HOT DISH: Cruisin' for Country Music News

Serving the Dish on Julianne Hough, Chuck Wicks, Tim McGraw and Other Stars

(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

It's been a busy time, so let's begin with a quick look at some of the news that's been taking place in Music Town and elsewhere:

Julianne Hough will return to Dancing With the Stars this season. Her partner is Cody Linley, the 18-year-old actor who played the boyfriend of Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel series. Now that they've acknowledged that they're an item, Julianne and Chuck Wicks have been compared to George Jones and Tammy Wynette or Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. But those singing gals never danced off to Hollywood leaving their guys to go solo.

Tim McGraw is set to host the Music City Jam on March 4 during the Country Radio Seminar at the Nashville Convention Center. Fifteen years ago, Tim McGraw hit the stage at the CRS New Faces Show at the Opryland Hotel and virtually blew the crowd away with his performance of "Don't Take the Girl."

Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum lost so much luggage while performing 50 shows in 60 days, she has made the decision to start a clothing line and call it Hillary Scott's Stage Wear.

Vince Gill is featured on two tracks on a new album featuring classics by Little Feat, the rock band that was formed during the '70s. Others joining with Little Feat on the project include Dave Matthews, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley, Bob Seger, Jimmy Buffett and Emmylou Harris. Little Feat and Friends: Join the Band was released last week.

The Grundy County Corn Festival in Illinois had to find larger space to accommodate all of Bucky Covington's fans! He recently drew the festival's biggest crowd ever.

The CMA Songwriters Series set to return to Joe's Pub in New York City on Sept. 9 with special guest Josh Turner. Hosted by superwriter, Bob DiPiero, whose credits include Faith Hill's "Take Me As I Am" and George Strait's "Blue Clear Sky," the night will also feature Gary Burr, whose song catalog includes Patty Loveless' "I Try to Think About Elvis" and Ty Herndon's "What Mattered Most." And Sam and Annie Tate will also be there to perform the hits they've written, including Emerson Drive's "Moments" and Rodney Atkins' mega-smash "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)."

Chesney, Flatts and Swift Releasing Special CDs

The latest star with a deluxe CD package upcoming is Kenny Chesney. A limited edition version of his Lucky Old Sun album will be in stores on Oct. 14. Kenny wanted to have some something extra -- four live tracks recorded in Florida and Massachusetts.

Oct. 28 will be a red letter day for Rascal Flatts fans when the band releases its first greatest hits package. Their initial release will be a limited edition package containing new recordings of three Christmas songs as bonus tracks along with 13 hits such as the biggie, "Bless the Broken Road."

Did you know Taylor Swift too has a limited edition of her forthcoming sophomore CD Fearless? It will be released on Nov. 11, but you can go to her Web site to get the information on all the various packages available to fans and to preorder.

Country Stars Honor Bradley Family

The Bradleys -- the first family of country music -- were honored by Leadership Music at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza hotel last week in Nashville. The honorees included the late Owen Bradley, a legendary record producer and head of Decca/MCA Records, and his brother, Harold Bradley, another legend who played guitar on countless country classics and later became president of the Nashville chapter of the musicians union. Both Owen and Harold are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The family legacy continued with Owen's son, Jerry Bradley, who's now retired after a career as a record label and publishing executive, and Owen's daughter, Patsy Bradley, who recently retired after serving as an executive at BMI. Also honored was the beautiful Connie Bradley, Jerry's wife, who is senior vice president of ASCAP and one of the most beloved women on Music Row. Recently, Clay Bradley, son of Jerry, grandson of Owen was named vice president at BMI.

Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Milsap, Kellie Pickler, Gretchen Wilson and Mandy Barnett were among the stars who turned out to honor the Bradleys with music. More than 500 people attended the event.

They Honored Me!

Speechless! It left me speechless for every bit of a minute when Garth Brooks walked into the Source Foundation awards last week. I was stunned Garth was there, let alone there to praise me. Surrounded by my family -- both sons, daughters-in-law and six grandchildren -- and hoards of friends, I heard a roar from the back of the room as Garth walked in escorted by Charlie Monk. He went onstage to a standing ovation where he told the sold-out room about our friendship. My family is honored that Garth thinks of me as his "other mama."

I think it's really something that Garth flew out from Oklahoma and Bob Richards drove down from Indianapolis, where he's a top executive at WFMS radio. Thanks, guys.

Source is a nonprofit organization of women helping women in the music industry to unify -- women looking after women. The Source awards presentation is an annual event. Reba Hancock (in memoriam), Rose Drake, Helen Farmer , Lucy Coldsnow Smith, Virginia Team were also among this year's honorees.

I was thrilled to see ads in the program from my friends Keith Urban, Ricky and Sharon Skaggs, Brad Paisley, Garth, Bob Doyle, Country Weekly, WFMS, CMT and Kyle Lehning. Flowers came from Fletcher Foster, Allen Brown, Denise Stiff and 100 roses from Bill Lardie. I also received lovely notes and e-mails from Tony Conway and a bevy of others including Kay Smith and all the Source gals. Thanks and God bless each of you for years of friendship, fun and hard work.

A Visit With Jimmy Wayne

In my kitchen recently for CMT's Southern Fried Flicks was cuter-than-ever Jimmy Wayne, whose single, "Do You Believe Me Now," is already at No. 4 on Billboard's country singles chart and just keeps climbing. Nice and kind, the singing boy from Gastonia, N.C., at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was raised in foster homes. He attended 12 different schools in two years but ended up in Music City where he's on the verge of major stardom.

People magazine calls him sexy, and I won't argue with that. Jimmy's kept a huge diary itemized since he was 12 -- titled From the Pages of Jimmy Wayne. It sounds like a movie, to me.

More News From CMT

During a recent interview with CMT Insider, Kid Rock surmised, "I truly believe people like myself, in a position of entertainers in the limelight should keep their mouth shut on politics." According to the Kid, celeb endorsements can actually hurt politicians.'s Craig Shelburne attended the California State Fair in Sacramento to see Jessica Simpson perform. Onstage, he reports, Jessica said, "If you want to date me, you have to allow me to pass gas under the sheets." I'd wager that no female claiming to sing country ever uttered those words in concert.

A Final Word

Kimberly Williams-Paisley's guest appearance on CMT's Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith airs Sunday (Sept. 7) at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET. The movie is Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Piña Colada Cake.

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