May 31: Opry Gallery Available Although it's been a little more than a week since it took place, your official Dollymania review of Dolly's recent appearance on The Grand Ole Opry to celebrate former duet partner Porter Wagoner's 50th anniversary on the program is now available in a new section of the site here. (I waited to put this up last since the show was broadcast on GAC and therefore was likely seen by more of the site's readers than any of her other appearances that weekend.) Look for more galleries from the evening in coming days!
And In Another Gallery . . . Another charity auction winner's picture with Dolly from the opening weekend at Dollywood has been posted in that section of the site here and the Fan Antics pages here. So if any others want to share their images with other Dolly fans, send 'em on in here! Thanks!
Burning The 'Midnight' Oil The classic music series The Midnight Special is coming to stores on DVD, and a disc is slated to include Dolly, it has been announced. The first four discs (focusing on 1973 through 1976) will hit stores on Tuesday, but Dolly's performance of "I Will Always Love You" in a 1978 episode will be included on the 1978-79 season edition (listed as "1979") to be available Aug. 7. All of the discs, however, have previously been available as part of a nine-disc set sold via television ads, resulting in a handful of copies of the one featuring Dolly already being available on Amazon here.
KidsFest Approaches Wanna dine with Larry the Cucumber or Strawberry Shortcake? Dollywood is offering lunch with the stars Mondays through Thursdays June 11 through Aug. 2 as part of KidsFest. Patches the Scarecrow and Walker the Bluetick Hound join Larry and Bob from VeggieTales, Strawberry Shortcake, Peter Rabbit and Corduroy the Teddy Bear to entertain kids. Reservations are available at 1-800-Dollywood (cost is $19.99 ages 12 and up, $9.99 ages 4-11 and free ages 3 and under). In related news, while it hasn't been announced whether she will be making any public appearances or not, Dolly is once again scheduled to be on the park grounds on June 15, the opening day of KidsFest, for the annual Imagination Library homecoming festivities, so you might get to catch a glimpse of her if you're in the park that day!
May 30: Dolly Gets Second 'Very Best' Disc Hot off the success of the biggest British hit album of her career, Dolly is getting a second installment, it has been announced. SonyBMG next month is following up Dolly's first-ever top 10 U.K. pop album, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, with a second compilation disc. The 20-song collection, titled appropriately enough The Very Best Of Dolly Parton Vol. 2, again mixes some of her biggest hits with fan-favorite album cuts from her years at both RCA and Columbia Records. It will hit stores in Europe on June 25, and Amazon is already taking orders for imports to the U.S. starting the next day. Get your copy here! Thanks, Lee! The full track listing is as follows:
Harper Valley PTA
Two Doors Down
Boulder To Birmingham
Put It Off Until Tomorrow (with Tammy Wynette & Loretta Lynn)
All I Can Do
(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher
Rockin' Years (with Ricky Van Shelton)
In The Ghetto
Just Because I'm A Woman
I Really Don't Want To Know (with Willie Nelson)
Eagle When She Flies
Please Don't Stop Loving Me (with Porter Wagoner)
Down From Dover
Where Beauty Lives In Memory
Dolly Helping Out Hall Of Fame The Songwriters Hall of Fame, which will be honoring Dolly next month with its highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, has announced that she has contributed to two of the featured items for the first online charity auction benefiting the organization's programs. The auction will run May 31 through June 14 on Charity Buzz. A dulcimer donated and autographed by Dolly is the top item being promoted by auction organizers. Other major offerings include a Gibson Guitar autographed by this year's special honorees Dolly, John Legend and Don Kirshner as well as this year's inductees into the Hall of Fame, Don Black, Jackson Browne, Irving Burgie, Michael Masser and Bobby Weinstein; a vintage Simon & Garfunkel poster signed by the duo; an autographed book and yoga practice with hip hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons; and a Baldwin baby grand piano autographed by several celebrities including Tony Bennett, Jimmy Webb, Phil Collins and Roger Taylor of Queen. Tickets remain available at 212-573-6933 for the June 7 ceremony at New York's Marriott Marquis Hotel where Dolly will be honored. Seats start at $1,000 each.
Parton Praise From Paper The Knoxville News Sentinel on Tuesday put aside space on its editorial pages to salute Dolly for her $1 million dedication to her hometown's new hospital and what it called a well-deserved honor of having a women's health center at the new facility named after her. Read the piece here.
More Reader Pics Available Some additional photos with Dolly from opening weekend at Dollywood have been added to that section of the site here as well as the Fan Antics pages here. Thanks!
May 29: Story: '9 To 5' Heading To Workshop The Broadway adaptation of Dolly's hit film 9 To 5 continues its trek toward the Great White Way, according to Playbill. A column by Seth Rudetsky in the theatre publication details his recent trip as an accompanist for a friend who was auditioning for the musical's workshop, the minimally-staged version of a show to work out its "kinks" before finalizing the script and songs as they will appear on Broadway. He noted his shock to see Dolly herself, who composed the musical's score, at the audition helping select the performers. Although his friend didn't get cast, he revealed that actress Stephanie J. Block, who most recently co-starred on Broadway with Hugh Jackman in The Boy From Oz, was cast for the workshop production in the Judy role originated by Jane Fonda in the movie (although that doesn't necessarily mean she'll perform the role in the final Broadway version). No word on the dates for the workshop production. Read more here.
Groundbreaking Galleries Available Several galleries of Dolly images from her stop a week ago to help break ground for her hometown's new hospital, Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center, and reveal its Dolly Parton Center for Women's Services have been posted to the site here. In related news, The Cincinnati Enquirer over the weekend noted two local girls who were among the performers opening for Dolly at her recent Smokies Stadium concert to raise money for the hospital. Take a read here (and see shots from that event here.)
Another Fan Pic Posted Another charity auction winner's photo with Dolly from Dollywood's opening weekend has been added to the Fan Antics section here and the grand opening section here. Thanks!
Hazel Recaps 'Opry' CMT.com columnist Hazel Smith discusses Dolly's recent touching appearance on The Grand Ole Opry to honor Porter Wagoner in her "Hot Dish" column posted on the website Monday. Take a read here! (And look for several galleries of photos from the night here very soon!)
May 28: Down In Britain, Aussie Tallies The recent compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton continues its slow descent down the charts across the pond and Down Under. The former British top 10 pop hit album drops out of the top 40 this week, falling three spots to No. 41 pop on the U.K. tally, it was announced Sunday. In Australia, the CD inches down one to No. 5 country.
More From Last Weekend's Concert It's been a week since it took place, and a brief recap and one shot have already been posted here, but several additional photo galleries and a review of Dolly's Smokies Stadium concert have been added to the site in a new section here.
