(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.)
It was a very wonderful emotional winter wonderland with dried tree branches overhead, covered in artificial snow when Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott and drummer Chris Tyrrell were wed in a God-centered ceremony in upstate New York on Jan. 7. Family and close friends traveling by buses, planes, cars and trucks gathered for the wedding. When the couple kissed, snow spilled on their heads.
Dressed in a custom Vera Wang strapless mermaid dress with abstract all-over lace underlay, layered tulle skirt with horsehair banding, hand-cut corded lace appliqué, crystal and pearl beading, Hillary was a vision of loveliness. She complemented the gown with a mantilla veil with hand-cut Chantilly lace appliqué. The groom wore a gray Ermenegildo Zegna suit. Chris introduced his bride on Lady A's website as Mrs. Hillary Scott Tyrrell.
"We got married," bubbled Hillary as she flashed her wedding ring in the online video. "We wanted you to hear it from us first. We love you. We are excited to be starting our life together."
Steven Curtis Chapman and Kylee Scott, the bride's sister, provided music, and like the ceremony, that too was also God-centered.
The couple married on Jan. 7, and on Jan. 9 there was an article in The Tennessean newspaper about a Franklin, Tenn., couple with ties to Haiti. Mike and Missy Wilson, through their ministry, myLIFEspeaks, plan to build a home -- and eventually an orphanage -- in that earthquake-ravaged land.
I read in the article where the idea appealed to Hillary, a family friend of the Wilsons. She has traveled to Haiti with the couple and, according to the article, supports the myLIFEspeaks organization both spiritually and emotionally. It just made all the sense in the world to me that Mike Wilson married the couple.
Hillary also allowed she wanted to go to the beach. Mexico is perfect this time of year -- Pacific or Atlantic side. And as Hillary and Chris continue their spiritual journey, may they continue to find happiness with each new horizon. With God the center of their marriage vows and their universe, I just don't see how they can go wrong.
God Gave Songwriter Idea for Blake Shelton's Hit
Did you know Blake Shelton was listening to contemporary Christian radio when he first heard "God Gave Me You"?
Dave Barnes, who wrote Blake's No. 1 single, had been writing and pitching songs on Music Row for about eight year in hopes of finding success. One day when he was particularly discouraged, he finally decided, "I need to pray."
His prayer was answered. Choking up at his recent No. 1 party, Barnes allowed, "I know it's not my fingerprints on it. It's someone else's."
Elvis' Birthday Celebrated in Memphis
On Jan. 8, fans of the late Elvis Presley celebrated what would have been his 77th birthday with a cake-cutting ceremony and the wonderful Jose Feliciano singing "Happy Birthday" accompanying himself on guitar. Not only did Jose sing the song in English, he sang it in Spanish, too, with the 500 plus fans. He also sang "Love Me Tender."
The event was held at Graceland, Presley's Memphis home. Local dignitaries issued a proclamation honoring the icon. The three-day birthday celebration included the opening of the new Graceland exhibit, Elvis on Tour.
Entertainment Weekly recently reviewed Elvis' Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives: 1954-1956. Recorded onstage at the show which aired live on Shreveport radio station KWKH, the collection features all the early hits, as EW describes it, "raw, unfettered, bumpy as a swivel hip on a bayou night."
Ladies' Home Journal Showcases Tennessee
The current issue of Ladies' Home Journal has two pages devoted to the great state of Tennessee. On Tennessee music, the first paragraph is a journey through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The second paragraph sings the praises of the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a newer venue where music of all genres is enjoyed by audiences of all ages. The third paragraph brings us to the Ryman Auditorium, where the acoustics and architecture are unmatched -- and the wooden pews are still as hard as they were when Bill Monroe held the audience in his hands with the high lonesome sound of his bluegrass.
Can you believe the writer not only referred to Monroe but also to Grand Ole Opry star Roy Rogers? Wrong Roy! The Roy they meant to mention was not the Western singer and movie star, who was never an Opry member, but the late Roy Acuff -- the King of Country Music who was there every Friday and Saturday night singing "The Great Speckled Bird" and "Wabash Cannon Ball" while he'd balance a fiddle bow on his nose.
But I'm glad the magazine mentioned the Ryman, the Mother Church of Country Music, where legends like Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Dierks Bentley still perform during the Opry's winter season.
Carrie Underwood is set to perform for an exclusive presentation of designer Oscar de la Renta's pre-fall 2012 collection at the Nordstrom Symphony Fashion Show. The event will be held at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville on Feb. 28.
Reba McEntire will appear on an episode of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are this season.
Miranda Lambert will make her acting debut on NBCs Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She plays an actress who has been sexually assaulted. By the way, her album latest album, Four the Record, has been certified gold.
Rascal Flatts are going so far back in the country, they hear "Banjo," their latest single. I'll bet expert banjo players such as Earl Scruggs, Sonny Osborne, Rob McCoury and Kristen Scott Benson will love that.
David nailed it! After 49 weeks climbing almost a space at a time, "Let It Rain" finally reached No. 1. That's three weeks shy of a year!
Randy Houser signed a new deal with Stoney Creek Records and is working on his third album. Look for new music later in 2012. Randy married Jessica Lee Yantz in September.
I stayed up late to to see Larry the Cable Guy and the Eli Young Band on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Larry was so funny, he had me losing my breath laughing, and my Eli Young Band knocked it over the fence when they sang "Crazy Girl."
With one semester shy of graduation, Scotty McCreery is spending time on tour with Brad Paisley, but he's planning to hand his work in on time. With his eye is on his high school diploma, he plans to enter college this fall. Scotty's mom is a high school teacher. Don't you know she wants her son to graduate from high school and then head to college.
Dear Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: I see where most of the entertainment this year will once again be country music performers -- my people. I don't know who makes the decisions at the big rodeo, but I love you.
Billy Dean was touring with Kenny Rogers when he got word his barn on Dean Acres near Smithville, Tenn., had burned to the ground. Billy lost his fishing boat and tractor as well as song demos, master recordings, vintage posters, photos and other paraphernalia. You fishermen and playtime farmers, if you've got an extra tractor or an extra fishing boat, call Billy Dean.
Craig Morgan is set to release his first full-length album on the Black River label. Craig titled the record "This Ole Boy." He will visit with me in my kitchen later this month.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Brunswick Stew.