HOT DISH: Christmas Memories From Charlie Daniels

And News From Brad Paisley,Taylor Swift and Other Country 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

My Favorite Christmas Card

I loved each and every Christmas card I received this year. But I did get one that may be my all-time favorite. It was an email card from the great Charlie Daniels. Picture this: Charlie as the real Santa Claus reading "The Night Before Christmas." His deep voice almost roared as he read "Twas the night before Christmas ..." As he completed my favorite Christmas poem, I was mesmerized when Charlie added his final line that went something like this: "We all know 'The Night Before Christmas' is a good poem, but we really know that Christmas is about the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."

Another unforgettable card was from Dierks and Cassidy Bentley. It pictured their beautiful daughters.

My Paisley Pals

Country icon Brad Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have signed on to support the nonprofit organization Live Beyond ... Thirst, both financially and as volunteers. Led by Dr. David and Laurie Vanderpool, the organization provides clean water for households throughout Thomazeau, Haiti. They hope to establish 100 clean water sites as a foundation for improved health within the community and for disease prevention. It was Kimberly who went to Haiti and had her eyes opened to the plight of thousands of people, mothers, fathers, children. Said Kim, "With Live Beyond ... Thirst, we can help give them a basic human necessity that they've never had -- clean water. I want to show them they are not forgotten."

Swift -- A Highest Paid Female

Taylor Swift is the second-highest-paid woman in music according to the latest Forbes magazine report. She grossed $57 million between May 2011 and May 2012 and is the only country star in the Top 10 list. Barely edging out Swift for first place is Britney Spears with $58 million followed by Rihanna in third place with $53 million.

Alive at the Bluebird

January 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Alive at the Bluebird, a fundraising effort that helps Alive Hospice provide hospice care and grief support in Middle Tennessee. More than 80 songwriters are joining in at the Bluebird starting Jan. 2 with Lari White, Lionel Cartwright and Tom Douglas. Others set to participate during the month include Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Kim Carnes, Matraca Berg, Lori McKenna, Jonathan Edwards, Marc Beeson, Bob DiPiero and a bunch more of Nashville's finest.

Meet JJ Lawhorn

Fans, it's time you met 19-year old JJ Lawhorn. The Virginia native was discovered at age 15 after posting a Justin Moore cover song on YouTube. His current single is "You Can Tell a Man by His Truck" on the Average Joe's label. The longhaired cutie has wrapped a video, and he's been out touring with Colt Ford.

Kenny Rogers Still Giving

Kenny Rogers teamed with bergenPAC and the Englewood Fire Department in Englewood, N.J., this past holiday season to collect toys and help make Christmas brighter for Bergen County children in need and victims of Hurricane Sandy. Busy Kenny in the midst of his holiday performance took time to stop by the Englewood Fire Department where he met all the firemen and wished them a Merry Christmas.

Keith Urban -- What a Star!!

Singer-songwriter-musician Keith Urban, one of the nicest, kindest and most talented men I know, and his co-writer Monty Powell received nominations for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Awards for best original song as the co-writers of "For You" from Act of Valor. A blend of real-world heroism and original filmmaking, the movie stars a group of active-duty US Navy SEALS depicting a real life operation. "The most rewarding gift to me as a songwriter is knowing the song has made a connection," said Keith.

Tim McGraw Expecting Music in February

Two Lanes of Freedom by Tim McGraw will be in stores Feb. 5. It's Tim's first album for Big Machine Records. Says Tim, "I feel I've progressed in my work as I've always strived to get better." The 13th song on the album is "Highway Don't Care" featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.

Welcome Dr. Sanjay Gupta

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be the featured speaker at Country Radio Seminar on March 1. An Emmy winner, Gupta is chief medical correspondent for CNN and plays an integral role in reporting health and medical news on the network. Says Gupta, "Living longer has very little to do with our genes and everything to do with our lifestyle. I've traveled the globe collecting clues from people who live the longest. I'm looking forward to joining the country music community and sharing that formula so we can all have a longer, healthier life."

I've watched the doctor ever since he joined CNN. Anderson Cooper is the only reporter I watch more on CNN.


The Craven Country Jamboree has announced the Dixie Chicks will replace Lady Antebellum as headliners for the Canadian festival on July 13. They knew they had to find something special when the Lady A's had to cancel their summer dates due to Hillary Scott's pregnancy.

Dwight Yoakam's critically acclaimed 3 Pears spent eight weeks in a row at No. 1 on the Americana chart and was named a best album of 2012 by NPR, Rolling Stone and a slew of others. Dwight made a killer record.

Clive Davis promises another biggie with his pre-Grammy Awards gala. This time he will honor Epic Records' CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on the eve of the 55th awards. Davis, one of the all-time legendary music execs, signed Janis Joplin, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Earth Wind & Fire, Patti Smith, Barry Manilow and Whitney Houston.

Jake Owen's record-breaking and headlining CMT on Tour wound up in Vero Beach, Fla., in mid-December where Owen raised $125,000 for children's charities. Jake set the record for the CMT Tour's most consecutive sold-out shows. Since releasing his chart-topping album Barefoot Blue Jean Night, Owen has emerged as one of country music's leading vocalists. The album delivered three consecutive No. 1 singles.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id="1699488"]Beef Tips.[/news]

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