(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.)
By the time this column appears Monday morning (April 8), McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas will be packed with country artists, musicians and industry execs who are anxious to return to Nashville following Sunday night's Academy of Country Music Awards show.
Of course, lots of stars and fans are staying an extra night in Vegas to join Tim McGraw at a TV taping for a concert special.
Among those extending their stay are Tim's wife Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, John Fogerty, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. Ne-Yo, Nelly and Pitbull will also be there to perform on ACM Presents: Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night, which airs May 19 on CBS.
As for the ACM Awards show, I hope you tuned in early enough to see Blake Shelton open the show with Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, the Pistol Annies and one of my favorite guitar players --and people -- Brad Paisley. Blake called them all together to help him perform "Boys 'Round Here" the second single from his new album Based on a True Story .... The album just debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's country chart.
Kenny Chesney Gears Up for Release of New Album
Kenny Chesney previewed music from his new album, Life on a Rock, during a private party last week at a Nashville music venue. Playing the tracks from a laptop computer, Kenny talked about the songs and answered a few questions. One of the new songs, "Coconut Tree," is a duet with the great Willie Nelson.
Willie and the Wailers (the late Bob Marley's band) will join Kenny in New York City for an invitation-only concert at the Highline Ballroom on May 1. The show will be recorded for a Sirius XM satellite radio special premiering May 4.
Life on a Rock will be released April 30. Meanwhile, Kenny's tour visits Orange Beach, Ala., on Thursday (April 11) and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday (April 13).
Celebrity Waiters and Nashville Sightings
If you saw Darius Rucker and Kix Brooks waiting tables last week in Nashville, don't worry about their financial situation. They were at the Palm restaurant to help support the Waiting for Wishes dinner co-hosted by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts and Kevin Carter, retired NFL player and former Tennessee Titan.
Newcomer Kristen Kelly, Nashville TV star Charles Esten and several other Titans attended the event that raises money for the Kevin Carter Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Darius reportedly helped raise an additional $1,000 for the charities by singing an impromptu arrangement of "Come Fly With Me."
Esten, who appears in Rascal Flatts' "Changed" music video, and other members of the Nashville cast have been popping up unexpectedly around town. During last week's Tin Pan South songwriters festival, Esten and fellow stars Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and others made a surprise appearance at 3rd & Lindsley during a showcase featuring Nashville musical contributors Buddy Miller and Colin Linden.
Wynonna Exits Dancing With the Stars
Even though Wynonna's fans were disappointed she was eliminated from the Dancing With the Stars competition last week, we're happy that she and her husband Cactus Moser are able to celebrate an even more important victory. After having his leg amputated last year following a motorcycle accident, Cactus has been fitted with a prosthetic leg and is walking again.
"It freaked me out because I've seen him in a wheelchair and using a walker, and he just walked towards me," she told People magazine. "And I was like, 'Wow.' I was so stunned. I saw the wreck, I saw him lose the leg."
Wynonna did a great job on Dancing With the Stars. She's a great dancer and an even better singer. Country music is very proud of you, Wy. You did an excellent job.
We'll still be supporting Kellie Pickler as she continues as a contestant on the TV series.
Trace Adkins Runs With All-Star Celebrity Apprentice
When Trace Adkins reunited with Donald Trump for NBC's All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, he hit the ground running. On last week's episode, both teams were responsible for creating art pieces for a charity auction. Trace kept things simple by combining two things dear to his heart -- music and his charity, the American Red Cross.
He donated a hand-painted black Taylor guitar -- emblazoned with the symbol of the American Red Cross -- to the Hard Rock Café chain as a permanent part of its world-famous memorabilia collection. In return, the Hard Rock made a generous donation to the American Red Cross on his behalf.
See the Hot Dish recipe of the week: Baked Chicken.