'All You've Got To Do Is Smile That Smile' The next group of fans to send in their pictures with Dolly from this year's Dollywood opening weekend have been added to the Fan Antics section here and the 2007 grand opening section here. Thanks for sharing them!
Stampede Noted In Paper Tennessee's Cleveland Daily Banner over the weekend profiled the recent 20th anniversary party with Dolly at her Dixie Stampede dinner theatre and the horse sculptures found around Sevier County in observance of the milestone. Read it here.
The Sincerest Form Of Flattery One lucky Dolly impersonator could be in for $100,000 in a new TV competition. ABC on Wednesday premieres The Next Best Thing: Who is the Greatest Celebrity Impersonator?, a series which features folks dressed up as Dolly, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Johnny Depp, James Bond, Superman, George W. Bush, Neil Diamond, Jay Leno, Cher, David Letterman, Tony Soprano and more. From thousands of auditions nationwide, 30 semi-finalists perform before a studio audience for the panel of judges, who will then select 10 finalists. The finalists will perform one final time for viewers, who will then vote to determine who wins the $10,000 grand prize. See previews of the show here.
May 26: U.S. Chart Updates Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Dolly, loses one digit to No. 16 in its 92nd week on the Billboard country albums charts, it was announced Thursday in the June 2 tallies. The CD dips two to No. 75 pop and three to No. 78 comprehensive while gaining seven to No. 32 Canadian country. Martina McBride's Timeless, with Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," falls five to No. 69 country in its 83rd chart week. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, featuring "Islands In The Stream," dips five to No. 58 country in its 70th week. After one week back on the chart, Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," falls back off the 15-position bluegrass albums chart, down from No. 13 the previous week, its 48th. Debuting at No. 1 country, No. 5 pop, is Gretchen Wilson's One of the Boys with 73,000 copies sold in its first week, while Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts slips one to No. 2 country and three to No. 11 pop.
And Overseas . . . The Very Best Of Dolly Parton European collection finds itself with a little drop for the week in the Emerald Isle, falling four places to No. 29 this week on the pop albums chart in Ireland, it was announced Friday.
Some Great Photos I haven't had a chance to get more pictures up yet due to some family issues this week, but I do hope to post several new galleries in Sunday night's update of images from last weekend's appearances in Tennessee. However, the winners of her charity auctions on eBay to meet her during opening weekend began this week receiving their autographed photos with Dolly, and of course, they're also starting to send them in to be posted here :) The first couple are available both in the Fan Antics section here and the 2007 Dollywood grand opening section here. Meanwhile, Knoxvile News Sentinel columnist Terry Morrow wrote Friday about her various stops in the area here, complete with a note that she is now off to L.A. to film her previously-announced second guest spot on Disney's Hannah Montana series.
Coverage From Weekend Continues Sevier County's The Mountain Press was full of Dolly in its online edition Wednesday. The newspaper posted a story on the Dixie Stampede show here, one on the hospital groundbreaking here and an editorial praising her efforts in the community here.
In releated news:
The Stampede on Wednesday issued a press release on its 20th anniversary show with Dolly. Take a read here.
And a couple of wonderful shots from her appearances showed up on the Reuters wire and are accessible from Yahoo here.
May 23: 'I Am A Very Professional Dolly Parton' Following Monday's hospital groundbreaking in Sevierville, Dolly spoke with Reuters news syndicate about her life and career in general, noting among other things that she is successful because "I just work my ass off" and that she tries to be "the best Dolly Parton I can be" by aiming to beat her own records rather than those set by others, and commenting on her famous appearance. Read the full interview here.
More Coverage Of Her Appearances Wire reports on Dolly's weekend concert to benefit the hospital led Tuesday's "Celebrities" column in Nashville's The Tennesseanhere, and The Knoxville News Sentinel on Tuesday posted a second story on the groundbreaking here. (And I haven't forgotten y'all! I was in transit back home all day Tuesday and didn't have time to go through any photos to post them Tuesday night, but look for a ton of them -- along with some longer stories on the events -- soon!)
Down More In Norway The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, her recent smash hit European greatest hits album, falls out of the top 10 in Norway this week, it was announced Tuesday. The CD falls two to No. 11 on that nation's pop albums chart.
More Concert Coverage Many media outlets on Monday offered stories on Dolly's weekend concert in Sevier County to support the hospital's construction, including Knoxville TV station WBIR here and Nashville station WKRN here, both of which include video from the show in their stories. The Knoxville News Sentinel story is posted here, and an Associated Press article got picked up by newspaper websites around the world, including USA Todayhere. As was previously noted, look for a full story on the concert and many photo galleries here in coming days.
Library Adds Online Store Want to help out Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program and get some cool stuff, too? Her program now has some nice little posters and t-shirts and other stuff for sale on its website. The new merchandise was offered at her concert Sunday and are now for sale online here.
With Apologies To Hannah Thanks to the many readers who alerted me to my mistake regarding which niece's birthday Dolly's celebrated at Sunday's concert. Although I had written Hannah in my notes, I typed Heidi's name in error when writing up the report after midnight. Hannah, the daughter of Richard and Rachel, was the one celebrating her 19th at the concert. Sorry for the mix-up!
Overseas Updates After one week in the top 50 pop albums tally Down Under, the compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton falls out of that Australian chart this week, it was announced. The album, which had entered the top 50 at No. 38 last week, also dips one to No. 4 on that nation's country chart in its fifth week on that side of the numbers. In the U.K., the former top-10 pop album tumbles nine spots to No. 31 pop, it was revealed Sunday.
More 'Opry' Coverage In addition to the photo posted here Saturday night (which I believe was the first published anywhere) and the set of images noted here that would be forthcoming from Music City Update (they were posted Sunday), coverage of the Porter Wagoner celebration with Dolly at The Grand Ole Opry continued over the weekend. A story appeared on Nashville TV station WTVF Saturday night (an online version is available here), The Tennessean led its Sunday "Celebrities" column with its story on the show here (look to the right side of their page for a link to a little photo album of a few shots from the night), and Country Standard Time has a story here. As a reminder, several galleries and a full Dollymania review will be posted in coming days.
May 19: Down Again On The Emerald Isle After a little rebound last week, the greatest hits collection The Very Best Of Dolly Parton dips four spots to No. 25 this week on the Irish pop albums chart, it was announced Friday.
See Dolly This Weekend! Dolly's weekend appearances are nearly upon us. Tickets remain available for Saturday's Grand Ole Opryhere with her on stage honoring Porter Wagoner. The show was plugged online Friday by both Country Weeklyhere and The Tennesseanhere. Also, tickets remain available here on the edges of the Smokies Stadium for her benefit concert in Sevier County, Tenn., Sunday night. Look for coverage of both events on Dollymania soon! (As well as a link to another site that will be covering the Opry with lots of photos, including some backstage.)
