(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.)
Ever since the wonderful and very successful movie and soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, country music singers, songwriters and, most of all, the powers that be have had great respect for T Bone Burnett, who produced the music. Dear friends of mine such as the Whites, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Ralph Stanley and a bevy of others suddenly had something they'd never had before -- sizable bank accounts.
I remember when we all rushed to Franklin, Tenn., for a party honoring the singers, musicians and actors. The excitement in that room was contagious as Dan, Jerry and others donned beards and sang "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." I recall how happy Mercury Records CEO Luke Lewis was during the occasion because they'd sold 500,000 copies of the soundtrack album. They had no idea what the future held.
The movie and soundtrack were nominated for virtually every award known to music and film -- including the CMA, ACM and Grammy awards -- and won most of them. Nashville had never seen anything quite like it. They kept on selling records until they reached an unbelievable number. In fact, it has sold 7.7 million copies and is currently No. 35 on Billboard's top catalog country albums chart.
I see T Bone Burnett in the news these days for producing Lisa Marie Presley's new album, Storm & Grace. How did this project come to be? Well, Hollywood didn't have a blooming thing to do with it.
From what I read in Entertainment Weekly, Burnett was intrigued that Elvis' daughter was making records. He thought it was a gutsy thing to do
"Being in the family business is complicated," he allowed.
As for Lisa Marie, the girl is a fan of music. Referring to T Bone's past projects, she said, "I don't know that there was an album that he did that I wasn't a fan of -- from Counting Crows to O Brother, Where Art Thou? to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.
For her first album in seven years, Presley got rid of everybody involved in her musical past. She claims to be a singer and a songwriter. It seems to me that Lisa Marie may belong in Nashville, a place where the best songwriters on this earth do their chores. And keep T Bone around. He knows how to make old-school records that sell.
Tickets Going on Sale for CMT Music Awards
Tickets go on sale Monday (May 21) for the 2012 CMT Music Awards, and it's going to be a scalding-hot ticket for the summer. Broadcast live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on June 6, A-listers already confirmed for the show include Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and the Zac Brown Band. There's a whole slew of acts lining up for the event. I can't wait.
Tickets will go on sale at 11 a.m. ET via Ticketmaster.
Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw Rehearsing for Brothers of the Sun Tour
Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw have kicked off rehearsals for their Brothers of the Sun tour of stadiums, and Kenny says it was "as electric and exciting as we anticipated." After their initial rehearsal, Kenny headed to New Orleans for the Amazing Race 2012 charity event with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and actor Matthew McConaughey.
The Kenny/Tim tour begins June 2 in Tampa, Fla. It's been 10 years since the good friends have toured together. The opening acts are Jake Owen and rocker Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Surely the beautiful Faith Hill will join her hubby and his best pal at some of the shows.
Kenny's new album, Welcome to the Fishbowl, will be released June 19.
Zooey Deschanel Will Be Loretta Lynn
When Loretta Lynn performed on the Grand Ole Opry on May 10, she invited a guest onstage at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. It was actress Zooey Deschanel, who will portray the legendary singer on the Broadway-bound stage adaptation of Coal Miner's Daughter.
Following the introduction, the star of the hot sitcom, New Girl, joined Loretta for a duet of her signature song, "Coal Miner's Daughter." Dates for the Broadway production will be announced in coming months.
Jason Aldean Is No. 1
Jason Aldean's ""Fly Over States"" landed at No. 1 on the latest Billboard country singles chart and is his latest chart-topper from his double-platinum My Kinda Party album.
"I've always loved this song and hoped it would be a single," said Jason. "I didn't know we'd get five singles off this album, let alone have all of them go to No. 1. It totally blows my mind."
By the way, the Georgia native has sold out every show so far this year.
With sponsors like Pepsi, Bud Light and Jim Beam, it looks like nobody is apt to get thirsty at the BamaJam festival taking place June 14-16 in Enterprise, Ala.
Some 35 acts are scheduled to perform during the festival, including Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Willie Nelson, the Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, Ronnie Milsap, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Jamey Johnson, Uncle Kracker, Casey James, Joanna Smith and Randy Montana.
Tim McGraw Participating in Celebrity Sporting Clay Shootout
The Tug McGraw Foundation will hold its Celebrity Sporting Clay Shootout at the Nashville Gun Club on June 5. Proceeds will benefit the foundation and its efforts to improve lives of military service members affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Tim McGraw, the late baseball great's son, will be joined at the event by Luke Bryan, Craig Campbell, Montgomery Gentry, Josh Gracin, JT Hodges, Jon Pardi and Brad and Brett Warren.
Toby Keith Hosts Golf Classic in Oklahoma
"It's all aimed at giving sick children and their families a helping hand," Toby Keith says.
What he's talking about is the OK Kids Korral that's being built in Oklahoma City. Groundbreaking took place Friday (May 18) to coincide with the ninth annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic.
The new facility is being supported by the Toby Keith Foundation, which he founded in 2006 to create a retreat for families of children being treated for cancer at the OU Medical Center. The OK Kids Korral will provide daytime and overnight lodging for pediatric patients and their families, as well as a game room, a movie theater and a center for learning about cancer and the available treatments.
Last year's golf tournament and auction raised $650,000, so I'm looking forward to hearing how much was raised this time.
Casey James Contributes Track to Help Veterans
Handsome Casey James, an American Idol alumnus, didn't have to think twice when asked to contribute a track to the 2012 Warrior Games highlight video. Hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Warrior Games are a competition for wounded and ill veterans. "The Good Life," the lead song from Casey's self-titled album, provided the soundtrack for the video shown at a recent dinner for the athletes who participated in this year's games.
Plowboy Records Launched
On Tuesday (May 15), which would have been Eddy Arnold's 94th birthday, Plowboy Records launched in Music City to celebrate the Country Music Hall of Fame member's legacy. The label is being created by Arnold's grandson, Shannon Pollard, along with author, educator and historian Don Cusic and punk legend Cheetah Chrome (who used to play guitar in the Dead Boys).
Plowboy's first release will be a new album by the great Bobby Bare that is being recorded at RCA's Studio B. Bare's collaborators on the project include Buddy Miller, Randy Scruggs and members of Robert Plant's Band of Joy.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Baked Chicken.