(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.)
Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, the Oak Ridge Boys and Diamond Rio surprised Keith Urban at the recent We're All For the Hall benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And when they gave him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry, he wept. And so did I.
And when Trace Adkins, Josh Turner and Opry general manager Pete Fisher made the induction official on April 22, Keith wept again. And so did I.
Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, he's the only Opry member who wasn't born in North America. For years, he's wanted to become Opry member, and now he'll be regularly standing on the Opry stage in the circle of wood from the old stage at the Ryman Auditorium.
"It's a long way from Caboolture [where he and his parents lived in Queensland, Australia] to the stage here at the Grand Ole Opry, so I want to send a shout out back to Australia and the country music community," he said at the induction ceremony. "And to stand in this circle is the most phenomenal thing."
When the phone calls and messages started rolling in to congratulate him on his latest achievement, Keith heard from his parents, along with Marty Stuart, Brad Paisley and John Mayer. From the stage, he thanked his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, and their daughters, Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret. The lovely Nicole was as happy for her husband as he was for receiving the honor of Opry membership.
Somethin' 'Bout Moore
His single, "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" is certified gold. His album, Up All Night, was released last week. Everywhere I look, there's more about Moore -- Kip Moore, that is.
"Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" has sold almost 650,000 copies, and its radio airplay has boosted it to No. 9 on Billboard's country songs chart. The video has received more than 6 million views online.
An early believer, songwriter Brett James signed Kip to a songwriting deal and produced the album.
Kip wrote or co-wrote every song on the record. James compares Moore to a college athlete who plays golf and basketball. He plays and plays while he writes songs until he has enough material for four or maybe five albums. He wrote "Faith When I Fall" the day after he signed his contract with MCA Nashville
There's definitely somethin' 'bout Kip Moore.
Miranda Lambert's Cause for the Paws
Miranda Lambert headlines her annual Cause for the Paws fundraiser on June 22 at Ford Park in Beaumont, Texas, to benefit her Muttnation Foundation. Miranda's love for animals led to the forming of the foundation, and she's raised more than $700,000 over the past five years to assist abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted animals.
Alan and Denise Jackson Simplify
As most of you know, Denise Jackson (aka Mrs. Alan Jackson) won her battle with cancer in 2011. You probably also heard the couple sold their Nashville-area home and 135 acres for $28 million and bought a gated place with seven or eight acres and a 17,000-square-foot house.
Alan and Denise are now selling the lakeside retreat they've owned for 20 years. It includes a five-bedroom main house, a guest house, boat dock, two-story house boat and helipad. Located east of Nashville on Center Hill Lake, the 3.6-acre estate is gated and on a private peninsula near Smithville, Tenn. The asking price is $4,995,000.
Explaining their reasons for selling it, Alan says, "We've enjoyed our lake house, but as our girls have gotten older, we don't find as many opportunities to use the property as a family."
It appears the couple have decided not to downsize but to simplify. They also plan to sell their Florida home.
Willie, Kris and Others Pay Tribute to Johnny Cash
Actor Matthew McConaughey hosted the "We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash." Friends who love and miss Johnny Cash turned out to honor the man and his music in Austin, Texas.
Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings, Ronnie Dunn, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Brandi Carlile, Amy Lee, Andy Grammer, Don Was, Jesse Dayton, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Buddy Miller, Amy Nelson, Rhett Miller and Train's Pat Monahan all performed. I hope I didn't leave anyone out. If I did, it's because I am impressed with this list.
Yes, these folks loved Cash and his music. They miss him, and so does the rest of the world. Johnny Cash left a huge hole when he left this world. Just plain folks like you and me were sad when that great man went home to be with the Lord. Sending love and prayers to the Cash family.
They're No. 1
Lionel Richie's album of duets, Tuskegee, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's country chart. After a brief slide to No. 2, it's back at the top for a second consecutive week. With more than 536,000 copies purchased by fans since its release in late March, it's the top-selling country album so far this year.
And Blake Shelton's "Drink on It" is Billboard's No. 1 country single for a second consecutive week, too, and I have to say, "Yeah!" Blake's blazing hot.
Joe and Heather Nichols Welcome a Daughter
"Our prayers have been answered," said Heather Nichols. She and husband Joe Nichols became the proud parents of Dylan River Nichols on April 17.
"We went through years of loss and heartbreak to get to this point, and now our baby girl is here," she said. "I want to thank everyone for their well-wishes, thoughts and prayers and our doctors and nurses who have walked alongside us in this process. I know that we are going to love this little girl, and I am so thankful that she is ours."
"As Heather said, we have been trying to have a baby for many years, and this gift is not something we take for granted," Joe added. "We are going to try to be the best parents possible."
Dylan weighed 7 pounds, 5 ounces.
Trisha Cooks, but She's Also Singing
Trisha Yearwood wants her fans to know her new cooking show, Trisha's Southern Cooking, on the Food Network doesn't mean she's becoming a full-time cooking lady. She's written two cookbooks -- the first with her mom and sister and the second with her sister after their mother passed away. But Trisha is back in the recording studio and working on new music she hopes to release later this year. She's about half done with the new record.
She loves the cooking, the cooking show and the cookbooks, but Trisha is a singer. It's been five years since her fans have heard new music from her. It's time!
Marty Stuart Rocks
Marty Stuart bluegrassed himself from Philadelphia, Miss., to Lester Flatt's band, the Nashville Grass, where the 12-year-old cut his teeth and became a master picker. Next, Marty rocked alongside Johnny Cash. (He even married a Cash daughter, but it didn't last.)
These days, Marty and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, have a TV show, and he's married to the beautiful Connie Smith, who'll be formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.
Marty recently released his new album, Nashville, Volume 1: Tear the Woodpile Down.
Personal Notes to My Music Row Friends
Music Row friends and acquaintances, sad news reached me that my friend and yours, Carmen Mercedes, has passed away. She was a sweet girl who had lots of friends in the Nashville music community. In fact, she used to babysit for Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash and others. The word I got is Carmen married and moved to Costa Rica. They bought a house and had moved in. She had a heart attack and died two weeks ago. If you feel like crying, please do. I did.
Some of you who remember radio man Skeeter Dodd might want to know this. At church one Sunday, Skeeter heard my granddaughter, Tara Smith, sing "When He Was on the Cross, I Was on His Mind." When they returned home Skeeter told his wife that he wanted Tara to sing that song at his funeral. Skeeter died April 9. I'm humbly proud to say, Tara honored Skeeter's request. May he rest in peace.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Oven Baked Potatoes With Onions.