(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.)
Dierks Bentley has added Kix Brooks to his seventh annual Miles & Music for Kids fundraiser on Oct. 14 in Middle Tennessee. Besides Kix, Dierks will be joined onstage by Sheryl Crow, Chris Young, Brantley Gilbert, the Cadillac Black and Craig Campbell.
Dierks has again teamed up with CMT One Country for the Sunday afternoon motorcycle ride from the Harley-Davidson dealership in Columbia, Tenn., to the concert at Nashville's Riverfront Park. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Following cancer surgery at Vanderbilt a few years ago, I would see those sick children when I went for daily radiation. All a body can do is pray. Those beautiful children will touch you deeply.
Thanks, Dierks. It takes a real man to do what you are doing for these children.
Carrie Underwood Has Another Platinum Album
Superstar Carrie Underwood's latest album, Blown Away, been certified platinum for shipments of 1 million copies. She and friend Brad Paisley will be co-hosting the CMA Awards on Nov. 1 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Carrie's Blown Away tour began Friday (Sept. 14) in Manchester, N.H., with Hunter Hayes as the opening act.
Keith Urban Educates High School Students
When Keith Urban met with students from four local high schools at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, he stressed the value of hard work and perseverance to the 200-plus in attendance.
"It was a lifetime dream of mine to move to Nashville to make records and tour," he told the young people. "That's why I left Australia."
However, Keith also told them he had no idea how hard it was going to be.
The students listened attentively during the entire program and asked questions during the follow-up. They asked questions about songwriting and about navigating a career in entertainment. Keith advised the students to forget about the rules when it comes to songwriting, adding, "When someone advises, 'This is the way to do it,' someone will write a song that defies everything and breaks all the rules."
Keith talked of learning to play a ukulele when he was 4 and guitar at age 6. He didn't like to practice and when it was time for his lessons, he'd hop on his bike and disappear. Still, he became a guitar virtuoso and an award-winning country entertainer after moving to Nashville in 1992.
A music exec in Nashville once told him, "Keith, you're really unique. That will be your biggest curse until it becomes your greatest blessing." That was exactly what Keith needed to hear. He knew he had to stay with it.
He ended the program by playing an acoustic version of his Grammy-winning hit "Stupid Boy," a request from the audience.
Keep in mind, it's Keith Urban who has been a generous supporter of the museum. His We're All for the Hall concerts began in 2009 and have raised approximately $1.5 million to date.
I must say, the pretty boy from Down Under has become a genuine hillbilly. Don't you just love him?
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Lady A Christmas Album
Lady Antebellum will be spreading the holiday spirit next month. Oct. 22 is the release date of their Christmas album, On This Winter's Night.
Hillary Scott loves everything that goes with this holiday. This is her first Christmas as a married woman. She and her bridegroom will visit her parents Linda Davis and Lang Scott and her 12-year-old sister. Charles Kelley is happily married and all about Christmas, especially a visit to his home state of Georgia. Surely Dave Haywood will be into the tradition, too, since he also got married this year.
Merry Christmas, kids, and to all a good night.
Kenny Chesney Still Busy Following Tour
His stadium tour with Tim McGraw has come to a close, but big stuff continues for Kenny Chesney. His new single, "El Cerrito Place," shipped to radio and was the most-added single record of the week. On Saturday (Sept. 22), Kenny will join his hero and my friend Willie Nelson in Hershey, Pa., at the annual Farm Aid concert. Neil Young, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp will also be there to welcome Kenny.
On Sept. 24, Kenny will be honored by the Academy of Country Music during the ACM Honors ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. He'll be presented the Crystal Milestone Award for selling more than 10.5 million tickets this summer and for helping develop other country acts.
First Baseman Slides Into a Jason Aldean Concert
The Washington Times wrote that the Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche and his teammates had tickets to see Jason Aldean perform with Luke Bryan in Bristow, Va. LaRoche was highly concerned they'd miss the concert after weather delayed the game two hours and 33 minutes. Still, they kept their bus waiting so the whole team could go.
In the 10th inning, LaRoche was on first base. He gambled on a blooper single, did not stop at second, slid headfirst into third, beating the throw. LaRoche said he was thinking of Aldean when he passed up second and slid into third. The Nationals won 7-6, and the baseballers were able to enjoy a great country music concert.
Hollywood Walk of Fame for Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts
Vince Gill was honored recently with a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Photos from the Sept. 6 event showed him with those close to his heart, including his beautiful wife Amy Grant and gorgeous daughter Jenny Gill, along with two others he's known along the way -- record producer Tony Brown and Oklahoma native Reba McEntire.
Reba called him a "true friend." Tony added, "Three things: Vince is one of the greatest songwriters in the history of country music, one of the greatest singers in all genres of music and, last but not least, he is one of the greatest guitar players in the entire world. And I will stand on Eric Clapton's coffee table and say that."
Another country star is being placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The members of Rascal Flatts will see their names unveiled on the world-famous tourist attraction on Monday (Sept. 17).
Capitol Street Party
The Capitol Street Party is moving from Demonbreun Street near Music Row to downtown Nashville where Luke Bryan will host the annual event with guest appearances by Capitol Nashville labelmates Kelleigh Bannen and Jon Pardi. The big party is set for Oct. 17.
Donna Hilley to Be Honored
When music executive Donna Hilley passed away in June on the heels of Frances Preston's death, I felt like Donna should have received more attention than she got. Frances started her career answering phones at WSM radio in Nashville and had risen to the heights of serving as president of the mighty BMI, the performing rights organization, in New York City.
Now I see where Donna has been named the latest recipient of the Frances Williams Preston Mentor Award, an honor to be acknowledged at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony on Oct. 7.
Donna was CEO of Tree International Publishing and negotiated its purchase by Sony. She later became CEO of Sony/ATV Publishing, where she worked for 30 years.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Hilley was one of Music Row's most powerful females. She was loved and respected by all songwriters who passed her desk. She surely deserves this and all other honors.
Final Goodbye to Oscar
Lonzo & Oscar were a musical comedy duo that entertained beginning in the 1930s. Rollin "Oscar" Sullivan died recently in Madison, Tenn., at age 93. Like Minnie Pearl, Rod Brasfield and all the other Grand Ole Opry entertainers who dressed up in funny clothes and told hilarious stories, Oscar and his partner Lonzo sang and kept you laughing with their antics.
I wish there were more country comics up through the ranks these nights and days. Every time we lose one, it makes me sad.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Spanish Rice.