'Baby I'm Burnin'!' The fire chief in Keizer, Ore., is retiring. So what makes that Dolly-related? Well, he apparently has an office plastered with memorabilia and posters of his favorite singer. Read about it from The Keizer Timeshere.
Randy Sets The Date Dolly's brother Randy will open his much-touted theatre in Halifax County, N.C., on July 26, it was announced Thursday. The former longtime Dollywood performer revealed he is working with television composers Velton Ray Bunch and Mike Post (who produced Dolly's 1980 album 9 To 5 And Odd Jobs) to create his new stage show for the venue. Read more here.
May 18: Dolly-Related Projects Gain On Charts The album which contains Dolly's most recent No. 1, "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Brad Paisley, looks to be climbing back up the charts a bit. Paisley's Time Well Wasted gains four spots to No. 15 in its 91st week on the Billboard country albums charts, it was revealed Thursday in the May 26 numbers. The project rises 19 places to No. 73 pop and 22 digits to No. 75 comprehensive but dips three to No. 39 Canadian country. Martina McBride's Timeless, featuring Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," moves up four to No. 64 country in its 82nd chart week. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, which includes "Islands In The Stream," advances six to No. 53 country in its 69th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with its Dolly duet, "Heartbreaker's Alibi," re-enters the 15-position bluegrass albums chart at No. 13 for a 48th chart week. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts rises two to No. 1 country and two to No. 8 pop with 57,000 units sold in its 78th week, while Tim McGraw's Let It Go gains two to No. 2 country and four to No. 11 pop in its seventh week.
More 'Opry' Guests Revealed What are likely the final additional performers for Saturday's Grand Ole Opry show have been announced. Joining Dolly, Marty Stuart, Patty Loveless and Porter Wagoner for the televised hour (as well as the 10 p.m. hour) will be the Opry Square Dancers. Joining Jeannie Seely in the pre-TV show will be The Whites and Little Jimmy Dickens. Joining John Conlee in the section immediately after the TV portion will be Jimmy C. Newman and Connie Smith. And joining Mel Tillis in the final segment of the first half will be Mike Snider and Jean Shepard. All of them except Seely and Newman are also scheduled to perform in the second half of the program as well. Get tickets here!
Family Fun In Dolly's Hometown If you're bypassing the Opry on Saturday and heading straight to Sevier County this weekend for Dolly's Sunday benefit concert (tickets still available here), be sure to check out the third annual Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival Friday and Saturday in Sevierville, which features not only a huge BBQ contest but also the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition, where contestants may sing only Dolly-composed songs. The winner gets a cash prize, time in a Nashville recording studio and a guitar autographed by Dolly. Read about the weekend from The Mountain Presshere. Meanwhile, Dolly did an e-mail interview with The Knoxville News-Sentinel about her concert this weekend. Read all about it from that paper here.
Another Reviewer Loves Re-Issues Dolly's recent three expanded RCA re-issues get a glowing review in the music e-zine Pop Matters this week, with each disc garnering a rating of eight out of 10 (meaning: "Excellent. Among the best work of the given artist, or among the best in the given genre, though it may only appeal to fans of that genre."). The reviewer praises each disc, saying: "On these albums she writes the story of growing up, and the hurt, loss and sacrifice that accompanies it, into the timeless language of country music, using the classic elements of song to make the good and bad times seem even better and even worse." The highest praise, however, is held for Jolene as a progression from the other two albums: "The saloon-jukebox ballads of Coat of Many Colors and the rustic, carefree, old-time gospel style of My Tennessee Mountain Home have turned into a polished country sound with a density that points towards the rock leanings of the 'outlaw country' crowd and a lightness that hints toward Parton's soft-pop '80s direction . . . In Jolene it's easy to hear why Parton's leap of independence was ultimately also a cementing of her larger-than-life celebrity status: the birth of Dollywood, of 9 to 5, of Dolly Parton, the icon." Read the full review here.
Beauty Vs. Talent Dolly gets her two cents in on the music industry's obsession with beauty in an Associated Press article available here. She notes that while being attractive can't hurt she hopes that talent rises above all else. "It's a damn pity though, that people have to judge real talent on looks," she adds.
Dolly Fan Doc To Be Shown In Toronto The Dolly fan documentary For The Love Of Dolly will be shown next week at Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival. Now Toronto gives the film, which follows five of Dolly's most dedicated fans, four stars, saying: "Even more remarkable than Parton's own honest connection with her fans (she remembers David's name and Jeanette's dogs) is the fact that (director Tai) Uhlmann manages to portray these curious characters in a compassionate and non-exploitative light." The movie shows at 4:45 p.m. Monday at the Isabel Baker (93 Charles West, Toronto). Read the full review here.
May 17: Sunday Show's Opening Acts Announced Dolly will have lots of support to kick off her big benefit concert on Sunday, as several opening acts were announced Wednesday. Seven performers from shows at Dollywood and the Dixie Stampede will start the show. "I'm really blessed that some of the most talented performers anywhere are working at Dollywood and Dixie Stampede," Dolly said in a release. "And I can't wait to shine the spotlight on our local talent on May 20th. Their performances will just make this concert even more special to me." Stampede master of ceremonies Jay Teter will also emcee the program for the opening acts and perform the night's first song. The other six singers, each of whom will also offer one song, are all from Dollywood shows: Ashley Black of Country Crossroads, Megan Marie Dillon of the Imagination Playhouse starring the Penguin Players, Brad Gibson and Anthony Manning of Dreamland Drive-In, Naomi & the Wood Brothers' Naomi Grace McCandless and Scott Self of the new The Great American Country Show. Tickets for the Smokies Stadium concert, which will raise funds for construction of the new Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center, remain available here.
Latest On The 'Opry' The Nashville Scene on Thursday chooses Saturday's Grand Ole Opry show honoring Porter Wagoner and featuring Dolly and several other artists as one of this week's "Critics Picks," noting it is sure to be one of the best nights of the Opry this year. Read more here. Also, one of the members of Marty Stuart's band who will be performing with Dolly during her appearance is profiled in the new issue of Chicago's LGBT publication The Windy City Timeshere. And Australia's X-Press magazine gives high marks to Wagoner's upcoming Wagonmaster CD, which hits stores June 5. Read that here. And get your tickets for both halves of Saturday's show here!
Down In Norway Dolly's recent European hit compilation disc, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, remains in the top 10 over in Norway this week. The CD loses three to No. 9 on that nation's pop albums chart, it was revealed Wednesday.
Dolly In Print Dolly shows up in a slew of publications currently available.
