(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.)
My son, Billy, and I prepared pork ribs, pinto beans, coleslaw, sweet potatoes and peach cobbler. Jamey Johnson was the guest in my kitchen, and Alison Krauss was back by popular demand.
I was planning to prepare baked beans, but Alison's food request was pinto beans, so that's what I cooked for her. She also informed me that Jamey loves sweet potatoes with pecans, brown sugar, flour and coconut mixed and strewn over the top.
Of course, my two great friends had blown the nation away a few weeks ago with their performance of "Make the World Go Away" on Late Show With David Letterman. If you've been paying attention like you should, then you know that Jamey's album, Living for a Song, features songs written by the late Hank Cochran. And if you're totally cool, then you know that Rolling Stone magazine named the album a top record of the year, along with Kellie Pickler's 100 Proof, Lionel Richie's Tuskegee, J.B. & the Moonshine Band's Beer for Breakfast and Easton Corbin's All Over the Road.
"The best country has is Jamey Johnson," Bobby Bare told me when I ran into him recently. That's basically what Rolling Stone said, and I'm not gonna argue with that!
I was happy to have Jamey and Alison in my kitchen. He had asked her to record a duet version of "Make the World Go Away" and made it the first song on the tribute album. Other fans and friends who wanted to perform on the record included Bare, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Leon Russell, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Ray Price, Asleep at the Wheel, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Ronnie Dunn, Lee Ann Womack, Kris Kristofferson and even a smidgen of Cochran himself. It's a mighty fine record. I love it. I really want all you fans to hear this marvelous record.
Did I tell you Jamey's tribute album to Hank is nominated for a Grammy for best country album? Will he attend the awards in February? He says he may slip in and sit on the back row. He never tries to be loud and draw attention to himself.
Alison and Don Williams also have a Grammy nomination for best country duo/group performance for "I Just Come Here for the Music."
As a final word on the Grammys, thanks to the many, many friends who emailed, texted and called me to offer their congratulations on the Grascals' nomination. Life Finds a Way is up for best bluegrass album. As most of you know, my son, Terry Smith, is a member of the Grascals.
Lady Antebellum will be welcoming their first Baby A next year. Vocalist Hillary Scott and drummer hubby Chris Tyrrell are expecting. Hillary's mama, singer Linda Davis, is thrilled to death.
Listen, isn't this band booked all over Europe and Australia soon? I'm sure Hilary's hubby, as well as bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, will watch after her.
And Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and hubby Justin Miller named their son Magnus Hamilton Miller. He was born Dec. 6.
Girls and Money
Shania Twain's debut at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas grossed $1.1 million for two sold-out shows with 8,096 in attendance. Not a bad opening night.
Our very own Carrie Underwood sold $642,508 in tickets in Newark, N.J., and raked in $550,278 in Philadelphia, $531,922 in Seattle and $530,212 in Pittsburgh.
I don't know about you, but I can recall when women were just known as "girl singers." We have come a long way, baby.
Kenny Chesney Is Still Hot When It's Cold
Kenny Chesney holds the record for the most sold-out concerts in any genre at Gillette Stadium near Boston, and the trend is continuing during next year's No Shoes Nation tour. After selling out his Aug. 24 show, he added an extra date and sold out the Aug. 23 concert, too.
Kenny's tour begins March 16 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., and is scheduled to conclude at Gillette Stadium.
When tickets went on sale for his show at Target Field in Minneapolis, it was 31 degrees outside when fans picked up 40,000 tickets. Kenny's hot -- even when it's cold.
Blake Shelton Adds to Network's Success
Blake Shelton and The Voice have carried the once-lagging NBC to the top. Even The New York Times noted the show has almost single-handedly boosted NBC from worst to first.
The current season of The Voice wraps up Tuesday (Dec. 18) with a new edition starting in March with Blake and Adam Levine returning alongside new coaches Shakira and Usher.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Go to Vegas
Tim McGraw and wife Faith Hill kicked off their concert engagement at the Venetian in Las Vegas with standing ovations and stellar reviews.
Tim wore his hat and black suit, changing into a gray suit, while Faith changed clothes four times. They sang their hits, including their duets and made duets out of some of their solo hits. Tim pays tribute to the Eagles, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Charlie Rich, Rush and Led Zeppelin while Faith's performance included tributes to Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples, Tammy Wynette and Elvis Presley.
One of my longtime friends, Robert Deaton, produces the show.
Have you seen Brad Paisley's "Southern Comfort Zone" video?" Brad flew more than 10,000 miles to Africa, France and elsewhere before returning back to the good ol' U.S.A., where he tried to crank his tractor.
Taylor Swift's album, Red, has been certified triple platinum for shipments of 3 million copies. Ms. Swift has now sold more than 26 million albums. Not bad for a country singer who just turned 23 on Thursday (Dec. 13).
Watch for Taylor and Jason Aldean when they perform during this year's New Year's Rockin' Eve special on ABC. Taylor will be in New York's Time Square, and Jason will be in Los Angeles.
"Imagine That," Don Williams' new video with Keith Urban, is so wonderful, I wept. It's been many songs and more moons ago since I saw a video of a song that great. Watch for it.
Dinner With the "Pine-Sol Lady"
The wonderful Diane Amos, better known as "the Pine-Sol lady" on the TV commercials, came to Nashville and wanted to meet me. Of course, I wanted to meet her, too.
The night she arrived, we went to the Germantown neighborhood where a new eatery called Silo is located. It's a real happening place with a varied menu. Those folks raise their own veggies and serve fresh seafood.
The restaurant owners followed us to the valet parking area and took a photo of yours truly for their wall -- or so they said. I must sneak back there to see if they used the picture.
Hey, CMT, want my picture for your wall? Don't you know I hang out with all the big shots?
Sending Sympathy to James King and Family
My sons and I send heartfelt sympathy to bluegrass singer-guitarist James King, whose 18-year-old daughter Shelby Ann was killed last week in a one-car accident in Virginia.
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Cheese Vegetable Chowder.