CMT News

HOT DISH: Prayers for Blake Shelton and His Family
News About Keith Urban, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley and Other Country Stars
Hot Dish
Hot Dish
(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.)

The past year was, without a doubt, the greatest and happiest of Blake Shelton's career. When I saw and heard him mention his dad on television a couple of weeks ago, I knew his father must be very ill.

Dick Shelton passed away on Tuesday (Jan. 17) in Shawnee, Okla. Blake and his wife Miranda Lambert rescheduled several tour dates to be with their family and attend the memorial service that took place Saturday (Jan 21). Miranda's tour resumes Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C., and Blake will be back on the road for a show the following night in Columbus, Ga.

I send my personal prayers to Blake, Miranda and their entire Oklahoma family. May God be with each of them and bless them during this time we all must face.

Blake and Miranda each issued statements thanking their fans for their continued support, and she added a special message we should all try to remember.

"This is a difficult time for our family, and the most important thing is being together," she said. "Tell your loved ones you love them."

It is of utmost importance to simply say "I love you" to those who matter the most to you.

Keith Urban Back in Spotlight After Vocal Cord Surgery
Watching the Golden Globe Awards, I could not help but notice how happy Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are. Nicole is such a statuesque beauty with class and glamour and all smiles for Keith. Her love for her man shines brighter than any of those Hollywood gals wearing gowns designed by men with names like Oscar or Versace. Those women seemed bored to me with smiles that looked like they were painted on their faces like Yogi Bear's.

Keith looks great. From all reports, the surgery to remove polyps from his vocal cords was successful. Since he's finishing up his vocal rest, he's booked two Grand Ole Opry appearances to make up for the ones he had to cancel. The first takes place Feb. 3 at the Ryman Auditorium.

And to prove that he really is back to the grind, he's set April 10 as the date for his It's All for the Hall concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Keith and Vince Gill will produce the event with a stellar lineup that includes Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Little Big Town, Thompson Square, the Pistol Annies and Alison Krauss & Union Station. And if that's not enough, others appearing include Alabama, the Oak Ridge Boys, Exile, Diamond Rio and the Blue Sky Riders, a trio featuring Kenny Loggins, Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman.

Keith says it's his hope and goal that the concert will help fans of country music connect the dots to find out where the music came from, how it evolved and is still evolving and to discover the artists who have influenced their favorites. Where these artists are honored best is at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Keith was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, and his love of country music is second to none. My heart speaks loud and clear to make me believe he should be the first artist born outside of North America to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Gretchen Wilson Sells Her Farm
My heart goes out to Gretchen Wilson and her daughter, Grace. When Gretchen's career hit big and she found her dream world, her entire family moved to Tennessee to live with them. And it was good.

Then in September, her beloved Uncle Vern (Vernon Heuer) had a heart attack and died at the age of 44. The family living was over. Everywhere she looked, Gretchen thought of her uncle. Saddened by the loss, she sold the 360 acres, including three log houses, a pond, pool and recording studio -- all the things a country girl dreams of. She's moving, and I find that so sad.

Kid Rock Lights Up
Kid Rock admitted he'd been sipping an adult beverage when he lit a cigar inside a nonsmoking venue during a Travis Tritt concert in Warren, Mich. It's against the law in Michigan to light up, and it also upset a 58-year-old asthmatic man.

Kid Rock feels bad and apologized to the patrons, but not to attorneys who will finagle a way to make an easy paycheck from his indiscretion.

Says Kid, "I was too hammered to know better. I doubt that I'm the first to make a bad decision while intoxicated."

And he won't be the last!

What Was Jake Owen Thinking?
Jake Owen underwent surgery last week for a broken collarbone he sustained while snowboarding in Colorado. All of his January concerts are canceled.

What in the world was the Florida native thinking when he tried to charge a mountain in Colorado? I'll tell you what. My winter vacations will always be in Florida, where Jake Owen was born.

Merle Haggard Recuperating From Pneumonia
Country Music Hall of Fame member Merle Haggard was hospitalized last week in Macon, Ga., after being diagnosed with pneumonia. He had been ill since leaving his home in California for his latest tour. Haggard canceled the Macon show, as well as the remainder of his January tour dates.

Brad Paisley Sells Out First Tour Dates of 2012
Brad Paisley's first weekend on the road in 2012 included sellout concerts in Grand Rapids, Mich., Milwaukee and St. Paul, Minn.

The St. Paul visit was double duty. Brad joined friend Garrison Keillor for an afternoon appearance on A Prairie Home Companion where I'm told the two of them brought down the house. They even performed a duet of "Life's Railway to Heaven" from Brad's current album.

When the song was sung Brad bolted out of the building to greet 15,000 fans at the sold-out Xcel Energy Center for his Virtual Reality World Tour -- or, as he calls it, "Brad's circus."

More News
Lady Antebellum's No. 1 single, "Just a Kiss," has been certified double platinum for more than 2 million downloads. Their "We Owned the Night" is gold with over 500,000 downloads. Isn't that heavy metal?

The CMA's popular songwriters series that began in Music Town, where songs are born, spread to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., and is about to grow wings to fly to England and Ireland. Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson, Clint Black and Bob DiPiero will make the journey to appear in London, Dublin and Belfast in February.

Randy Travis was managed by ex-wife Lib Hatcher-Travis since they arrived in Nashville from North Carolina while he was barely out of his teens. Randy has now signed with powerhouse manager Ken Levitan to represent him. However, Jeff Davis, who has been a part of Travis' team for 24 years, still maintains an active role in his business activities.

I see in Billboard where the Zac Brown Band grossed more than $500,000 each for four recent concerts. Can you believe $2 million for four concerts? If I was Zac, I'd just go home to the wife and four daughters.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Buffet Macaroni Salad.
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