The new issue of Country Weekly on newsstands now features a full page of four images of her from the recent season opening at Dollywood with shots from the Mystery Mine opening, her Pigeon Forge parade, her tour of the park and an appearance at the Irish show.
Speaking of the Irish, see a photo of her with a couple of visiting Irish artists at the park's Festival of Nations from Irish Abroadhere. Unfortunately, you must be a subscriber to read the full article which accompanies the image.
Pink is a Dolly fan, apparently. In an interview with a Seattle record store proprietor discussing some of his famous customers, he notes he recently sold Pink a Dolly LP. Read it here.
And thanks to Edgar for alerting me to a wonderful little story in US Airways' in-flight magazine. The piece, with a great Dolly photograph, focuses on her Imagination Library and her advice of how to help children achieve their dreams using her own upbringing and outlook on life for inspiration. The article was posted on the publication's web site here on Wednesday.
May 16: AMCs Barely Acknowledge Honor Recognition of Dolly and her fellow Pioneer Award recipients at Tuesday's televised Academy of Country Music Awards was so lacking that most viewers likely missed it. Her name and those of fellow honorees Don Williams, Waylon Jennings and Harlan Howard appeared half an hour into the program for about one second each at the bottom of the screen among the list of trophies presented prior to the telecast. The award, named in memory of Cliffie Stone, is the ACMs' equivalent of the Country Music Hall of Fame induction each year at the Country Music Association Awards. As was previously reported, the honorees will enjoy formal recognition at a special June 20 ceremony at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville hosted by Marty Stuart.
Dolly Dulcimer Donated Dolly is helping out another good cause with one of her limited edition autographed dulcimers. The Nugget Newspaper in Sisters, Ore., reports that she has contributed the prized instrument for a silent auction as part of the Sisters Starry Nights Concert there Friday night with Vince Gill. Proceeds will benefit the Sisters Schools Foundation, and the winner will also get an autographed Dolly photo. Read more here.
'What Is '9 To 5', Alex' I'm told Dolly made Jeopardy on Tuesday. Under the category "The Oscars," the answer was which Oscar-nominated tune did she write by rubbing her fingernails together. Of course, a contestant quickly buzzed in with "9 To 5." Thanks, Chris!
May 15: Official: Cameras OK At Sunday's Show A few readers had contacted the site in recent days concerned over whether or not cameras would be allowed at Dolly's benefit concert this weekend to help her hometown hospital, and I can put their fears at ease. A spokesperson for Dolly confirms that still photography will be allowed during Sunday's show, although, as has been custom, video or audio recording is strictly prohibited. While the floor is sold out (except for one or two single seats in the back), a good number of mid-level seats appear to still be available for the show in the raised stands. Get those here!
'Opry' Adds Guests And of course the night before the concert, Dolly will be over in Nashville honoring former longtime duet partner Porter Wagoner on his 50th anniversary as a member of The Grand Ole Opry. Newly announced guests for Saturday's show in addition to host Marty Stuart and previously-announced performers Dolly and Patty Loveless are Jeannie Seely, John Conlee and Mel Tillis, who on June 9 will become the newest member of the Opry. As was previously announced here, Dolly will appear in both the 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. halves of the show that night. Tickets for the first half, which includes GAC's televised hour, are pretty much gone on the main floor and first balcony, leaving the upper balcony about half sold out as well, but seats still remain available toward the back of the floor for the second half of the program. Get those here!
Dolly Up In Ireland Getting a slight rebound this week, the compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton rises a good bit on the Emerald Isle, gaining 18 places to No. 21 for the week, it was announced.
Idle 'Idol' Chatter What did Dolly supposedly say to Kellie Pickler when the former American Idol finalist met her real life idol? Find out in the return of Hazel Smith's "Hot Dish" column on CMT.com here!
Postage Increase Coverage Continues The impact of this week's postal rate change on nonprofit organizations, including Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, is further examined in The Chronicle of Philanthropy this week here.
May 14: Down Overseas, Up Down Under The Very Best Of Dolly Parton compilation disc enters the top 50 pop charts Down Under this week, it was announced. The collection comes in at No. 38 in its first week on the pop chart in Australia and gains one to No. 3 in its fourth week on that nation's country albums tally. In the U.K., where the CD earlier this year became her first-ever top 10 pop album, it slides two to No. 22 pop.
Dolly Promotes Concert, Hospital The time is nearing for Dolly's next two appearances in her home state: Saturday's Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to honor Porter Wagoner and Sunday's benefit concert in Sevierville to help her hometown hospital relocate to a new, $100 million facility. In publicizing the latter, The Knoxville News Sentinel on Saturday published an editorial piece by Dolly remembering the country doctor who delivered her and praising the Ft. Sanders Sevier Medical Center and the effort to replace it with a larger, state-of-the-art hospital. "Remember, I will always love you, and if you support this, our children and grandchildren will love you, too," she wrote. Read the article here. According to The Niles Starhere in Niles, Mich., Dixie Stampede performer Jay Teter will serve as the opening act for the concert. (Get tickets for the concert here and Opryhere!)
Review: Weekend Shows Good, Bad Dolly's Niagara Falls concerts over the weekend got a mixed review from nearby The Buffalo News, which praised her showmanship and talent but criticized her "taste." The reviewer adored her "old-time Tennessee country music and slightly pop-inflected folk" but slammed her "discograss" selections such as "Baby I'm Burnin'" and the heavily-slathered corn of some numbers such as her adaptation of "Hello Dolly." Read the full review here.
Postal Rates Harm Dolly's Library Most folks are aware that postal rates go up on Monday, but what they may not know is the impact the rate change will have on non-profit organizations, most notably those which use the mail to deliver their services. Case in point is Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, which some fear may be in jeopardy in many communities because the postal hike will increase book mailing rates for the charity by a whopping 60 percent, adding $3 per child to each community's annual local share of the program's expenses. Read more about the problem from Knoxville TV station WBIR here. (While a 25 cents-per-book increase may not seem like much, a community that ships 50,000 books per year would pay $12,500 more annually. Knoxville alone will be paying out $75,000 more. And given the millions of books the program currently ships across the country, the impact nationwide will likely exceed $1 million in increased costs annually.)
A Horse Of A Different Color The Chattanoogan over the weekend profiled the horse sculpture project in Sevier County celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dolly's Dixie Stampede. Read more, and see one of the horses, here.
Latest Re-Issue Reviews The recent Dolly re-issues of three RCA classics continue to get noticed in the press. I'm told music collectors' magazine Goldmine features reviews of the three titles in its new issue, giving both Coat Of Many Colors and My Tennessee Mountain Home four stars each and Jolene three stars. Also, online site The Music Box has added a review of My Tennessee Mountain Homehere, giving it three and a half stars.
