April 30: Dollywood Celebrates '30 Days Of Thanks' Dolly will be at Dollywood on Friday for a media appearance and park tour prior to her annual Pigeon Forge parade, but that day will also start "30 Days Of Thanks" in observance of the park's 30th anniversary season, it was announced on Wednesday. Guests may enter at kiosks around the park and every day 30 winners will be chosen to receive a 2016 Dollywood season pass (for a total of 900 passes) and one grand prize winner will receive a package similar to the Pure and Simple Sweepstakes (which ends Friday – enter here!): two nights at DreamMore Resort, four tickets to each Dollywood and Splash Country, four tickets to Dolly's concert, a meet-and-greet before the concert and four anniversary t-shirts. In addition, the park will be giving away 30th anniversary car magnets and host pre-show trivia contests throughout the park for prizes.
Knox Paper Lauds Dolly As Example Of Giving Back The Knoxville News-Sentinel on Wednesday offered an editorial celebrating Dolly's generous philanthropy and holding her up as an example others should follow to give back. Unfortunately, only newspaper subscribers may read it. If you're a subscriber, click here.
April 29: 'Orthophonic Joy' Heading To Stores May 12 Dolly's contribution to the two-CD collection Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, a project to re-record the songs that were captured in the East Tennessee community in several recording sessions in 1927 by singers including Jimmy Rogers and the Carter Family which was considered the birth of country music, has been revealed. She sings a 5-minute, 9-second version of "When They Ring Those Golden Bells," a hymn written in 1887 by Dion De Marbelle which has been covered over the years by artists such as Emmylou Harris and Loretta Lynn. The 1927 version from the original Bristol sessions was recorded by Kentucky preacher Alfred Karnes. Reserve your copy of the album, coming out May 12, here.
Knoxville Story Shared By Another Paper The Columbia Herald this week reprinted The Knoxville News-Sentinel story about Dolly's legacy transcending music that was originally linked here but was available to the paper's subscribers only. Read it here.
Aussies Hear Of Dolly Turning Down Elvis The famous story of Dolly turning down Elvis Presley's request to cover "I Will Always Love You" in exchange for being provided with half the publishing rights is re-told by Australia's Business Insider this week. Read it here.
Dolly's Contest Ends On Friday Don't forget to enter Dolly's contest to win a meet-and-greet plus a Dollywood vacation complete with tickets to her August "Pure And Simple" concerts. Entries must be made by Friday, and the winner will be announced on Sunday. Enter here!
April 26: 'Blue Smoke' Stays Atop U.K. Country Comp Chart Dolly's Blue Smoke this week remains at No. 1 for a 46th consecutive week on the British country compilation albums chart, Sunday's tally showed. Elsewhere on the U.K. country compilations list, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony) slips one to No. 10 while her Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) remains steady at No. 12 and Ronstadt's own Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) holds steady at No. 13. Down Under, The Essential Dolly Parton inches down four spots on the Australian top 40 country albums chart to No. 26 for an 81st chart week since release.
Dolly Concert Contest Reminder Don't forget you have until Friday to enter Dolly's Pure and Simple contest for a prize package to her August concerts including a meet-and-greet with Dolly and several other great prizes. Enter here!
Knoxville Paper Praises Dollywood The Knoxville News-Sentinel this weekend celebrated the 30th anniversary of Dollywood with a series of stories including one on the park's history and future here, Dolly's favorite parts of the park here and the impact of Dolly's music (available only to subscribers) here.
Learn How 'IWALY' Hit 'The Bodyguard' A great overview of how Dolly's "I Will Always Love You" came to be recorded by Whitney Houston was published by Chicago Nowhere last week.
Dolly Helps Ponies Win Overseas A British pony competition was won by a woman who used several Dolly songs in the show for her animals, New Market Journal reported here.
