(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.)
I don't know about you, but I am glad the presidential, senate and congressional elections are over. I got really tired of seeing adults arguing and fussing like children. I don't care who you like or who you voted for, it was a weak week with broken promises and, even worse, broken hearts.
But let's put that behind us and talk about some good country music! The CMA Awards came and went, too. CMA chief Steve Moore and his team kept us informed with the goings on and who the organization's membership voted to receive the trophies. There are some hardworking girls and boys down there.
There are major changes underway in country music. First off, from what I could see and hear, it appears that Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton have taken the lead of country music's super-couple from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Of course, Tim and Faith, like Shania Twain, are headed to the bright lights of Vegas on the heels of Garth Brooks' departure following a successful engagement at the Wynn.
I have one more important point to make to everybody who asked how Blake scored the CMA's entertainer of the year award. Why, don't you know that television is the vehicle to carry a singer into the stratosphere of superstardom. That's where the talented Blake scored. He's not a songwriter and musician like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and others, but he's a judge on NBC's The Voice. More fans can view Blake during one live show than they could for an entire season of touring.
Of course, Blake and Miranda's win for writing "Over You," the anthem for Blake's brother who died in a car crash, gave them smiles, tears and mailbox money. It's a great song, like Vince Gill's "Go Rest High on That Mountain," the hit from the early '90s inspired by his late brother. By the way, a dear friend pointed out to me how great it was we got to hear Vince singing "Don't Rush" with Kelly Clarkson on the CMA show. Should we send thank-you notes to Kelly for sharing that wonderful gift? Vince still has the greatest male voice in this hillbilly town.
I nominate Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the CMA hosts for as long as I live. They do a grand job, and they enjoy themselves. I don't know anyone dumb enough to criticize those two. They cook.
We must send congratulations to Eric Church for his album of the year win for Chief. Anytime a North Carolina person wins, I get giddy and teary!
Little Big Town has piddled, made babies and worked their tails off for 13 years, but they strutted like heroes when they picked up their award for vocal group and another for single of the year for "Pontoon." I'm glad Little Big Town finally scored at the awards show.
Shawna and Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square are the cutest things, and they sing like the choir special on Sunday morning. They are, deservingly so, the CMA's vocal duo of the year. Shoot, they even made history as the first married couple duo act to win the vocal duo prize in the 46-year history of the CMA Awards. Fans, when you come to Music City and go down to Lower Broadway where all the honky-tonks have the doors opened and music blaring, look on the right when you head toward the Cumberland River and search for the Wheel. That's where this duo slaved for a dozen or more years until they got their break.
Lady Antebellum Raise Awareness of Leukemia and Lymphoma
Lady Antebellum have joined with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a new public service campaign to fundraise and raise awareness of the lifesaving cancer research funded by the organization. All three members -- Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood -- have a strong connection to the LLS mission, each with a family member diagnosed with cancer during the past two years.
Georgia Boys Keep Picking the Hits
Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, young Thomas Rhett and the three Georgia Peach Pickers -- Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson -- are all over the place. Honestly, you can hardly buy an album that doesn't feature one or two or more songs by these happening individuals.
Jason is setting the world on fire with tickets selling out quickly for his stadium shows with Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett during his 2013 Night Train tour, including two shows at Boston's Fenway Park. Get that boy a wheelbarrow to haul in the cash!
Big & Rich's Humanitarian Award
Hardworking duo Big & Rich will receive the 2013 CRS Humanitarian Award during the upcoming Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. Their charitable endeavors date back a decade and are too numerous to mention individually, but their efforts have included support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Special Olympics. They've also staged concerts for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the 173rd Airborne Memorial Fund and have been actively involved in programs to help underprivileged children and their families in struggling countries like Uganda, Sudan, Haiti and Kenya.
The award will be presented on Feb. 27.
Sammy Kershaw's Bus Accident
Sammy Kershaw, his band and crew were involved in a recent traffic accident when their bus was struck by a passenger vehicle. Following a concert in Nocona, Texas, the bus was impacted at a high rate of speed leaving the vehicle inoperable. The driver of the vehicle that struck the bus was taken to the hospital. Kershaw and his entourage were badly shaken but sustained no serious injuries.
Dottie West Exhibit Opens in Nashville
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a special spotlight exhibit last week dedicated to the late Dottie West. Dottie West: Country Sunshine is set to run until May 2, 2013. Dottie was only 58 when she died following an automobile accident while traveling to a Grand Ole Opry appearance in 1991.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Chili Con Carne.