Splish, 'Splash' With the heat of summer upon us, The Tennessean over the weekend decided to profile the cooling waters and thrills of Dollywood's Splash Country water park. Take a read here.
'9 To 5' Petition Posted After hearing Jane Fonda's recent comments that 20th Century Fox is blocking a re-make of 9 To 5, reader Harold Simons started up an online petition on the subject. Add your name here! Thanks!
May 11: Dolly Makes Philanthropy List Dolly's support of her hometown hospital earned her a spot on The Giving Back Fund's "Giving Back 30," an annual list of the nation's most generous celebrities, it was announced Thursday. The $500,000 contribution from her (actually, from her Dixie Stampede dinner theatre and Dollywood Foundation charitable organization) to support construction of the new Ft. Sanders Sevier Medical Center in Sevierville, Tenn., placed her at the bottom of this year's list of famous philanthropists alongside Lance Armstrong and Elizabeth Taylor, who made $500,000 gifts to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the New Orleans AIDS Task Force, respectively. The placement, however, did not include her contribution of a benefit concert for the project May 20 (tickets available here), which is expected to raise a few hundred thousand dollars more. It also did not take into account any person's anonymous gifts, and much of her personal philanthropy is done anonymously. Oprah Winfrey took the top spot, giving away more than $50 million in 2006. Read the full list here.
Fonda: Fox Blocking '9 To 5' Sequel Actress Jane Fonda says executives at 20th Century Fox are preventing her from reuniting with Dolly and Lily Tomlin for a sequel to their smash hit 9 To 5. In an interview Wednesday night on CNN's Larry King Live, Fonda said she and her co-stars are ready and willing to shoot a follow-up to the 1980 classic, but the studio thus far has refused to allow them to do so. "FOX owns it and they don't seem to want us to do it," she explained, adding that times have changed in the past 25 years and so a new film would need to be updated to show the struggles of today's working women rather than the problems they faced in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Dolly Sings With Presley Harmonizers Dolly's been in the studio with former Elvis backing group The Jordanaires, the band revealed in two interviews this week. Although the exact thing they worked on was not detailed, one article from The Nashville City Paperhere said it was an album with her coming out as part of this year's 30th anniversary of Presley's death, and The Tennesseanhere just called it a "project" with her presently slated for August release, which could mean that they did a full tribute album with her, just one song for a various artist tribute CD or perhaps joined her on a song in tribute to Elvis for her upcoming Backwoods Barbie album.
Chart Updates Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, containing the hit Dolly duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," inches down one place to No. 19 in the May 19 Billboard country albums charts, it was announced Thursday. The disc, in its 90th chart week, gains one to No. 92 pop, falls three to No. 97 comprehensive and drops seven to No. 36 Canadian country. Martina McBride's Timeless, with Dolly guesting on "I Still Miss Someone," dips six to No. 68 country in its 81st chart week but falls out of the top 50 Canadian country, down from No. 42 the previous week. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," falls two to No. 59 country in its 68th week. Miranda Lambert's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend debuts at No. 1 country nd No. 6 pop with 53,000 copies sold in its first week, while Blake Shelton's Pure BS debuts at No. 2 country, No. 8 pop, moving 48,000 units in its first week.
More On Exhibit The Tennessean expanded its coverage Thursday of the upcoming "Jim McGuire: The Nashville Portraits" exhibit at Nashville's Frist Center for the Visual Arts, singling out Dolly's 1974 shot as one of the top highlights of the collection. Read how her photo was described here.
More Praise For Dolly Classics The City Pages in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., chose Dolly's recent expanded re-issues as the week's best recent CD releases, noting Coat Of Many Colors, My Tennessee Mountain Home and Jolene show Dolly was the "sassy, tenacious and sexually independent" trailblazer who made the way for today's Faith Hill, Shania Twain and Carrie Underwood. Read the review here.
May 10: 'Very Best' Still Doing Well In Norway Although she is off the charts now in most countries across Europe except for the British Isles, Dolly's compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton is holding on in Norway, where the collection gains three spots to No. 6 pop this week, it was announced Wednesday.
Lee Contest Ends I wish each of the few hundred entries in our contest to win Brenda Lee's Gospel Duets with Treasured Friends, featuring Dolly on "This Old House," could receive a CD, but there were only five copies provided for the contest by SonyBMG's Provident Label Group, so the winners are: Linda Wade of Greenfield, Ind.; Todd Jenkins of Montreal, Canada; David Stein of Omaha, Neb.; Robert Fleckenstein of Philadelphia, Penn.; and Ciara Maloney of Manchester, England. Congratulations to all!
More Dollywood Images Posted Some fun shots of "non-Dolly" happenings with the Swiss performers as part of the recent season opening weekend at Dollywood have been added to that section of the site here.
Canadian Concerts Near Fans across the border are sure in for a treat when Dolly is in the house for three consecutive sold out nights at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont., Thursday through Saturday. Anyone in attendance is encouraged to send your notes on the show (and photos if you get any) here. Thanks in advance! Although a full tour is expected in fall/winter to promote her next album, Backwoods Barbie, the Canadian shows are presently her only scheduled performances for the remainder of the year other than an appearance May 19 on The Grand Ole Opry (tickets remain available here) and May 20 benefit concert in Sevierville, Tenn., to help her hometown hospital (tickets for sale here).
Exhibit With Dolly Photo To Open A great shot of Dolly and her guitar is one of many images of music icons featured in "Jim McGuire: The Nashville Portraits," an exhibit of the photographer's work which will be touring the nation and premieres Friday at Nashville's Frist Center for the Visual Arts, where it will remain open to the public through Sept. 9. Read more, and see the Dolly pic, from The Tennesseanhere.
May 9: Deana And Dolly Duet I'm told "Strawberry Wine" songstress Deana Carter, who is in Knoxville performing for her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, this week, was interviewed on WIVK radio in the city Tuesday, revealing she has just recorded a track with Dolly to appear on Carter's next album, which should be out sometime this summer. She said she had dreamed of recording with Dolly for years and that the experience was a tremendous thrill. Thanks, Diane!
Yes, There Are More Pictures The next galleries of "non-Dolly" shots from opening weekend at Dollywood are now available in that section of the site here. These show you the Russian show.
Porter Project Profiled Porter Wagoner's next CD, Wagonmaster, earned an interview in Billboard's online edition Tuesday. The story included a mention of his upcoming Grand Ole Opry 50th anniversary celebration May 19 featuring Dolly (tickets here). Take a read here. And reserve your copy of the CD, in stores June 5, here!