April 24: Dollywood Anniversary TV Specials Coming We're only one week away from Dolly's 30th annual "Homecoming" parade in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and her next appearances at Dollywood! Knoxville TV station WVLT has scheduled a 30th anniversary special on the park featuring appearances by Dolly, Kenny Rogers, Charlie Daniels and more which will air at 7:30 p.m. following the parade next Friday. Competing Knoxville station WBIR has a similar special airing that night at 7 p.m. As was previously reported, she is expected to make park appearances both Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2, with park tours scheduled, weather permitting, each day at 4 p.m. (from Heartsong to Showstreet on Friday and Showstreet to Heartsong on Saturday). The Pigeon Forge parade, as usual, starts at 6 p.m. Friday, May 1, at traffic light 6 and finishes at traffic light 3 with Dolly as grand marshal. The parade is followed by the unofficial Dolly Fan Dinner and Collectors' Convention at 8 p.m. at River Stone Resort, and Saturday night's unofficial Night of 1,000 Dollys at Club XYZ in Knoxville.
Press Release Announces Dolly Contest The official press release formally announcing the "Pure and Simple" concerts for Dolly at the park in August to celebrate her Imagination Library's 20th anniversary was released on Thursday. Check it out here.
Great Recap Story On Dolly's Upcoming Year Released The Lane Twins have a story catching up on all Dolly is up to this year that one of them posted to The Hollywood Billboard this week. Read it here.
Douglas' Dolly Show Gets Coverage Monday marked the first night of a monthly Dolly tribute show by Broadway star Natalie Douglas at New York's Birdland, and Broadway World has pictures from the event here.
April 21: Concerts Sold Out, Contest For VIP Package Announced With all four of her Aug. 8 and 9 concerts at Dollywood now officially sold out, Dolly on Monday announced a contest to win a vacation package to attend the shows. In addition to revealing the meaning of the concerts' title, "Dolly: Pure And Simple" (just Dolly and a three-piece acoustic band in the intimate 1,739-seat theater), the contest will provide one winner four VIP passes to the concert, four autographed vinyl copies of Blue Smoke, four Dixie Stampede tickets, a VIP Stampede gift basket, four autographed copies of Dolly's book Dream More, four tickets to Dollywood, four tickets to Dollywood's Splash Country, three nights at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort, a $250 spending spree at Dolly's online store and a 100-book library for all ages from Penguin Random House. About the contest, Dolly said: "I am so excited that Dollywood is bringing back the celebrity concert series, and I'm honored that I get to be first. It's always great to play in my own backyard and I know all of my country music friends who are coming to do their concerts will love it as much as I do. So look for my show 'Pure and Simple' in August and help support my Imagination Library." Dolly's four concerts, along with the other yet-to-be-announced Showcase of Stars concert series guests throughout the fall ending with Kenny Rogers, will benefit her Imagination Library, with hopes of raising $1 million for the early childhood literacy program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and will this year pass 70 million books distributed since inception. Enter here by May 1. Dolly's official overall website, DollyParton.com, has a story about the contest here.
Less Than Two Weeks Until Dolly's Parade Dolly's next appearance at Dollywood is right around the corner, with her annual Dolly Parade in Pigeon Forge. As usual, she is expected to make park appearances both Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2, with park tours scheduled, weather permitting, each day at 4 p.m. (from Heartsong to Showstreet on Friday and Showstreet to Heartsong on Saturday). The Pigeon Forge parade, as usual, starts at 6 p.m. Friday, May 1, at traffic light 6 and finishes at traffic light 3 with Dolly as grand marshal for the 30th time. The parade is followed by the unofficial Dolly Fan Dinner and Collectors' Convention at 8 p.m. at River Stone Resort, and fans will want to stick around for Saturday night's Night of 1,000 Dollys at Club XYZ in Knoxville.
Dolly 'Celebrity Death Match' Remembered With the return of MTV's claymation series Celebrity Death Match, The Hollywood Reporter this week counted down the 10 most "insane" fights, including Dolly's with Jennifer Lopez. Check out the list and video here.
April 20: Dolly-Related CDs Up And Down On Overseas Charts Dolly's Blue Smoke this week remains at No. 1 for a 45th consecutive week on the British country compilation albums chart, Sunday's list confirmed. Elsewhere on the U.K. country compilations list, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony) inches down one to No. 9 while her Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) loses two to No. 12 and Ronstadt's own Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) dips one to No. 13. Down Under, The Essential Dolly Parton rises nine on the Australian top 40 country albums chart to No. 22 for an 80th chart week since release.
New Dolly Songbook Comes Out Thanks to Solomon for alerting me to the release of a new Dolly songbook overseas, The Very Best Hits of Dolly Parton, which contains new songs "Blue Smoke," "Home," "Banks Of The Ohio" and "You Can't Make Old Friends" along with hits "Jolene," "Nine To Five," "Coat Of Many Colors," "Islands In The Stream" and six other unnamed songs. Get it on Kindle here or hard copies here.
