million at the box office. There's always a showoff in every crowd!
Continuing with Ms. Swift, she's been offered a role in the film adaptation of Les Misérables, according to numerous media outlets. No word on whether or not the talented Taylor will accept the part of Eponine, a street urchin. An offer is out to actress Amanda Seyfried for the role of Cosette. Big names signed on for the flick include Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter, Russell Crowe and Sacha Baron Cohen. Filming begins in March.
Dierks Bentley Ready for Home
One of my really cute holiday cards was of the darling daughters of Dierks and Cassidy Bentley. Such precious children!
Dierks has been chatting a lot about his new album, Home, set for release on Feb. 7. After releasing the bluegrass-inspired Up on the Ridge, he's returning with a mainstream country collection.
Dierks admitted he stepped away and explored some things on the fringe of country.
"This record feels fresh," Dierks said. "It doesn't have a continuation of any other project. But I do feel Home is the center of country music."
Dierks stands out among his contemporaries. He's the only country singer who can claim performances from Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the CMA Festival. A true artist and a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Dierks recently performed the title track of Home at the White House for President Obama.
All of Tim McGraw's fans -- and there are millions of them -- will be pleased to know that his Emotional Traffic album will finally be released by Curb Records on Jan. 24. Produced by Bryan Gallimore and McGraw, it's apparently his last project with Curb, but he's fielding offers from other labels for his future albums.
Chris Young has not stopped smiling since he sang in the new year in Fort Worth, Texas, at Billy Bob's for 6,000 fans. It was Young's biggest crowd ever as a headliner. After some additional shows in Texas, Chris and the wonderful Jerrod Niemann will join Miranda Lambert's tour when it opens on Jan. 12 in Rockford, Ill.
Legendary singer-songwriter Carole King was a guest performer at Nashville's Bluebird Café during a benefit for Alive Hospice. Sitting in with King were Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman and Jim Photoglo.
Wynonna Judd and Cactus Moser, drummer for the award-winning country group Highway 101, got engaged on Christmas Eve. Wynonna and her Cactus are currently touring together as Wynonna & the Big Noise. Everybody I know sends good wishes and much love to the wonderful couple.
American Idol alum Bucky Covington hosted 22 family members and 12 dogs at his North Carolina home during the recent holidays. Bucky says they rode four-wheelers, played dirty Santa and used his tractor to pile up logs to make a bonfire. Now, that's what we do in North Carolina!
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Turnips.