HOT DISH: Dolly Parton Plans Rhinestone-Studded Tribute to Porter Wagoner

The Stars Come Out for Country Radio Seminar, and Everybody's Talking About the ACMs

(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

I hear the great Dolly Parton plans to do a musical tribute to her former singing partner, the late Porter Wagoner. Dolly will have her entire band dress in Wagonmaster costumes like Porter's band always wore -- matching colorful suits with wagon wheels and cacti on the jackets that are all trimmed with rhinestones and shiny zircons. After Nudie the Rodeo Tailor died, Manuel created all of Porter's stage wear, so I wouldn't be surprised if he serves as tailor for the entire group.

I understand Dolly also plans to take Don Warden from backstage, where he's assisted her all these years, and put him back onstage behind his steel guitar -- the instrument he played with Porter from 1953 on all his personal appearances, television shows and Grand Ole Opry performances until Porter and Dolly split in 1974. For the past 34 years, Warden has worked as Dolly's right-hand assistant in most of her business decisions.

During its prime, Porter's syndicated TV show was seen in 100 markets with an estimated 3.5 million viewers weekly. With dancing fiddler Mac Magaha, electric banjo pioneer Buck Trent, funnyman Speck Rhodes and guitarist George McCormick, you had a stage filled with great entertainment. I expect Dolly will emulate all of this during her tribute. I'll also bet she'll close the show with the Grammy-winning song she wrote for Porter as her legendary farewell, "I Will Always Love You."

Star Power Aplenty at Country Radio Seminar

There were plenty of stories coming out of the 39th annual Country Radio Seminar that ended Friday (March 7) in Nashville.

Following his Tuesday (March 4) morning performance on The Today Show, Alan Jackson flew from New York City to Nashville to sing when his old friend, Bobby Kraig, was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Kraig, who formerly headed the radio promotion department at Arista Nashville, was responsible for getting stations to play Alan's records in the beginning of his career.

After the banquet for this year's Country DJ Hall of Fame and Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees, the party moved from the Nashville Convention Center to Universal South's bash at the Union Station Hotel. Hosted by Universal South prez Mark Wright and senior VP Fletcher Foster, no time was wasted in bringing out newcomer Randy Houser, a newcomer whose vocals have been compared to those of Ronnie Dunn. Working like clockwork, Jennifer Hanson performed and was followed by Shooter Jennings, Phil Vassar and Joe Nichols. Each artist recognized one of the new DJ or Radio Hall of Fame inductees, including Jaye Albright, Bill Cody, Bobby Kraig, Michael Owens and Bob Robbins.

Speaking of Michael Owens, there were tears in his eyes when he was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. He's the son of two late, great country legends -- Buck Owens and Bonnie Owens.

Garth Brooks not only said howdy at CRS, he sang four songs, including "Friends in Low Places" and "The Dance," with a full-blown band following his scheduled Q&A session.

One of the best parties at CRS is always the Sony BMG show on the General Jackson showboat. Hosted by Joe Galante and team, the radio folks saw royal entertainment by newcomers Jypsi and Chuck Wicks followed by Kellie Pickler, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Sara Evans. Galante also announced that they've signed Craig Morgan to a new record deal.

CRS has come a long way from the old DJ Convention in Nashville where very little business ever actually got accomplished. Back then, it was mostly hung-over men bragging about how much booze they consumed the night before. Many a time, a guy would wake up and claim he did not know the woman's name sleeping beside him or how she got there. If you buy that last part, I've got a 13-year-old limping Nissan I'll trade you for a 2008 Escalade.

Did You Know?

Jo Dee Messina's new single, "I'm Done," was produced by none other than Rascal Flatts bassist Jay DeMarcus.

Willie Nelson told Rolling Stone that Hillary Clinton is a friend of his and says he admires Barack Obama's ideas. "But whoever the Democrat happens to be, I'll have to be for 'em," said the red-headed Texan.

Kid Rock's attorney appeared in a Georgia court to enter a plea of not guilty to a simple battery charge. The singer and five members of his entourage were arrested in October on a misdemeanor charge after a fight broke out in an Atlanta-area Waffle House where they stopped after a performance.

Mindy McCready Surfaces in Nashville

Was Mindy McCready really sipping wine recently at Ted's Montana Grill in Nashville? I hear Mindy demanded the bartender change the television set to her segment on Access Hollywood. Sources say the troubled Mindy was amused at herself but got choked up. Sounds like she may be asking for trouble again. Surely the world knows Mindy spent several months in jail in 2007. And, according to the news, the former hit singer is still on probation for a conviction surrounding a drug charge.

Everybody's Talking About ACM Nominations

When Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood announced the nominations for this year's Academy of Country Music Awards, he got four mentions and she got only one. Rodney Atkins and Miranda Lambert performed live during Tuesday's (March 4) broadcast on CBS-TV, and he picked up an incredible six nominations while she received three.

As always, when any nominations are announced, people start talking around Nashville's Music Row. Here are some of the comments heard around town at the watering holes where music industry plastic keeps the booze flowing:

"Kenny Chesney got 11 noms? Give me a Coors. Nobody ever got 11 before, did they?"

"Man, Kenny's hot. Besides he cuts great songs. Unlike this crazy weather -- 72 yesterday and 22 today -- you can count on Kenny to be consistent."

"Hell, he was nominated in every category except female vocalist and duo. Ha-ha."

"Give me another beer, and tell me why Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were not nominated."

"I'm shocked at Rodney Atkins getting six."

"When the votes are counted, Brad will be entertainer of the year."

"You're crazy, man. It's gonna be Keith Urban. People in Vegas like movie stars -- and his wife, Nicole Kidman, is one of the best."

"Both of you are nuts. Kenny will take the statue home for the zillionth time."

That's what others were saying, but I have to admit that even I'm confused and have to wonder why Carrie Underwood received just one ACM nomination. With all of her success, how did she miss getting other nominations? Oops! There I go again --asking questions that no one has an answer for because it doesn't make any more sense than the presidential election.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Fire Hall Delight.

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