March 19: Dolly Opens Park, Will Return For May Appearance
Dolly was on hand this weekend to open the 33rd season of her Dollywood theme park and celebrate the year's focus on entertainment called the "Season of Showstoppers." She announced during a media event Friday -- that was also open to season passholders that she would return for on-park appearances this May during the weekend she traditionally held her parade through Pigeon Forge, even though she will not be in that parade this year. She also teased next year's much-talked-about expansion, joking with Dollywood President Craig Ross that she wasn't supposed to have mentioned it, but adding it is part of their plan to becoming the most-attended park in the Southeast and as she put it "Give Disney a run for their money!"Dolly also discussed the upcoming sequel to 9 To 5 and her work on the Dumplin' film soundtrack as well as noting she hopes to work on a couple of additional TV movies this year and possibly a series. At the ceremony, Dolly also performed Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" live with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, with whom she had recorded the song in 1996. (Watch video of the ceremony in the media player above or here thanks to Knoxville's WBIR.) Later in the day, she donned a blonde dreadlock wig to perform the song with the South African a capella group again at their own show and also took in a park tour dressed in a French costume. On Saturday she popped in for The Flamenco Kings' show and sang "Peace Train" again with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in addition to another park tour in another French outfit. She conducted several interviews including with Atlanta's FOX affiliate here, NBC affiliate here, AL.comhere, FOX & Friendshere, and Knoxville's WBIRhere (where she noted the "Jolene" TV movie is delayed because she was not satisfied with the script). Other coverage included The Knoxville News-Sentinelhere, Billboardhere, and Knoxville's WATE here
Dolly Pays Tribute To Elton John Dolly and Rhonda Vincent have recorded a duet of Elton John's "Please," a track from his 1995 album Made In England, for a tribute album to the Rocketman coming out next month, it was announced last week. Restoration: Reimagining The Songs Of Elton John And Bernie Taupin comes out April 6 on MCA Nashville and features country artists covering the songwriting duo's songs (a separate tribute CD also comes out the same day featuring mostly pop performers on different John/Taupin songs). Reserve your copy of Restorationhere!
Overseas Chart Updates The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe loses two on the British country compilation albums chart in its 79th chart week to No. 14, it was announced Friday. On the same tally, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) slips one to No. 9 as Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) loses one to No. 15 and Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) gains one to No. 16.
'Jolene' As You've Never Heard The Song Before A very modern take on Dolly's "Jolene" by a contestant on The Voice UK had fans talking over the weekend. Check it out from Metrohere.
March 14: Dolly Appearance Friday Open To Passholders Although Dollywood will be open to the general public on Friday for its 2018 season kick-off instead of its traditional and previously-announced season pass preview day on Friday and public opening day on Saturday fans wanting to see Dolly's "Season of Showstoppers Showcase" media appearance that day will need to get in line early and have a season pass. A total of 1,500 seats will be available for the 10:30 a.m. event in DP's Celebrity Theatre with wristbands required for admission. Wristbands will be distributed along with lanyard phone cases to the first 1,500 passholders through the gates on Friday morning, the park has announced. The park opens at 10 a.m. but passholders will be allowed inside starting at 9 a.m. for rides on Drop Line (the announcement indicated those coming in at 9 a.m. will be receive their wristbands first). The show is expected to include Dolly as well as several performers from the year-long concerts planned at the park including Orleans, Shenandoah, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Other passholder perks for opening day include one free TimeSaver Pass for one ride (excluding Lighting Rod and Drop Line as well as shows), several meal discounts, Buy-One-Get-One-Free coupons at the front gate for midway games, and $5 photo prints (excluding Dolly's bus and train depot).
March 12: Dolly Prepares For Dollywood's Season Opener Dollywood opens its 2018 season for season passholders on Friday (Correction: The park has shelved passholder preview day and announced the park will be open to the public on Friday). Dolly has a media appearance at 10:30 at DP's Celebrity Theatre and will make surprise appearances throughout the park in the afternoon. The park normally announces in advance that she'll also make appearances on the first public day of the season which is Saturday but no announcement has been made, which doesn't necessarily mean she won't be there. Meanwhile, although the park has continued to decline comment on the site plans filed with the city for next year's five-acre addition, media coverage of the filing continued. The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported here that the attractions include a pony-riding track and scooters swing ride. Coaster Nation reported here that the new coaster lay-out is an "exact match" for the Orkanen inverted coaster at Denmark's Farup Sommerland park, indicating to them it will be the park's first inverted coaster. Finally, unconfirmed reports to Dollymania.net claim the new area will be snow-themed and use the name "Glacial Ridge." (Correction: The snow theme and name are for the new entertainment area of the park opening this year, not next year's expansion.) The park is expected to formally announce exact details later in the year.
Austin Dolly Tribute Concert Planned Austin-area fans not able to make it to Dollywood will want to head to the Scottish Rite Theatre Friday morning for "Hello Dolly: A Tribute To Dolly Parton." The family-friendly 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. performance will feature several bands playing covers of Dolly's music. The event's Facebook page is here and tickets are available here.
Reba Wants To Duet With Dolly At ACMs Reba McEntire has been announced as hostess of this year's Academy of Country Music Awards from Las Vegas April 15 and said her dream on the show is to convince Dolly to appear for a duet, according to PopCulturehere.
