Connie Smith
Connie Smith
Touring old churches and cathedrals, long drives through the countryside and teaming up in the kitchen to cook are just a few things Connie Smith and Marty Stuart enjoy outside their Country Music careers.

The two will return to Marty's hometown later this month when "The Marty Stuart Show" comes to the historic Ellis Theater to tape the final episode of its fifth season on RFD-TV.

Connie, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, will make a special guest appearance on the show, set for June 28 at 8 p.m.

She always looks forward to her and Marty's visits back to his hometown.

A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1965, Connie came to Nashville a year earlier.

"I was only 23," she said.

Born in Elkhart, Ind., Connie spent her early life in West Virginia and later in southern Ohio.

Growing up in a large family, she had to "talk and sing loudly," she said, just to be heard when everyone was together.

She also learned "to eat fast" as the family included nine boys!

Outside of her career, the busy grandmother of eight enjoys a number of pastimes, starting with cooking.

"I make banana bread every morning for breakfast," she said, noting that it is one of Marty's favorites.

She seldom uses a recipe, often relying on her own creativity.

In years past, Connie liked to bake homemade breads but now shies away from them.

"Neither of us need it," she said.

A typical summer meal for her and Marty would be a tuna salad for lunch and minute steak, lima beans and a fresh fruit salad at dinner.

Marty is no stranger in the kitchen either as his specialties are a chicken corn soup and a chili with sirloin steak, a recipe given to him by Johnny Cash.

Often at mealtime, Marty mans the grill while his wife prepares the side dishes in the kitchen.

The couple enjoys spending time together. They recently made a trip to the Gulf Coast just for seafood.

"Then we came back home," Connie said.

She and Marty like to visit beautiful churches and cathedrals. They also enjoy antiquing.

Sometimes they just like to ride through the countryside sharing new music that each has found.

"We love the country," Connie said. "We love being outside. I grew up in the country."

Because of her roots, Connie still enjoys watching the plants and flowers grow in her yard.

"I love to watch God talk through His nature," she said.

The Philadelphia and Neshoba County Arts Council and RFD-TV are co-hosting the June 28 event at the Ellis. Along with the concert, film crews will be working around the city and county earlier in the week to capture local folks and local flavor.  

Also appearing with Stuart and his band The Fabulous Superlatives will be regular guest stars from the TV show series: steel guitar legend Gary Carter; banjo virtuoso and humorist Leroy Troy. Master of ceremonies for the evening will be noted WSM-AM DJ and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs. 

Tickets are $50 and are available at The Depot, 256 W. Beacon St. For more information call 601-656-1000 or toll free 877-752-2643.

Volunteers in the CDP office, which is assisting with the Ellis event, shared a couple of recipes with our readers.



Chocolate Buttercream Cake

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups Hershey's Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Pour batter in two 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When cool, spread with icing. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top of the cake and add chocolate chips and toasted pecans.

Icing

4 sticks butter, softened

2 pounds confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Mix together all ingredients and stir until creamy. Spread on cake.



Italian Spinach

10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach (cook per instructions on box and drain all water by putting it through a strainer)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

Over medium heat, saute' garlic in olive oil. Add spices, spinach and one tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Turn spinach until heated through. Add eggs and continue to turn frequently. Cook until eggs are firm, not dry. Add bacon and stir. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.