April 18: DreamMore Reservations Now Available Starting July 27 Dollywood'sDreamMore Resort on Friday announced that the property is now accepting reservations as early as July 27. Originally scheduled to open in May, construction delays pushed that back. The final opening date has not been announced, although the property has been accepting reservations starting Aug. 18 since mid-March.
Dollywood Concerts Selling Out Fast On sale for just three days, both of Dolly's Aug. 8 concerts at Dollywood are sold out. A few seats remain available here for her two Aug. 9 performances to benefit her Imagination Library.
Dolly Guests On Don Henley Country Album Don Henley has announced that he will release a country album this fall titled Cass Country. The former Eagles front man duets with several stars, including Dolly, Alison Krauss and Vince Gill. It is the singer's first album in 15 years. Read more from WS Radio here.
'The Grass Is Blue' Vinyl Comes Out Saturday Don't forget that the first-ever vinyl release of Dolly's 1999 opus The Grass Is Blue hits shelves on Saturday as a Record Store Day exclusive release from Sugar Hill Records. Get more information here.
'Steel Magnolia' Heads To Logo Network LGBT cable network Logo has announced a new series, Cocktails & Classics, which pairs "gay-fave classic films with a slew of personalities dishing behind-the-scenes dirt." The eight-episode series premieres this weekend with the Dolly classic Steel Magnolias at 7 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. Co-star Olympia Dukakis joins the TV personalities to chat about the picture, with Logo's New Now Next website noting she brought up, as Shirley McLaine has in several interviews, that the director was very tough on Dolly, explaining: "I remember that our director, Herbert Ross, wasn't very nice to her. She took it in stride, but I could see she was affected. But she wouldn't talk about it; wouldn't acknowledge it. Dolly's an extraordinary woman." Read her full interview here.
Remembering Dolly's 'SNL' Hosting Gig Both Taste Of Country and AOL's The Boot on Wednesday celebrated the 26th anniversary that day of Dolly's hosting and musical guest appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live. See Taste Of Country's coverage here and The Boothere.
April 15: August Concert Tickets On Sale Now For Passholders Tickets went on sale Tuesday for season passholders to Dolly's August fundraising concerts at Dollywood which are being called "Dolly Pure and Simple." DP's Celebrity Theater's first three rows are reserved for a limited number of sponsorship packages that begin at $5,000 each which include a reception and meet-and-greet with Dolly. To purchase a sponsorship, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.The other seats in the first 10 rows are $100 each plus tax, while the remainder of the venue (the back 14 rows) are $50 each plus tax. Passholders may order tickets here. The date for public sales, if the venue does not sell out first, has not been announced. Tuesday's sales weren't without controversy, however. While it was known that tickets would be available to season passholders sometime this week, the exact day was not revealed in advance, so some fans were caught when tickets went on sale without their season passes, which were required to place the order. Facebook postings revealed that many individuals received the e-mail from the park with the order instructions several hours after tickets actually went on sale, while other passholders never received the announcement e-mail at all (your webmaster can attest to that, as our household has one regular season pass and one platinum season pass but did not receive the presale e-mail that had been promised). Also, by mid-afternoon tickets appeared to be nearly sold out, with only tickets remaining in the back five rows at that time, meaning fans who received the e-mail late or were sent the order page link by friends late were stuck with these back-of-house seats. However, a check around 10 p.m. Tuesday showed many seats available in all areas of the venue, including the $100 front-of-house section, which were shown as unavailable earlier in the day.
Listen To Dolly 1978 'Playboy' Chat PBS Digital Studios' Blank On Blank series, which takes old audio and hand-drawn animation to create new videos, recently took on never-before-released audio from Dolly's 1978 Playboy magazine cover interview. Check it out from Rolling Stonehere.
April 13: Dollywood: Dolly Concert Tickets For Passholders This Week Tickets for Dolly's Aug. 8 and 9 concerts at Dollywood to kick off the return of the park's Showcase of the Stars will go on sale sometime this week to season passholders, the park revealed in an e-mail to its subscribers on Friday. While ticket prices have not been revealed, the e-mail noted they would start at $50 each. Passholders are expected to receive an e-mail with ordering instructions.