Dolly Photo Adorns Portland Bar A classic Dolly photo watches over the men's room at a bar in Portland Ore., because the establishment's owner is the son of Ed Caraeff, who photographed Dolly's 1977-1979 album covers. Read more here.
Overseas Chart Updates The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe loses one on the British country compilation albums chart in its 78th chart week to No. 12, it was announced Friday. On the same tally, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) slips one to No. 8 as Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) holds steady at No. 14 and Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) loses four to No. 17.
March 7: Christmas CD Pushed To 2019, Will Feature Tour Dolly's Christmas CD that had originally been planned for 2017 has been delayed to 2019 but will coincide with a Christmas tour at that time, her manager revealed in an interview with Billboardhere on her signing with WME (formerly known as the William Morris Agency) as her new agent to focus on negotiating deals for North American branding, TV, film, music, and touring. Manager Danny Nozell also indicated he is negotiating a "much bigger" music deal for Dolly with Sony Music. Currently she signs a new distribution deal with a major label for each individual album she releases through Dolly Records but her last three have been jointly released through Sony labels. The article noted she let previous agent Steve Martin of APA go at the end of 2016 and had no agent representing her last year stateside although she remains repped by Neil Warnock at UTA internationally.
Enclosed Coaster, Pirate Ship Coming To Dollywood Knoxville television station WBIR on Tuesday added some more detail to next year's Dollywood expansion. Their review of preliminary plans submitted to the city showed an indoor family roller coaster as well as an indoor play area and pendulum ride that appears to be similar to the classic pirate ship carnival attraction. The park also told the station that Dolly would be on hand later in the year to announce the development. Read the full story
March 6: Mountain Soul Vocal Contest Seeks Competitors The 14th annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition has opened for 2018 entries. Contestants must sing a song written by Dolly (a list of is available here) and are judged in the 12-and-under division (10 finalists) or 13-and-up division (20 finalists). Entry deadline is April 6. Audition files of up to two songs should be mailed with a completed application available at www.BloominBBQ.com. The competition takes place at the Bloomin' BBQ & Bluegrass Festival in Dolly's hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., May 19. Winners will take home cash and prizes including a recording session in Nashville and a guitar autographed by Dolly.
March 5: Singer Celebrates Dolly Telling Elvis 'No'
Musician Mark Nevin has written and recorded a new song telling the tale of how Dolly turned down Elvis Presley's manager and his demands for publishing rights to "I Will Always Love You" in order for Elvis to record the song. The song comes with a stop-motion animation video by Heather Colbert. Watch it here or in the media player above.
More On Library Milestone Presentation Coverage continued over the weekend of Dolly's 100 millionth Imagination Library book. Her official website posted an interview here, ABC shared the full video from her Nightline appearance here, and an interview made FOX's News Sundayhere.
Overseas Chart Update The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe loses one on the British country compilation albums chart in its 77th chart week to No. 11, it was announced Friday. On the same tally, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) gains two to No. 7 as Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) holds steady at No. 14 and Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) drops two to No. 13.
Reports: Big Dollywood Expansion Coming Pigeon Forge TN Guide and The Mountain Press report a major five-acre expansion is coming to Dollywood next year. The park has presented a site plan to the city Planning Commission to add eight new attractions, a restaurant, new restrooms, water features and more in a currently-undeveloped area near Thunderhead roller coaster. Much of the area beyond Thunderhead was cleared of trees before the end of the season, several visitors alerted this site at the time, indicating future development there. No details have been given of when the new area will be officially announced.
March 2: Dolly Confirms '9 To 5' Sequel Plans, No More 'Coat' Movies Dolly's Nightline interview was delayed one day and aired on ABC Thursday night/Friday morning with her confirmation of the possible 9 To 5sequel moving forward. The episode, titled "Icons of Change," focused on female empowerment in the #MeToo era and also featured an interview with the female leads of the film A Wrinkle In Time. Dolly noted she had just been pitched the idea the previous day of updating the movie to feature three new women workers who seek out now-business executives Doralee, Judy and Violet for guidance and advice in today's workplace and immediately said yes. Check out a clip from the interview here . Also, she told ABC Radio News that there will be no more Coat Of Many Colors films but she hopes as "Little Dolly" Alyvia Alyn Lind grows up she'll be able to play Dolly as a young woman in other adventures from her career in other movies or a series. Check out that story here .
March 1: Possible '9 To 5' Sequel Being Discussed 20th Century Fox is in the early stages of a 9 To 5 sequel that might feature original stars Dolly, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin mentoring three young women facing modern-day office sexism, Deadline reported Wednesday in an exclusive story. The piece said original screenwriter Patricia Resnick would partner with a younger writer to give a young modern spin to the story, and the studio hopes to land Rashida Jones (Ann from Parks & Recreation). Resnick, who partnered with Dolly on 9 To 5: The Musical, confirmed the news on her personal Facebook page by sharing the article and commenting: "This is what happens when you stop waiting for things to happen and just go make them happen!" Read the story here .
More From Library Of Congress Appearance Coverage continued Wednesday of Dolly's presentation of the 100 millionth Imagination Library to the Library of Congress. ABC posted an online-only interview to Facebook prior to her appearance on Good Morning America Wednesday. Watch it here or in the media player below. Her GMA interview is available online here and her performance of "Coat of Many Colors" on the program is available here. An additional brief interview appeared on NPR's All Things Considered Wednesday. Listen to it here.