(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.)
It is uncomfortably hot in Music City these days and nights. Do you know it's 20 degrees hotter in Nashville than in Tahiti? That's where country queen Carrie Underwood and her brand new bridegroom, Mike Fisher, are honeymooning. Several days after the ceremony, we were informed of the honeymoon locale. Like the secretive plans for the wedding, People magazine "owns" the news. They will issue photos of the event by the time you read this. I want the fans of country music to view Carrie as a bride in her Monique Lhuillier wedding gown which decorated the People cover. Carrie said the wedding dress was so big she had to remove it and put on a strapless number by the same designer to get her "boogie" on. (What is her boogie? I'm not sure I have one.) Her dog Ace wore a Swarovski crystal-encrusted pink tuxedo to the ceremony which caused the bridegroom to raise his voice asking, "Pink?" (Ace is a boy). Carrie's first media appearance will be on the Today Show July 30.
So while we are steaming hot in Music Town, Carrie and Mike Fisher are snorkeling off an island near Bora Bora called Tahiti. I hope they have lots of fun because Carrie has a whole lot of singing and traveling to do once she returns to the USA. I saw her itinerary and it's packed. Wonder if her bridegroom will travel the hillbilly highway with his bride? Wonder if the handsome Mr. Fisher will have an ice rink near their Nashville residence? I'm sure he will have ice near their Ontario home.
Brad and Aquapalooza
Some reports said 65,000 fans. Others reported as many as 70,000 fans. Whatever, there was a mob of country music lovers on Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas, on July 10. Over 7,000 boats were anchored in the water to see Brad Paisley. Fans would watch from their boat or use some form of floatation device. The show started early, so when it ended around 7 p.m., it was still daylight. People paddled back to their boat, raised the anchor and headed for the dock.
Brad's latest single, "Water," is his 13th consecutive No. 1 and fourth chart-topper from his latest album, American Saturday Night. Brad now has 17 No. 1 singles, one wife and two sons.
To Brad and wife Kim's friend, skater Scott Hamilton, I send my heartfelt prayers with lots of love.
Taking a Bite of the Big Apple
Heading back to Joe's Pub in the Big Apple, songwriter Bob DiPiero expects to be joined by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson and Bobby Pinson. Hey, New Yorkers, it's a Sept. 8 event for you -- country music on your turf taking a bite of the Big Apple.
Miranda and the Boys
The ever popular good-time singer/songwriter and award-winning country singer Miranda Lambert will headline CMT on Tour this fall. Her first reaction to this news was shock, followed by gratitude.
The nationwide tour includes special guest Eric Church and introduces Josh Kelley. It kicks off in New York on Sept. 29. Miranda already knows what it's like to bring it to the stage every night. She's had that Texas club experience since a young age and she's ready to give the fans more than their money's worth on this, CMT's ninth tour.
Eric had a couple of Top 10s from his sophomore album, Carolina, named for his home state (North Carolina). He recently wrapped his own sold-out headlining tour. Singer/songwriter Josh Kelley, an older brother of Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, has recently completed his first country album, and his first single is set to impact country radio Aug. 6. He is married to actress Katherine Heigl.
Blake Shelton News
Blake Shelton loves his fans and he knows how to show them that love, with a special preorder option for his latest Six Pak, exclusively on his newly remodeled website. From now until the album's Aug. 10 release, fans have the chance to purchase All About Tonight. And yes, he's singing one song with beautiful Miranda, titled "Draggin' the River." Lord, wonder what's in that water.
Oak Ridge Boys "Fancy Free"
On Sept. 19, 1981, "Fancy Free" by the Oak Ridge Boys was the No. 1 single on the Billboard chart. Since that time, the song has been broadcast over 116,600 hours or 4,861 days. That's more than 13 years of continuous airplay. The country/pop crossover hit was the title of their 1981 top-selling album. The song is just one of several masterpieces recorded by the incredible Oak Ridge Boys, including the ever-wonderful "Elvira" that can still bring an audience to its feet.
Last Man Standing
Million Dollar Quartet is a new Tony-nominated Broadway musical inspired by the 1956 jam session with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. Jerry Lee is the last man standing, since the others have gone on to Gloryland. He has a date with the music world on Sept. 7 when he releases his new CD, Mean Old Man. Some of the greatest music men and women on earth have come together to create the project. They're well-known names, like Ron Wood, Eric Clapton, James Burton, Mick Jagger, Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, Slash, Sheryl Crow, Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne, Gillian Welch, Solomon Bourke, Keith Richards, Ringo Starr, John Mayer, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Robbie Robertson and Nils Lofgren. Jerry Lee is the last man standing. I cannot believe I saw him perform live ... more than once.
Of course "Boys of Fall" is about football, and who else would have the balls to sing about football but Kenny Chesney. God and everybody knows Kenny loves football, but he wasn't tall enough and big enough to make the college team but that didn't stop the bighearted man from Luttrell, Tenn. Kenny still stops by college practices, and with a wink and a smile, he will join the big guys running, kicking and throwing that pigskin. He's a man with his heart wrapped around a football. He loves the game like he loved his grandma's fried chicken on Sunday after church. "Boys of Fall" is the first single from his forthcoming album, Hemingway's Whiskey. Didn't Hemingway drink all his whiskey? I swear, I thought he did.
Future Whistlers and Singers
Danny Gokey, Chuck Wicks and Josh Thompson have joined the mainstream making their way toward the big time. And when those country music crazed Kentucky fans lined the fairgrounds at Owensboro, Ky., and headlining act Josh Thompson dared to drive in on a blue Chevy pickup, why those fans went plumb ape. Josh was not afraid to give the fans two hours of music from his album Way Out Here. Fans hollered more and more. He sang some more. Josh finally made his way offstage where a fairground worker offered him a pair of night vision goggles and a four-wheeler. Never one to shy away from activity, Josh rode into the night through the Kentucky back country. Yep, Josh took a drive Way Out Here and into the night and felt right at home.
Zac Brown releases "You Get What You Want" Sept. 21. WOW!
Two Georgia boys making country music proud, and I'm talking about Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. Jason will bring his Wide Open tour back in the fall with pal Luke Bryan. Congratulations boys. WOW!
See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Mexican Style Chicken and Rice.