Dolly Projects Move On Overseas Charts Dolly's Blue Smoke this week remains at No. 1 for a 44th consecutive week on the British country compilation albums chart, Sunday's numbers showed. The Real Dolly Parton falls off the British top 100 pop albums tally, down from No. 90 in its 14th week. Elsewhere on the U.K. country compilations list, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony) slips one to No. 8 while her Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) gains two to No. 10 and Ronstadt's own Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) loses three to No. 12. Down Under, The Essential Dolly Parton re-enters the Australian top 40 country albums chart at No. 31 for a 79th chart week since release.
Dolly Congratulates United Way Of Central Minnesota Dolly sent a video last week to the United Way of Central Minnesota to congratulate them on passing 1 million books through her Imagination Library early childhood literacy project. Check it out here.
Dolly Seen At LA Thrift Shop A Los Angeles man last week was lucky enough to run into Dolly at a thrift store in the city, snapping a picture with her that made the rounds on the internet. Check it out here.
Mary Sarah Recounts Dolly Meeting Newcomer Mary Sarah, whose debut album Bridges features a Dolly duet, chatted with CBS about her experience recording with several big name artists for the project, but saying Dolly was the one who left her star struck: "She was the first one on the project. I was 15 walking into the room to meet Dolly Parton. I never in a million years would have thought I'd be singing a Dolly Parton song with her in the studio. She's so sweet — I mean it was just exactly how you would imagine her to be — so precious and sweet and you want to hug her. I was wearing boots and she was wearing heels and I was still her height — she's so tiny." Read more here.
Dunn Celebrates Dolly's 'Saturday Night Live' Appearance Saturday Night Live alum Nora Dunn included Dolly among the three guests on the show she was most excited to meet, with the other two being Mary Tyler Moore and Robert Mitchum. She said about Dolly: "She was amazing and accessible and fun and funny." Read the full interview from Salon.comhere.
Broadway At Birdland Gets Dolly Tribute Show The Broadway at Birdland concert series at the New York club has announced a monthly performance by Natalie Douglas called "Hello Dolly . . . The Music of Dolly Parton," which kicks off on Monday, April 20, with additional performances May 18, July 6 and Aug. 10 to feature some of her greatest compositions, selections from her Tony-nominated score from 9 To 5: The Musical and creative cover songs she has done during her career. Read more from Broadway Worldhere.
April 6: Overseas Pop, Country Charts Updated Dolly's Blue Smoke this week remains at No. 1 for a 43rd consecutive week on the British country compilation albums chart, Sunday's numbers revealed. The Real Dolly Parton loses eight places to No. 90 in its 14th week in the pop top 100. Elsewhere on the U.K. country compilations list, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series, Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony) gains two to No. 7 while her Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) inches down one to No. 12 and Ronstadt's own Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) rises six to No. 9.
April 4: Will 2016 Dollywood Ride Be 'Shot Rod' Car Coaster? Pigeon Forge TN Guide has assembled all of the rumors and tidbits out there on Dollywood's 2016 addition, which has yet to be announced. If the information available is correct, it is looking like a new hot rod-themed coaster costing more than $20 million will be coming. Among the notes is that the park's partner, Herschend Family Entertainment, has filed a trademark application for "Shot Rod" as a roller coaster with a classic car theme. Read more here.
Photographer: What's Dolly Like On A Shoot? The photographer behind Dolly's recent shoot at Dollywood for People magazine during the park's opening weekend posted a piece to the magazine's website describing the experience of having a session with Dolly herself. Check it out here.
Branson Jokes About Moving To Branson One of the big April's Fools Day jokes this year was entrepreneur Richard Branson saying he was moving his Virgin headquarters to Branson, Mo., including the claim that Virgin Airlines had named its newest plane "Jolene" in Dolly's honor and would host "Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede theme flights" on its trips to Branson, which would also feature a Dolly channel on its in-flight entertainment system. A story in The Star Telegramhere covered the hoax.
White Stripes' 'Jolene' Coming Out Again Jack White is re-issuing The White Stripes' original studio cover of Dolly's "Jolene" on a special 45 as part of a package re-issue of the Loretta Lynn album he produced, Van Lear Rose. Learn more here.