HOT DISH: Kid Rock Is My Hero!

He Pays a Heartfelt Tribute to Nashville During CMT Music Awards

(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

Kid Rock is my hero! After hosting last week's CMT Music Awards in Nashville, he closed the show with a tribute to our town. Thanks, Kid, for inviting folks from around the globe to come to Nashville.

"This is an incredible town, a city with amazing music [and] amazing people," he said.

He also provided a final message that the locals should take to heart.

"As a music lover, if it looks good, you'll see it," he said. "If it sounds good, you'll hear it. If it's marketed right, you'll buy it. But if it's real, you'll feel it."

Kid Rock opened the awards show with "Cowboy" and Waylon Jennings' "Theme From The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" with guest vocals by Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Trace Adkins, Randy Houser, Zac Brown, Jamey Johnson and Hank Williams Jr. The first song was a tad wild for my taste, but people seemed to like it a lot.

Faith Hill and Taylor Swift presented the group video award to Lady Antebellum for "Need You Now."

Kellie Pickler and NFL player Terrell Owens announced that the duo video award went to Brooks & Dunn for "Indian Summer." The trophy was accepted by Kix Brooks since nobody knew the exact whereabouts of his almost-former partner, Ronnie Dunn. He was not in the building, that's for sure.

The Zac Brown Band presented the wildly happy Luke Bryan with the USA Today breakthrough video honor for "Do I." Luke was so excited, he took off his coat and threw it to the audience -- cell phone and all.

It just had to be! The collaborative video award went to Blake Shelton with Trace Adkins for "Hillbilly Bone."

The male video distinction went to Keith Urban for "'Til Summer Comes Around," and the female video honor was presented to the ever-so-wonderful Miranda Lambert for "White Liar."

Let me say right here, I'd have preferred to see Urban play the guitar alone, but when he and John Mayer performed their duet version of Keith's "Hit the Ground Runnin'," I lost my breath. They were so freaking great. Also, Miranda Lambert is a real down-home singing machine. In my opinion, she was the finest female singer of the evening.

Tim McGraw's performance of "Southern Voice" was flawless. He sang so great. And I loved Jamey Johnson's song, "Macon," even though a Comcast employee was working on the cable line on the utility pole beside my driveway and kept cutting off the TV signal while Jamey was singing.

LeAnn Rimes sang an updated version of John Anderson's "Swingin'" while John played guitar. Friends, if you ever get a chance to see the great John Anderson sing his smash hit, please listen. It's a shame he didn't sing a verse on the show.

Carrie Underwood's video of "Temporary Home" was named CMT performance of the year. She also won the biggest award of the night -- video of the year -- for "Cowboy Casanova."

BR549's Chuck Mead's Million Dollar Success

I always liked BR549, the band that was named for the fictional used car lot the late Junior Samples used to promote in comedy bits on Hee Haw. It's a shame that nothing similar to Hee Haw is on the air these days.

BR549 member Chuck Mead's hat, Western suits and matching boots reminded me of the look favored by the late Hank Williams, Hank Snow and Carl Smith during their prime. BR549 broke up some time back, and the tall, handsome Chuck embarked on a solo career. He still resides in Nashville with his lovely wife, Brenda Holladay. These days, he's spending a lot of time in New York City as the musical director of Million Dollar Quartet, the Broadway production that was nominated for best musical at Sunday night's (June 13) Tony Awards.

Million Dollar Quartet is based on an informal jam session that happened on Dec. 4, 1956, when Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis gathered at Sam Phillips' Sun Studio in Memphis. You're probably familiar with the famous photo of Johnny, Carl and Jerry Lee gathering around Elvis as he played the piano.

Everybody in Nashville is so proud of Chuck's latest accomplishment. If you happen to be in the Big Apple anytime soon, you need to check out the Broadway production.

Chuck Wicks Visits My Kitchen

One of country music's most handsome and available dudes, Chuck Wicks, came to my kitchen recently. The Delaware native has a brand new song, "Hold That Thought," that just hit the airwaves. I've heard it described as a sultry, sexy, blue-eyed soul groove that doesn't let up for an instant. At first, I thought they were describing the singer instead of the song. For sure and for certain, Chuck is all the above. "Hold That Thought" is a nibble of what's to come on Chuck's next album that's scheduled to be released this fall. Chuck teamed up with actress Julia Jones for his steamy music video of "Hold That Thought." Don't miss that!

Handsome Chuck has become one of country's hottest young talents over the past couple of years. His debut album, Starting Now, included the smash hit, "Stealing Cinderella," which he co-wrote. He also co-wrote songs for his upcoming album. Chuck says songwriting is one of his favorite "jobs" in country music.

In 2008, the former potato farmer opened shows for superstar Brad Paisley, playing before 750,000 fans during the tour. I'm betting on Chuck to hit the next level of stardom very soon. He's got the great vocals and great looks.

Did I love Chuck being in the kitchen? Has a cat got a tail? Did he show me his scraped arms and legs after he fell last week while playing softball at the CMA Music Festival? Did he kiss me right in the mouth? You're dadgum right, he did.

Carrie Underwood's Heart Is Happy

The beautiful and sexy Carrie Underwood "dressed down" when she put on her shorts, cap and Skechers shoes and picked up a Louisville Slugger bat and knocked the daylights out of the ball at the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge during the CMA Music Festival.

The winner of the ACM's entertainer of the year award for two years in a row, Carrie has been spending a lot of time with her fiancé, hockey player Mike Fisher. In talking to music writer Alanna Nash for a USA Weekend article about where life is taking her, Carrie remarked, "It makes my heart happy."

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Spinach Salad.

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