Country music vocalist Kimberly Shlapman is typically in the spotlight on stage singing in a little band called Little Big Town. In addition to cooking up chart-topping hits, the Grammy Award-winner showcases her talents in the kitchen hosting her own cooking show Kimberly’s Simply Southern on the Great American Country Channel. Now, Kimberly is allowing fans to have her recipes at their fingertips with the release of her very first cookbook Oh Gussie! Cooking and Visiting in Kimberly’s Southern Kitchen. The book hit store shelves just two days ago, and last night Kimberly held one of a few select book signings at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ. Country Fried Media was on hand for an exclusive look at Kimberly cooking up some special memories with fans.
Kimberly arrived at Bookends looking as beautiful as ever. Fans were already lined up, cookbooks and cameras in hand, to meet the country-chef superstar. She proceeded to sign books (as well as some Little Big Town memorabilia) and take pictures with all in attendance. All too often, she was regaled with stories about how much her music and cooking meant to them and had inspired them. She would listen intently, and it was clear that it meant the world to her to hear her fans share their intimate memories. One fan asked where the title of the book came from. “Oh, it’s just something I say all the time,” Kimberly stated. “I’m always sayin’, ‘Oh, Gussie!'”
One of the highlight moments of the signing occurred when a young fan walked up to Kimberly to get her book signed. She said, “This is my grandmother, and her name is actually Gussie.” Kimberly was floored. She got up from behind her table and walked over to give the woman a big hug. “I’m from Georgia,” the woman said. “My husband was in the military, and we moved to Brooklyn [New York]. But I grew up on bluegrass, gospel, and country music.” She also said, “My granddaughter was born in Brooklyn, lives in Brooklyn, and she’s a stone country fan!”
After the signing, Kimberly strolled up to the Bookends counter and purchased her very own copy of her very own book. “I need to buy one,” she said. “I don’t have one yet!”
The cookbook is a gorgeous hardbound collection of recipes inspired by Kimberly’s very own kitchen. The book was published by William Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, and can be purchased via Amazon.com and at local bookstores everywhere. Kimberly wrote the book along with best-selling cookbook author and James Beard Award-winner Martha Foose. The book is about food on the surface, but it truly dives deep into Kimberly’s life and includes special photos celebrating her love for food, friends, family, and music. We’ve already gotten busy in our Country Fried kitchen trying out some of Kimberly’s cuisine. So far, our favorites are the Manly Man Brunswick Stew, Rubbed Rib-Eye Steak, Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip, Blueberry Cornbread Cupcakes, and, of course, the Simply Southern Fried Chicken.
“I’ve been cooking as long as I’ve been singing, which is simply as long as I can remember. Singing in church and sitting counter side helping my mama and grandmothers cook taught me a lot about life. Those ladies were at the door of anyone who had a birth or death in their family, got a promotion, lost a job, or just broke a bone – with some kind of casserole or cake in hand and with me and my little sister in tow. Aside from learning to cook, I learned how important it is to share time in the kitchen with the people you love, to nourish your family, and to foster friendships. Our families’ kitchens were where I found my passion and my voice.” – Kimberly Schlapman, ‘Oh Gussie!’
Little Big Town are nominated for two ACM Awards this year for Vocal Group of The Year and Album of the Year. In addition to being nominated for the night’s biggest awards, the band are also slated to perform. The 50th Annual American Country Music Awards will air live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Sunday, April 19 at 8/7c on CBS. This summer, Little Big Town are set to be a featured headliner at The Great Allentown Fair in Allentown, PA on September 2. The band are riding high on the success of their sixth studio album Pain Killer which came out last October. The disc debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 and #3 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart. The album’s two smash-hit singles – “Day Drinking” and “Girl Crush” – have been dominating country music radio over the last few months.
In addition to their Grammy Award, Little Big Town have won four CMA Awards, three ACM Awards, and one American Country Award. They have been nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning in 2013 for their #1 single “Pontoon”. – by Matt Bishop