Well Wishes, Hazel Our thoughts and prayers are with legendary country music journalist Hazel Smith, currently undergoing cancer treatment. CMT.com columnist Smith never seems to miss an opportunity to offer respect and admiration for Dolly in her column and in her television appearances, recently praising her while serving as one of the judges on the inaugural episode of the network's Karaoke Dokey show honoring Dolly's music. We wish her the speediest of recoveries. Read a letter from her about her current circumstances here. Cards and letters of support may be sent in care of CMT, 330 Commerce St., Nashville, TN 37201.
May 8: Stampede Marks Anniversary Dolly's Dixie Stampede dinner theatre this year celebrates two decades in business for its flagship Pigeon Forge venue, and to mark the occasion the establishment is exhibiting 20 hand-painted horse statues in several cities around Dolly's home county in East Tennessee: Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville. "We're so thankful to have enjoyed 20 successful years in this community, so we wanted to invite folks, especially children, to help us commemorate this special occasion," Dolly said in a press release. "We're just chompin' at the bit to show off their beautiful work because it really showcases some very talented folks in Sevier County." The statues, each of which measures five feet tall and weighs in at more than 100 pounds, were painted by local artists, schoolchildren and Boys and Girls Club members in each city. The primary piece in the collection is "A Dolly of a Horse," which sits in front of the Stampede. By Sevierville artist Robert Tino, the horse features an image of Dolly with her guitar. The horses will remain on display through Nov. 5, with each one sometime after that auctioned off to benefit charity. Each one painted by schoolchildren will support their school, each one by Boys and Girls Club members will support their club chapter and each one by a professional artist will support a local charity of the artist's choosing. Other Dolly-inspired equines are a "Horse of Many Colors" at Dollywood, "Heartsong" at the Pigeon Forge Ramada Inn and "Coat of Many Colors" at Sevierville's Wal-Mart. The Stampede is a unique experience in arenas featuring horses, buffalo, ostrich races, magic and more complete with a four-course meal. In addition to Pigeon Forge, the chain operates in Branson, Mo.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Orlando, Fla.
New Photos Up The first of several galleries of "non-Dolly" images from Dollywood's recent season opening have been posted to that section of the site here. The first two sets focus on the Irish show, "Rhythm of the Dance." More to come!
Dolly In Print Dolly gets a couple of shots in the new Country Weekly on newsstands this week. A photo of her in London after having placed her hands in the cement for the Wembley Square of Fame during her concerts there earlier this spring is featured as well as a separate photo with a note about her receiving the Songwriters' Hall of Fame's top honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, next month.
Contest Reminder Don't forget to enter for your chance to win Brenda Lee's Gospel Duets with Treasured Friends with Dolly on the song "This Old House." The deadline for entries is Wednesday night. Five fortunate fans will get a copy of the CD in their mailboxes! Enter here!
May 7: Overseas Chart Updates Dolly's first-ever British top 10 pop album is likely to soon fall out of the U.K. top 20, with the compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton dipping five spots this week to No. 20 on the chart overseas, it was announced. It holds its own Down Under, though, remaining steady at No. 4 country and still just slightly outside the Australian top 50 pop chart.
Dolly Shocks Interviewer For those who missed CMT Insider on Saturday, the network will repeat the episode featuring Dolly at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Monday. She opened the show from Dollywood, with clips of her at the opening of the new Mystery Mine ride, in her tour of the park and with host Katie Cook in the park's museum talking about the ride. Later in the show, she was shown in the museum meeting CMT's Dolly Karaoke Dokey winner and talking to Katie about the recent comments in the European press about her sexual fantasy that when she makes love to her husband she thinks of Keith Urban. She replied that she had seen the quote in the tabloids recently and had been joking when she said it, adding her usual playful "sort of!" She then exclaimed that her husband didn't mind whom she thought of as long as he was the one in bed with her! Quickly, she turned the tables and asked Katie for her sexual fantasy, which caused the host to blush and quickly fan herself in embarrassment, bringing great laughter from Dolly.
Dolly Inspires Teen What do you do when Dolly is a family friend and you want to put together a killer senior project about entertainment and the media? Well, you sit down with her for an interview! The Daily Advance in Elizabeth City, N.C., over the weekend profiled local teen Lacey Jean Reames, an aspiring singer herself, who has home movie footage of Trace Adkins and a seven-minute interview with Dolly included in her high school senior project. How did she land the interview? Her grandmother and mother both worked previously as Dolly's personal assistants, so Dolly watched her grow up. And how did Trace Adkins come into the picture? During her mom's stint as Dolly's assistant, with the family living in Nashville, the teen worked as a babysitter for Adkins. The project also required she shadow a mentor for a day, and she chose Ira Parker, Dolly's current personal assistant, following her around as she set up a Dolly concert. Read more here.
May 5: Dolly Says New Music May Come In Concert Keep an ear open for a sneak peak or two at Backwoods Barbie when Dolly performs later this month in Smokies Stadium, and look for her to return soon to Disney's Hannah Montana. Those are just a couple of the tid-bits she revealed during interviews Thursday with Knoxville radio stations, I'm told. During her live phone interview from Nashville on WNOX, she said she had just flown back from Los Angeles and spoke of how proud she is of the folks in her home community and that she's performing the May 20 concert to benefit her hometown hospital to do her part as a good citizen. She said the overall show will be nearly identical to the ones she had performed on her sold out spring European tour including the hits ("9 To 5," "Jolene," "Coat Of Many Colors," "I Will Always Love You") and Steve Summers helping with "I Dreamed About Elvis" and dancing during "Thank God I'm A Country Girl," but she added that she might throw in a new song or two from her upcoming CD, which she plans to have out later in the fall. She also took several calls from listeners, all of whom told her how much they love her and admire her, and touched on her Imagination Library literacy program. (Tickets remain available for the benefit concert here. ) Very shortly afterwards, a pre-recorded interview aired on WIVK. She covered most of the same topics. The disc jockeys commented on her long career, and she agreed saying that she'd been in the public eye so long that she's made everyone feel like they know her, but she joked that she wasn't really a big star until she guested on Hannah Montana as Miley's Aunt Dolly, adding that she is getting ready to shoot a return on the show very soon. A very special thanks to Maryellen for filling me in on the additional details from the interviews!
Latest Dollywood Images Posted More reader photos from the recent Dolly appearances at Dollywood are now available in the galleries for that section of the site here. Thanks to everyone who sent theirs in! Still to come, though, will be pictures from at least one more photographer and then photos of the performances without Dolly and, whenever I can get to it, a transcript of her remarks to the press. In related news, if you want to see the park's international visitors, you'd better hurry. The seventh annual Festival of Nations concludes on Monday. Headlined this year by the National Dance Company of Ireland and its "Rhythm of the Dance," the festival featured several other crafts and foods from the Emerald Isle under the theme "Celebrate Ireland." Visiting performers from other areas include those from Russia, Switzerland, Peru, the Ukraine, the Andes Mountains, Trinidad and Zambia.
