(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.)
You've got to give Little Big Town credit for hanging in there and believing in their music. More than a decade after releasing their debut single, "Pontoon" has just become their first track to hit No. 1 on Billboard's country songs chart.
And just days after "Pontoon" topped the chart, Little Big Town grabbed three nominations at this year's CMA Awards. They're up for vocal group of the year, and "Pontoon" is nominated for single and music video of the year. A nomination also went to video director Declan Whitebloom.
Little Big Town first charted in 2002 with "Don't Waste My Time," but it wasn't until 2005 that they rebounded from the ups and downs of the music biz with the breakthrough single, "Boondocks."
"After working towards this for 13 years, it's an even sweeter reward than we dreamed!" Kimberly Schlapman said of their first No. 1 single. "We're just soaking it all in, and it feels so good!"
"We'll be celebrating this for a while," Karen Fairchild added. "We can't say thank you enough to country radio, the fans and our whole team for giving us our first No. 1."
Little Big Town will be celebrating even more when their new album, Tornado, is released Tuesday (Sept. 11).
Lady A's Hillary Scott Is Moving on Up
Hillary Scott, the pretty girl singer in Lady Antebellum, and hubby Chris Tyrrell have purchased a lovely white Southern mansion near Nashville. With six bedrooms and eight baths, the 7,600-square-foot house had a $1.9 million price tag. Shoot, that house even has a screened porch with a fireplace.
Hillary and Chris must be planning to have a whole passel of kids or lots of company. There's no way two people can use eight bathrooms. Hillbilly royalty!
Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies
The Pistol Annies headed to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for Sunday night's (Sept. 9) Canadian Country Music Awards. Michael McCall, my friend who has done my makeup for CMT's Southern Fried Flicks for six years is on that trip to make those pretty women even more beautiful. He knows how.
Pistol Annie Miranda Lambert will be working for NBC, the same network as her hubby Blake Shelton, a judge on The Voice. For the past year, Miranda has been pitching a TV pilot based on her childhood stories from when her parents were private investigators. NBC took the bait, and now Miranda will be executive producer of the series.
Miranda's mom will serve as consultant to the show. I never met a mom who couldn't consult.
Kellie Pickler is a great country music star and a great friend. Adding the word "friend" was something I had to do since my friend Kellie is standing by her childhood best friend, Summer Holt Miller, throughout her bout with breast cancer.
Before Summer began chemotherapy last week, she shaved her head to avoid dealing with the hair loss that accompanies the treatment. To show the extent of her support, Kellie shaved her head, too.
Girls, get those mammograms. Cancer does not discriminate. Fans, let's support Kellie in her career -- and let's support Summer with our prayers.
Eric Church is set to record his first live album during a two-night stand at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tenn. With five nominations, he's the leader of the pack on the list of nominees at the upcoming CMA Awards.
The hot summer heat is still hanging at the 90-plus level in Nashville, but Scotty McCreery has a Christmas album ready to release Oct. 16. I'm trying hard to hear those Christmas bells in September.
Ryan Seacrest's website gives a nod to Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" as one of the 15 songs college freshmen cannot live without. Those partying freshmen.
Vince Gill was in California last week when his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled on the same stretch of pavement as Hank Williams, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton and Vince's wife, Amy Grant. Longtime friend Reba McEntire made a surprise appearance at the dedication ceremony.
Mumford & Sons shared the stage with the legendary Emmylou Harris near Nashville last week for a new episode of CMT Crossroads to air Sept. 20.
The always-wonderful Billy Ray Cyrus has released a brand new single, "Change My Mind," on iTunes.
Catching Up With Bobby Bare
When I was departing Sam's Club recently, out stepped a pretty blond lady with hugging arms. Directly behind her was her husband, the wonderful singer Bobby Bare, who was ready to give me a hug, too. Jeannie and Bobby have one of the happiest marriages in show biz. I don't know how long they've been married, but I know they have a wonderful family.
During our visit, Bare told me he has recorded an album with Don Cusic, professor of music business at Belmont University in Nashville.
Years ago, Bobby had a publishing company on Nashville's Music Row. Jeannie's parents ran the place. Her dad, Big Harlan, was a retired policeman from Las Vegas. Every afternoon, they'd open up the booze, and folks would drop by and have a nip. They had a pinball machine in their office that attracted a lot of stars. Waylon Jennings and Tompall Glaser are two who would drop by regularly.
Bobby Bare is one of our all-time great singers and a man who should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. And if there is any fairness in this business of country music, Bare will be inducted soon. As a matter of fact, I told him and Jeannie that he should already be a Hall of Fame member.
"I just want him in there before he dies -- while he's still alive," Jeannie replied.
Lord, ain't that the truth?
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Best Lasagna.