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HOT DISH: Kip Moore's Career Keeps Growing More and More
More News About Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Others
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.)

Kip Moore made it to No. 1 on Billboard's country songs chart and decided he liked it so much, he stayed there a second week. His single, "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," went gold by selling 500,000 downloads even before the recent release of his Up All Night album. And the song's video has received more than 7 million views online.

Kip says he feels like Rocky Balboa. But instead of saying, "Yo, Adrian," he says, "Yo, Brett. We did it!"

Brett James is Kip's record producer and co-writer. According to the Universal Music Group promotions team, radio stations actually called their office to see if this song reached the precious No. 1 plateau. Radio, you did it, dad-gum it!

Kip made a guest appearance with Tim McGraw in New York City during the Memorial Day weekend. He'll perform "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" on the 2012 CMT Music Awards on Wednesday (June 6) at 8 p.m. ET on CMT and CMT.com.

And just this past Friday (June 1), Eric Church announced even "Moore" news when he confirmed Kip and Justin Moore (no relation) have been added to his Blood, Sweat & Beers tour.

Country Superstars Share Their Big Bucks
According to Forbes magazine, country music's top moneymaker for the past year is Taylor Swift at $57 million. Coming in second is hard-hitting Toby Keith, almost catching Taylor with $55 million. Third is Kenny Chesney, who is always in the running because he works hard. He earned an estimated $44 million during the past year. And Brad Paisley, who some people say I tend to favor, made $32 million.

I am proud of these four moneymakers. Granted, they make a lot of cash, but they're generous in giving a lot of it away to those who need and deserve help.

Taylor is the biggest donor ever for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It seems like giving makes Taylor happy. Her $4 million pledge to the museum is pure love.

Toby's friend's daughter died of cancer when she was 3 years old. Toby's annual benefit in Oklahoma is because of that little girl he knew and loved. He's helped that family and hundreds of other sick children ever since that child went to heaven.

His most recent dinner, auction and golf tournament in Oklahoma City raised $664,000 to help build the OK Kids Korral, which will give families a place to stay when children are admitted to the Oklahoma University Medical Center Children's Hospital and other nearby facilities.

As for Kenny and Brad, they just don't know how not to give. Those boys are always helping somebody who needs and deserves help. Is it a band member? Neighbor? Family? It could be anybody who's in need. Why? Because they care.

Big Machine Label Group Has Plenty to Celebrate
Big Machine Label Group chief Scott Borchetta has enjoyed a lot of success with Taylor Swift, but he finally got a hit-making solo male superstar when he recently signed Tim McGraw.

Scott, a major NASCAR enthusiast, also had a helluva Memorial Day weekend as Big Machine Records earned its second consecutive Indianapolis championship when driver Dario Franchitti raced into victory lane for the third time in his career. Big Machine sponsored Franchitti. The win comes after the company sponsored the late Dan Wheldon's winning car at the race in 2011. (He died in a 15-car accident at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October 2011.)

Big Machine/Republic Nashville recording artist Martina McBride kicked off the race by performing the national anthem in front of a crowd of almost 350,000 spectators. She paid tribute to the late driver and his family by wearing a Dan Wheldon championship ring on her right hand during her performance.

Even beyond the Big Machine sponsorship, Franchitti has a strong country music connection. He's married to actress Ashley Judd, Naomi Judd's daughter and Wynonna's sister, who was on hand to support hubby. Dario is a mighty man.

Zac Brown Band Get Uncaged
Zac Brown says the Zac Brown Band is set to release their new album, Uncaged, on July 10. Zac says the project is the culmination of the powerful chemistry that's developed by living, traveling and working as a band. He had a hand in writing all 11 songs on the album.

Describing the project, he says, "We're always trying to push our musicianship, and I'm proud to say there's a little bit of something for everyone."

Remembering Doc Watson
Like everyone around this world who loves acoustic music, I, too, was saddened by the passing of the great Doc Watson. A musician's musician, Doc died Tuesday (May 29) at age 89 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

I recall sitting in the shade at Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, Ind., talking with Doc about music and God. He was blind, but he could see more than most.

Addition to the McCoury Clan
Rob and Lisa McCoury are parents of children with musical names. Daughter Monroe is 9 and son Del is 5. Rob, of course, is Del McCoury's son who plays banjo in the Del McCoury Band.

Rob and Lisa's newest addition, baby Vassar, was born Tuesday (May 29) and named after the late Vassar Clements, a master fiddler if there ever was one.

Diana DeGarmo Engaged
In January, Diana DeGarmo revealed she was in a relationship with season five American Idol contestant and former Hair co-star Ace Young. On the May 23 finale for season 11 of Idol, Young revealed that he and DeGarmo are living together and then surprised her with a marriage proposal -- which she accepted.

Diana took part in the third season of Idol in 2004, finishing second behind Fantasia Barrino. She was only 16 at the time she competed.

She was signed to RCA Records/19 Recordings shortly after the Idol finale and released her debut album in 2004. She sang "Reaching for Heaven" in the soundtrack for the Disney movie, Ice Princess. RCA released her from her recording contract in June 2005, but later that year, she received the Horizon Award at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame ceremony. The award recognizes Georgia artists on the pathway to successful and lengthy careers.

Diana made her major stage debut as Maria in 2005 in a production of West Side Story in San Jose, Calif. She later appeared in the New York productions of Hairspray and Brooklyn: The Musical.

She started recording a pop/R&B album in 2007 but backed out of the project and returned to her country roots. After being a cast member on CMT's Gone Country in 2007, she returned to Nashville and signed to John Rich's production company. She recorded a country demo with Rich in 2008. In early 2009 she released an acoustic EP, Unplugged in Nashville, containing four songs she co-wrote.

Diana's involvement in musical theater has taken her away from Nashville since 2009, including stints in Back to Bacharach and David (featuring the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the off-Broadway musical, The Toxic Avenger. She returned to Broadway starring as Shelia in Hair. It was Hair -- not American Idol -- that introduced her to Ace.

I met Diana when she came to my kitchen in 2010 for some country cooking and to talk about her role of Doralee Rhodes in the national tour of 9 to 5. (Dolly Parton played the character in the hit film.)

In October 2012, Diana joined the cast of TV's The Young and the Restless in the role of Angeline, the daughter of resident mobster Angelo. The last time I heard from Diana was through her manager when she just this year played the role of Dora Hand in the Val Kilmer film, Wyatt Earp's Revenge.

I do believe this brings us up to May 23 on American Idol. Before Phillip Phillips was declared this season's winner, host Ryan Seacrest called the couple to the stage. The lights were dimmed when Young said, "This has always been home to us, and I felt that this would be the perfect place to ask a simple question."

He got down on one knee and continued, "We have conquered Broadway together. We have created our new music together. We have an amazing group of people around us. ... Are you ready? I love you to death. You're my best friend. I want to make this last forever, and I will do anything in my power to have the most ... amazing life together if you will have me. Diana Nicole DeGarmo, will you marry me?"

A tearful Diana said, "Yes."

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Grilled Salmon.
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