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HOT DISH: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton Have Lots to Celebrate Lately
More News About Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood 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.)

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton have had plenty to celebrate lately, including her win at Wednesday's (June 6) CMT Music Awards in Nashville for female of the video of the year for "Over You." The couple wrote the song about Blake's brother, Richie, who died 20 years ago in a car accident.

At the awards show, Miranda thanked Richie for inspiring the song that became their first No. 1 as co-writers. As an artist, "Over You" is her third single to top Billboard's country songs chart.

In April, Blake's "Drink on It" reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart. It's his 11th single to top the chart -- and the sixth one in a row to do so.

To celebrate, the couple recently headed to Cowboy Town in Whites Creek, Tenn., for a party hosted by ASCAP and BMI to celebrate the success of both songs with industry friends and the writers of "Drink on It" -- Jon Randall Stewart, Rodney Clawson and Jessi Alexander.

I'm glad Miranda and Blake were able to spend some time together. Miranda performed Thursday (June 7) during the opening of the CMA Music Festival's nightly concert series at Nashville's LP Field. Blake performed during the stadium show the following night.

When Miranda made the cover of USA Today, she told the interviewer to feel free to come back for another conversation when she's 30 to talk about she and Blake Shelton having babies.

More About Miranda and the Pistol Annies
Ever since the Dixie Chicks ceased to be considered mainstream country -- whether it was when Natalie Maines made the comment about former President George W. Bush or what followed that -- I felt it was a total waste of wonderful talent. These were females who could really play their instruments and sing. I kept hoping they'd come back, but it's never happened.

I sent word by Michael McCall, my hair and makeup artist for CMT's Southern Fried Flicks, to Miranda Lambert and her Pistol Annies that I'm betting on them to fill that big empty slot left by the departed Dixie Chicks. They had a laugh and agreed maybe it was a possibility. Others compare the Pistol Annies to the Chicks these days, too.

We've got an entire city of people smarter than me. Some of you speak up and let me know if I'm barking up the wrong tree. Or do you agree that the Pistol Annies are headed to be big-timers like the Dixie Chicks were?

Luke Bryan Takes Another Step Toward Superstardom
I've watched Luke Bryan's career evolve from a skinny singer-songwriter looking for a hit to one of country music's brightest stars. I think I'm staring at another soon-to-be superstar as he continues plans to headline his own tour next year.

Luke and The Band Perry's Kimberly Perry are set to host CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock, a concert special airing Sept. 17 on ABC. It was taped during the 2012 CMA Music Festival that wrapped up Sunday (June 10) in Nashville.

Alan Jackson Reflects on Life
"She never complains, she's never sick, she takes no medicine," Alan Jackson says. "She doesn't even take aspirin."

So when his wife Denise got cancer, Alan had to knuckle under. Her treatment required two rounds of chemo and a month of radiation. Alan calls these tough times. Hopefully, he'll get over those months in late 2010, but he still remembers. Thankfully, Denise is now cancer-free.

All his adult life, when he had problems, Alan would write songs, so he wrote "When I Saw You Leaving" for Denise. Before he recorded the song, Alan told the studio musicians what the song was about -- and most of those tough, hairy-legged men wept. So did Denise when she heard it.

The Jacksons continue to downsize. They sold their big house with all the acreage. They've put their lakeside home and their Florida house on the market. They now live in a gated area high on a hill near Nashville and have also built a house in Georgia near the Chattahoochee River. Alan and Denise's life is changing. Daughter Mattie has graduated from college, Ali graduated from high school and Dani is a high school sophomore. In three years when the girls are all gone, Alan says he and Denise can decide what they want to do.

Alan just released his new album, Thirty Miles West. Look at a Georgia map, and you will see his hometown of Newnan, Ga., is 30 miles west of I-85 and 30 miles from Atlanta.

Country Music Real Estate News
George and Nancy Jones are also downsizing and will be selling their hillside mansion and 80 acres near Franklin, Tenn., during a July 7 auction. The couple put the property on the market about a year ago with an asking price of $15.5 million but haven't found a buyer. As I understand it, they'll be moving to a smaller lot -- but not a smaller house.

Also, Kenny Rogers' home and 150 acres near Athens, Ga., will be auctioned on June 26. It sounds like a situation Jones could identify with. Kenny's property was once listed for $3.5 million, but it never sold, so he's auctioning it off.

Why Earl Scruggs Laughed
During the late Earl Scruggs 80th birthday celebration, bluegrasser Mac Wiseman -- one of his dear friends -- presented him with an envelope and said, "Earl, I looked all over Nashville trying to find you an 80th birthday card, but there's no such thing."

Earl opened the envelope and found two cards printed with greetings on a 40th birthday.

"Two 40s," Mac laughed.

"Two 40s," Earl said as he laughed and added, "That makes 80!"

More News
Jason Aldean has sold out his first-ever stadium show. More than 27,000 tickets were sold for his Aug. 5 concert in Columbus, Ohio, one of the stops on his My Kinda Party tour.

Carrie Underwood's Blown Away has earned a fifth week at No. 1 on Billboard's country albums chart, and "Good Girl" has become her 12th single to top the trade publication's country songs chart. "Good Girl" is also the No. 1 video on CMT.

The Eli Young Band have another Top 10 hit with "Even if It Breaks Your Heart." Even radio has pointed out that the song has a distinct musical sound that sets itself apart from the rest of the country pack.

Kenny Chesney made headlines last week by announcing he's renewed his recording contract with Sony Music. His previous label, BNA, is being retired by Sony, so Kenny's future music will be released as a collaboration between Sony's Columbia label and his own Blue Chair imprint.

After all these years, Tim McGraw is thrilled that he's signed with Big Machine Label Group and will finally be able to give his fans what they've wanted and what he's wanted to give -- more music! He's ready. I do believe it's called musical freedom.

Sheryl Crow announced she's been diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. She was worried about her memory and got the diagnosis when she went for an MRI. No surgery is currently planned.

Country Music's Recent Losses
"It was an honor to comfort him as he left us," Dierks Bentley tweeted after his 88-year-old father passed from this life on June 2 as his son held his hands. My entire family sends love, sympathy and eternal friendship.

Jack Lameier fought cancer like a heavyweight boxer fights an opponent. Jack, who died May 31, was one of the greatest record promotion men in the history of Music Row. He spent more than 40 years at Columbia and Sony Music Nashville, seeking radio airplay for legends such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Tammy Wynette and was actively involved in the Academy of Country Music for almost three decades. Jack was loved by Music Row and will missed and talked about forever.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Butterscotch Pound Cake.
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