(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 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas is now history, so the winners will be packing up their newest trophies and heading home or hitting the road again for their next tour date. But before that happens, quite a few major acts are staying in town another night for Monday's (April 2) taping of the upcoming CBS special, Lionel Richie and Friends -- In Concert.
In addition to the usual sort of performances and collaborations at Sunday night's (April 1) awards show, Martina McBride took on the role of a wedding singer when a New Jersey couple -- Christina Davidson and Frank Tucci -- got married onstage. Martina handpicked the couple for the special ceremony, and she sang her new single, "Marry Me," with Train lead vocalist Pat Monahan, who wrote the song.
Also on the show, Richie and Blake Shelton performed "You Are," one of Richie's solo hits from the '80s. It's one of the songs featured on Richie's new album, Tuskegee, which features duets with country stars. To show their appreciation, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Rogers are among those scheduled to perform with him on the special airing April 13.
You've got to give Richie credit for knowing how to call attention to his new album. Within the past week alone, he's made TV appearances on Today, The Voice, Late Show With David Letterman and Piers Morgan Tonight. He visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday (April 2), and he and Billy Currington will get together Wednesday (April 4) to perform "Just for You" on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Richie will also appear Friday (April 5) on The Talk.
In the meantime, the ACM will have another awards ceremony in Nashville on Sept. 24 honoring the winners of the organization's nontelevised categories for 2012.
Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs and Dwight Yoakam and record producer Billy Sherrill will receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, an honor bestowed on country music trailblazers. Chesney will receive the Crystal Milestone Award in recognition of more than 10.5 million tickets sold on his 11 national tours and gaining additional attention to country music throughout the nation. Vince Gill is set to receive the career achievement award.
Bobby Braddock and the late Roger Miller are this year's winners of the Poet's Award for their songwriting achievements. Alan Jackson will pick up the Jim Reeves International Award for his contributions to the acceptance of country music worldwide. Other winners include Dallas Davidson (songwriter of the year), Frank Liddell (producer of the year) and Justin Niebank (audio engineer of the year). Awards will also be presented in several industry categories.
Lady Antebellum's Special Prom Gig
Lady Antebellum will host the Rebuilding Henryville event May 16 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., to assist the town of Henryville, Ind., which was devastated by a recent tornado.
The event stemmed from the trio's Own the Night prom contest which included a grand prize of having Lady A perform at a high school prom. A rival school submitted Henryville High School as a worthy selection.
Lady A will perform a private prom for the school's juniors and seniors before headlining a post-prom party that's open to the public.
The entire town, including the high school, was totally destroyed by the tornado.
Kris Kristofferson, Joe Galante Honored by T.J. Martell Foundation
The fourth annual T.J. Martell Foundation honors gala in Nashville raised more than $400,000 for cancer research while recognizing the contributions of Kris Kristofferson, former RCA and Sony Music Nashville chief Joe Galante and three local community leaders.
Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Hornsby, Martina McBride and K.T. Oslin provided the entertainment during the banquet which included a cocktail party and auctions. In addition to Kristofferson and Galante, the event also honored Gaylord Entertainment chairman and CEO Colin Reed, Nashville Predators chairman and co-owner Tom Cigarran and Vanderbilt Health System CEO Dr. C. Wright Pinson.
Carol Lee Cooper Retires From Grand Ole Opry
Carol Lee Cooper has closed out a 40-year career as a background singer at the Grand Ole Opry. The daughter of the late Opry duo Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, she led the Carol Lee Singers since 1972.
The three remaining members of the Carol Lee Singers -- Darrell McCall, Norah Lee Allen and Rod Fletcher -- will continue being featured on the show as the Opry Singers.
During a recent Opry segment hosted by her friend Marty Stuart, Cooper was presented a framed print commemorating her years of service to the Opry and the countless songs to which she's lent her voice on the Opry stage.
Randy Travis, Michael W. Smith Lead Community Hymn Sing
Randy Travis and Michael W. Smith headlined the recent community hymn sing at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. At the fourth annual event, attendees were encouraged to sing along to their favorite hymns. The gathering, the brainchild of EMI Christian Music Group founder Billy Ray Hearn, closed with Travis, Smith and the audience singing "Amazing Grace."
Civil Wars to Reschedule European Tour
Family comes first for the Civil Wars. Due to a serious illness in the family, concerts in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Turkey were recently postponed. The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White will reschedule the shows after Williams has her first child this summer.
I loved seeing The Voice episode featuring competition on Blake Shelton's team between street performer Naia Kete and country hopeful Jordan Rager.
Kelly Clarkson has found success on the country chart with her collaborations with Reba McEntire and Jason Aldean, but she has never been a country solo artist until now. The American Idol champ has recorded a new version of "Mr. Know It All" for country radio. The track was produced by the incredible Dann Huff.
Love and Theft -- the duo of Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson -- will release a new album on June 5 on RCA Records. Remember Taylor Swift's song, "Stephen"? There are those who think Liles is the one Taylor wrote and sang about.
Following sold-out venues and standing ovations, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are now country music royalty in Australia. Their three daughters -- Gracie, Maggie and Audrey -- accompanied their famous parents on the tour.
Pam Tillis performed the national anthem at the grand reopening of the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville last week. The mall and its stores were destroyed by the flood that hit Middle Tennessee in May 2010. Opry Mills will continue its reopening celebration with a free concert by Josh Turner on May 5.
Don Williams, country's Gentle Giant, will release his first album since 2004. Titled And So It Goes, the collection will be released June 19 and includes guest appearances by Keith Urban, Alison Krauss and Vince Gill.
An estimated 10,000 people walked through the doors of Nashville music venues last week during the annual Tin Pan South song festival. More than 350 songwriters performed, including Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Edens Edge, Janis Ian, John Oates and Paul Williams.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Easter Baked Ham.