Down In Ireland Continuing its descent across Europe, the greatest hits collection The Very Best Of Dolly Parton falls 13 points to No. 39 this week on the Irish pop albums charts, it was announced Friday.
Ratcheting Up The Camp Factor Dolly ranks very high in all-time camp factor according to British LGBT website Rainbow Network. They ranked her No. 2 of the campiest of the campiest in music. Coming in at No. 1 was Elvis Presley, and Dolly was followed by third-place David Bowie and fourth-place rockers Queen. The writer notes Dolly has transformed "her body into part of her body of work" with the wigs, costumes and cosmetic surgery but is quick to joke about herself. The only drawback, they note, "is that her multitasking accomplishments as a songwriter, composer, actress and philanthropist are sometimes overlooked." Read more here.
Tune In For Dolly! Don't forget it's a Dolly weekend on cable! First, the season opening of Dollywood and an interview with Dolly herself are the featured stories for Saturday's CMT Insider, which premieres at 2 p.m. Eastern. Then on Sunday, GAC premieres its Dolly episode of Master Series, featuring her videos in the first half and an interview in the second half, at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Contest Reminder You just have a few more days to enter for your chance to win Brenda Lee's Gospel Duets with Treasured Friends featuring Dolly on "This Old House." Entries will be accepted through Wednesday night, when five lucky winners will be drawn. Visit the main page for the contest here for all the details and to submit your name!
Birthday Greetings A happy belated birthday to Dolly's little sis, Stella, who turned 58 on Friday!
May 4: 'Very Best' Gone In Sweden, Denmark Dolly's big hit overseas appears to be winding down, as The Very Best Of Dolly Parton falls off a couple of charts this week. The disc, which peaked at No. 1 pop in Sweden, drops off that nation's top 20 albums tally, it was announced Thursday, down from No. 17 last week. The compilation CD meets the same fate in Demark, where it had peaked at No. 2 pop and rested at No. 12 last week. In Norway, the album dips one to No. 7 pop.
Some Gains Stateside The album containing Dolly's most recent No. 1, "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Brad Paisley, his Time Well Wasted, rises a little in the May 12 charts Billboard released Thursday. The disc gains two spots to No. 18 country in its 89th chart week, also picking up three to No. 93 pop and five to No. 94 comprehensive. Up north, the set dips two to No. 29 Canadian country. Martina McBride's Timeless, featuring Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," falls six to No. 62 country in its 80th chart week, dropping 14 to No. 42 country in Canada. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, featuring "Islands In The Stream," gains two to No. 57 country in its 67th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with the Dolly collaboration "Heartbreaker's Alibi," falls off the 15-position bluegrass albums chart, down from No. 15 last week, its 47th. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts rebounds three places to No. 1 country and gains one to No. 8 pop in its 76th week with 44,000 copies sold, while McBride's Waking Up Laughing remains steady at No. 2 country but slips four to No. 9 pop selling 37,000 units in its fourth week.
More Dolly Galleries Added As regular readers have certainly come to expect by now, the next set of reader-submitted images of Dolly at Dollywood last month have been loaded into that section of the site here tonight. Look for even more to come!
Talk On Film About Dolly And Library The producers for The Book Lady, a documentary about Dolly and her Imagination Library literacy program, is seeking Dolly's biggest Canadian fans. The crew will be in Toronto and Niagara Falls on May 12 (while Dolly is in town for her three sold-out concerts) to shoot interviews with fans about their admiration for Dolly and their knowledge of her project. If you believe you might be Dolly's biggest Canadian fan or are even a fan from another country (including the U.S.) traveling to Canada for the concerts or if you have a child who adores Dolly, e-mail the producers at email@example.com to inquire about scheduling a possible interview.
In other Library news:
A reader wrote a Letter to the Editor which appeared in Thursday's The Tennessean in Nashville urging residents to protest this month's planned postal rate hike, which is expected to dramatically increase mailing costs for non-profit organizations, including Dolly's program. Read the letter here.
A unique project to raise money for the Library in Ionia, Mass., using "Grots," models of fictional creatures from a far-away planet created by local schoolchildren, was covered Thursday in The Sentinel-Standardhere.
Fund-raising efforts in Elmore County, Ala., to support the program there were profiled Thursday in The Montgomery Advertiserhere.
And the Library's work in seven counties in Florida's Panhandle made Wakulla.com, an online newspaper in Wakulla County, here Thursday.
Dolly Promotes Concert On Local Radio Thanks to Maryellen in Knoxville for alerting me that Dolly took to the airwaves Thursday to promote her May 20 benefit concert. The show at Smokies Stadium outside of Sevierville, which will raise funds to help with building a new state-of-the-art hospital in her hometown, was plugged in telephone interviews with The Hallerin Hilton Hill Show on talk radio station WNOX 100.3 in the city, followed by another interview about it, which aired on WIVK 107.7. Dollywood also got into the act, sending out an e-mail to its mailing list and season passholders reminding them of the event. Tickets for the concert remain available here.
Dolly Talks About Larry Comments from Dolly praising interviewer Larry King on his 50th anniversary as a broadcaster were interspersed among classic interview clips and tales from other celebrities who have sat across from the bespectacled host when a two-hour program honoring him aired Thursday night on CNN. "He's the king!" she exclaimed at one point. The program, which was originally scheduled to air last month but was pre-empted by coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre, repeats several times in coming days (see full schedule in TV listings on the left-hand side of the news page). In related news, I just learned that Dolly is one of the celebrities whose past interviews with King are excerpted in last month's three-DVD set Larry King Live: The Greatest Interviews. Get your copy here!
May 3: Brenda Lee CD Up For Grabs Thanks to SonyBMG's Provident Label Group, Dollymania is pleased to offer you a chance to win your very own copy of "Little Miss Dynamite" Brenda Lee's new album, Gospel Duets with Treasured Friends, complete with a Dolly duet on "This Old House!" Other guests on the project include George Jones, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis, Martina McBride and more. Entries will be accepted only through next Wednesday night with five winners to be selected. Click here to enter!
Latest Photos Available You know what time it is! Time for more reader-submitted pictures from Dolly's recent Dollywood appearances! Take a look at tonight's new galleries here, and we're still not done yet!
