HOT DISH: George Jones’ Death Saddens Country Community

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HOT DISH: George Jones’ Death Saddens Country Community

Published on April 29, 2013 by CMT News

Hot Dish
(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.)

George Jones died Friday (April 26), and I know
I should have a lot of things to write about this wonderful man and his incredible career.

But the truth is that I
burst into tears when I heard the news, and I’m still in shock. Those of you who know me are aware that Jones was my favorite
singer, and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is my favorite song.

Please allow me to collect my thoughts and dry my eyes.
My love and prayers go out to his wife Nancy and all of his family. It’s a sad time for country music and country fans, and
I’ll write more in my column next week.

In the meantime, here’s the column I intended to run this week.

Willie
Nelson Celebrates 80th Birthday

Friends and neighbors, lovers and likers: What a thrill to read about my friend
Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday celebration. Willie never has been one to do a small celebration.
If you’re gonna do it, do it up right with big-time friends who can pick and sing.

One birthday party isn’t enough
for Willie, either. He was in Nashville recently for an appearance on CMT
Hot 20 Countdown
and to tape CMT Crossroads: Willie Nelson Friends From Third Man Records. Third Man
Records is Jack White’s studio complex, and he introduced the show. As for the friends, they were some of the best — Sheryl
Crow
, Jamey Johnson, Norah
Jones
, Ashley Monroe, Leon Russell and Neil Young. The unforgettable CMT
Crossroads
episode is slated to air in late June.

Willie says his birthday is Monday (April 29), although most
reference books list it as April 30. As it turns out, he was born just a few minutes before midnight — which seems like an
appropriate time for him to make his very first appearance anywhere.

Willie dearly loves his home state of Texas, and
he was saddened when he heard about the recent explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. Some 14 people were killed
in the April 17 accident, including 12 firefighters from five fire departments. The explosion destroyed part of the small
town located just down the road from Abbott, Texas, where Willie grew up.

“West is like our backyard,” Willie told
CMT. “It’s where I grew up. I rode my bike from Abbott to West and back all the time on that road where all this stuff happened.”

He
had already planned to celebrate his birthday with a Sunday (April 28) concert near Austin, so he decided to turn the show
into a benefit for the West Fire Department.

With a six-decade career, Willie has a catalog of more than 200 albums
to his credit and is a seven-time Grammy winner. He brought pop and country together by writing unforgettable songs like “Crazy”
by Patsy Cline and “Hello Walls” by Faron Young. His
continued use of the phrase “Outlaw music” was a result of his first album on Columbia Records in 1975 titled Red Headed
Stranger
. After years of relative obscurity, the album catapulted his success around the world.

And at age 80,
he’s still hot.

Brad Paisley Paints for Haiti Mission
Brad Paisley is
a famous artist in the music world, but he used another artistic talent recently to raise money for Life Beyond, a nonprofit
medical mission assisting needy residents in Haiti. During a fundraiser in Franklin, Tenn., Brad stood off to the side and
painted a landscape that was auctioned for $15,000. The painting titled Same Moon showed the Nashville skyline on one
side and Haiti on the other.

Life Beyond, which focuses on basic human needs such as health care, clean water and food,
evolved from the mission work of Nashville surgeon Dr. David Vanderpool and his family. He and his wife are selling their
home and belongings to move to Haiti to work.

Water filtration systems, backed by Brad and his wife, actress Kimberly
Williams-Paisley, now filter approximately 50,000 gallons a day. They’ve visited Haiti to see Life Beyond’s work. Dr. Vanderpool
says of the Paisleys, “They have shown enormous generosity.”

Brad is one of the nicest young men in all of show biz.
When he called me last week, I wept. Many of you are aware that I’ve been sick and hospitalized. Finally, I’m home and I expect
Brad to come and see me soon. It’s precious to have a friend like Brad who never forgets.

Look for Brad on the season
finale of ABC’s Nashville along with Kimberly in her recurring role. The show airs May 22.

Kenny Chesney,
Lady Antebellum Heading to the Big Apple

Kenny Chesney and Lady
Antebellum
are heading to the Big Apple to launch the release of their new albums.

Kenny is up first with Tuesday’s
(April 30) arrival of Life on a Rock. He’ll start the day off with a performance on Good Morning America before
appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. While he’s in town, he’ll perform Wednesday at the Highline Ballroom for
an invitation-only concert for Sirius XM satellite radio to air Saturday (May 4).

Lady A’s Golden will be released
on May 7, and they’ll be performing that night at the McKittrick Hotel. The performance will benefit Musicians on Call, which
brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. While in New York City, the members of
Lady A are planning to visit a pediatric hospital.

See the Hot Dish recipe of the week: A
Family Chow
.

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