BMI Honors Dolly The Songwriter This news is actually a few weeks old, but thanks to Tony for directing me to it! The Board of Directors for the songwriting registry BMI last month took time from the annual National Association of Broadcasters' directors dinner at the Bellagio in Las Vegas to honor Dolly. She was presented with a plaque saluting her for a "lifetime of brilliant performances that have delighted and entertained broadcast audiences across America." The resolution recognized her for the degree to which her songwriting has helped shape American music and culture. BMI President Del Bryant commented: "It is rare that a songwriter of such immense talent is also able to deliver those songs on record, on the air and in concert in a way that thrills audiences and has brought her to the pinnacle of professional success in our industry. The management and Board of Directors chose her for this salute because of her impact across all media and genres, and the diversity and scope of her talent as a songwriter, recording artist, actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist." See images from the event here.
'IWALY' Makes TV Show I'm told Dolly the songwriter got a nice spot on Gilmore Girls this week, as the character Lorelai used "I Will Always Love You," performed during a karaoke segment, to poignantly express her feelings upon her daughter's graduation, although the performance takes on a more emotional tone when her ex walks in. Entertainment Weeklyhere called it "the YouTube moment of the whole season." And, in fact, the clip is already on YouTube here.
Re-Issues Get Press Dolly's recent expanded re-issues (Coat Of Many Colors, My Tennessee Mountain Home, Jolene) continue to get noticed by critics around the country. This week, Seattle's The Stranger offered here one of the most eloquent critiques of the trio that I've seen, holding its highest praise for her classic Jolene, opining that the disc: "is consistent in its inconsistency, mirroring the times of a woman trying to be a true outlaw in a male-dominated era evolving into outlaw country, and bookends a transition period that is fascinating artistically as well as academically." Down in Ft. Myers, Fla., The News-Press says here that the three albums "make it clear that while Parton's sometimes giddy personality and outrageous fashion and figure have captured a lot of attention, she's also one of the finest writers and singers in the business."
'Opry,' Concert Tix Still For Sale If you want to see Dolly this month, tickets remain available for a couple of appearances, but the longer you wait the further back you'll have to sit. Of course, her trio of concerts at Niagara Falls next week have been sold out for months, but plenty of seats remain available for her May 19 appearance on The Grand Ole Opry to help celebrate former duet partner Porter Wagoner's 50th anniversary on the program and her May 20 fund-raiser concert in Sevierville, Tenn., to benefit her hometown hospital. This week, tickets on the main floor for the first half of the Opry dwindled down to just a few single-seat tickets, with many seats in the lower balcony also gone. Groups of seats in the back of the main floor remain available, however, for the second half of the program. Those are available on Ticketmaster or by calling 800-SEE-OPRY. Also this week, the main floor seats on the field of Smokies Stadium for the May 20 show finally sold out except for a few single-seat tickets, although a good number of tickets appear to remain available in the stands. Get those here!
Dolly Helps Eagle Day Thanks in part to Dolly, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously approved a special resolution designating June 20 as "American Eagle Day." Dolly was one of several notables who had submitted letters of support for the resolution, joined by pal Porter Wagoner, animal expert Jack Hanna, groups of schoolchildren and wildlife organizations. The effort was spearheaded by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation, which is headquartered at Dollywood, where it houses the world's largest sanctuary for unreleasable bald eagles and breeds them to help repopulate the species. June 20 marks the 225th anniversary of the naming of the bird as the nation's official symbol and is also the day it is scheduled to be removed from the Endangered Species List. Similar legislation is expected to soon pass in the House of Representatives as well. Read more here.
May 2: Mixer: Dolly Dance Disc In The Works Dolly is working on a new dance remix CD, its producer has revealed online. Allen Morgan says in an interview with arts school Full Sail, where he studied, that he had become friends with a member of Dolly's band a few years ago and had given him a techno remix of "9 To 5" which he had created. A year and a half later, the friend played it for Dolly, who wanted to recruit the young DJ for a new project. The story notes that he has been working with her for about a year producing "dance-inspired tracks" for a CD, although "details of the project are still tightly guarded." He adds, though, that the music is "so different from anything she's ever done" and that he hopes the project, when released, will open Dolly to a whole new set of fans. Read the full article here. In addition, he notes on his official website that he is presently still working "in the studio producing a Dolly Parton remix album," which he began in June. In addition, Morgan also remixed the music used for the opening of Dolly's concerts on her recent European tour, and a portion of that audio streams on his site when you visit. Dolly first entered the dance world with an extended remix of her disco track "Baby I'm Burnin'," which was a club hit back in 1978. Success also came with a remix of her "Peace Train" cover, which went to No. 4 on the dance sales chart and No. 23 for club play in 1997 and spawned several overseas authorized remixes of her recording of the Cat Stevens classic, although an EP featuring remixes of "Two Doors Down" and "Walking On Sunshine" two years later failed to recapture that success. Thanks to reader Tony for digging up the sites with the info on the new project!
Your Next Sets Of Reader Pics Are Up The next group of reader-submitted Dolly photos from Dollywood have been uploaded to the galleries for those festivities here, and, yes, more are still to come! Thanks again to everyone who sent theirs in!
Dolly On CMT This Weekend Dolly will be the featured guest on this weekend's CMT Insider, the cable network announced Tuesday. The episode, which premieres at 2 p.m. Eastern Saturday with repeats Sunday and Monday, will include a story on the new Mystery Mine coaster at Dollywood as well as an interview with Dolly herself, in which she is said to address the recent European press reports on her bedroom fantasies.
'Pimp' Still Getting Ink It's been more than a year since Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia bested Dolly at the Oscars, but the upset is still being discussed. Tony Norman, an African-American columnist for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this week blasts the band's winning song, "It's Hard Out There For A Pimp," and similar stereotypical music as insulting to his race. About the Oscar competition, he notes: "it seemed unlikely that the establishment-minded voters of the Academy would disrespect Dolly Parton by giving the Oscar she deserved to the creators of a modern-day minstrel song.
As if to prove that I know absolutely nothing about the world and how it operates, Three 6 Mafia won in the 'Best Song' category." Read his entire column here.
May 1: Take A Peek At Reader Pics The first galleries of reader-submitted images from Dolly's recent Dollywood appearances are now available in that section of the site here. Several additional readers have sent theirs in, and they are being posted in order of submission with many more to come throughout the week! Thanks to everyone who e-mailed their images! Image at left is courtesy Jo-Ann Schmidli. Used with permission.
All Hail The Queen Of Country You may recall reading here about a Dolly tribute show fund-raiser out in Oregon in a few weeks, well New York is getting their own as well. The Zipper Factory, formerly The Zipper Theatre, will host "Dolly Or Bust" at 8 p.m. May 21 as a benefit show for Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP). Although the list of performers has yet to be announced, it is said to include Broadway stars, recording artists and local singers. Tickets are $30 each.