June 30: Paper: Dolly On Tap For Bluegrass Fest Although it has yet to be independently confirmed by Dollymania, The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday reported here that Dolly has been added to the line-up for October's free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in town. The concerts, now in their fifth year, run from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2, in the Speedway Meadows of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Admission is free, and there are no tickets required for entry. The festival's Web site does not yet list Dolly on its roster of performers, but others scheduled to appear include Dolly collaborators Emmylou Harris, Rhonda Vincent, Ricky Skaggs and Ralph Stanley, bluegrass stars the Del McCoury Band, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Gillian Welch and Hazel Dickens, and alt-country performers Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle, among others. Look for more details here as they become available.
Library Partnership Ends First Year The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, Tennessee's state partnership with Dolly's Imagination Library aiming to bring the literacy program to every county in the state, celebrated its first anniversary this week. According to a press release, in its first year the program is already available to 70 percent of the state's 375,000 eligible children, whose parents may sign up to receive one free, hardcover, age-appropriate book per month from birth to age 5. "The Imagination Library has developed such a devoted following so quickly, and they have built this program in counties across the state with such enthusiasm," said Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-Tenn.), whom Dolly affectionately calls "King Phil." "But that really isn't surprising when you think about it – Tennesseans just know a good thing when they see it." The partnership has led to the program being adopted thus far in 60 of the state's 95 counties, with 25 additional counties currently in the planning stages. Using $2 million in state funds, it provides matching grants to help counties defray the local costs of offering the program to its children, roughly $27 per child annually. All administrative costs are handled by the Dollywood Foundation. Including the 60 affiliates in Tennessee, the program is active in more than 500 communities across 40 states nationwide. "We know that the very first years of our childhood are the most fundamental to our development as adults," Bredesen added. "Our partnership with the Imagination Library builds on that fact, and is focused on seeing books and reading become not only a family tradition, but a real cornerstone of each Tennessee community." Dolly started the program in her native Sevier County, Tenn., in 1996, making it available nationwide in late 1999. At the end of 2003, it distributed its 1 millionth book. Today, it issues more than 2.2 million books annually. Read an additional story based on the press release here from Knoxville television station WBIR. Image at left of Bredesen reading to Franklin County Imagination Library members at the county's public library last month. Courtesy the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation. Used with permission.
Lovin' The 'Essential Dolly' Blogcritics on Wednesday published a great review of the Dolly compilation CD The Essential Dolly Parton, released by BMG Sony this week, although it also offers several suggestions of some of her more recent work that the reviewer says no collection would be complete without. Noting that Dolly is one of the "couple dozen greatest musical artists in the history of American popular music" and one of the "half dozen top songwriters in country music history," the reviewer says the two-disc set "rates as probably the best Dolly Parton starter kit going." He adds: "It won't cover all your Dolly needs, but it mostly pretty well covers her 20th century solo career." Read more here, and get your copy of the collection here.
Aussies Make Interview Available The Australian Broadcasting Company's radio division on Wednesday made available online an MP3 version of a fairly lengthy telephone interview Dolly did in March 2003 to promote her CD Halos & Horns, which was released the previous summer. Take a listen here.
June 29: ABC: Dolly On CMA Special At least one Dolly performance from this month's CMA Music Festival in Nashville is expected to be included in a network television special airing in five weeks, it was announced Tuesday. Although a preliminary press release from the Country Music Association on Monday announcing the date and time of the broadcast only listed Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts and Gretchen Wilson as confirmed for the special, promotional materials released by ABC Television on Tuesday stated that it will also include performances by Dolly, Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Sugarland, Keith Urban, Lee Ann Womack, Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood, as well as additional yet-to-be-announced entertainers who participated in the four-day festival earlier this month. The two-hour CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party special, culled from 70 hours of live performances before 130,000 fans, will premiere on ABC at 9 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 2. During her segment of the festival's opening night concert, Dolly performed "Train, Train," "Orange Blossom Special," "Viva Las Vegas" and "Rocky Top" with The Grascals. No word yet on which song or songs may be included in the televised portion. Image at left of Dolly at the festival provided by the Country Music Association. Used with permission.
Once A Hottie, Always A Hottie! The AARP's Modern Maturity magazine's July-August issue has announced its new list of "The Hot Fifty," its judging of the world's sexiest celebrities over the age of 50 as part of its sex survey, and, of course, Dolly made the cut. In the category "Coolest Crooner," Dolly shows up alongside Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Sting, Julio Iglesias, Harry Belafonte and David Bowie. Others in the publication's top 50 include Kim Basinger, Pierce Brosnan, Bill Clinton, Liam Neeson, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart and Denzel Washington, among others. Readers of the magazine may also rank its selections in each category via online voting here. As of Tuesday evening, 59-year-old Dolly held a strong lead in the "crooners" category with nearly half of all votes. Tina Turner was second with 15 percent.
European Chart Update Dolly's duet of "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" with Roy Rivers slips two places to No. 4 in the new European CMA country singles chart, reflecting airplay through June 3. The song had peaked at No. 1 for four weeks. In individual countries, the duet falls out of the top 20 for country airplay in Belgium, down from No. 17; Germany, down from No. 10; and Holland, down from No. 19. Get the CD here!
She Blinded Me With Science: Music Mansion Gets A Buyer Strange science is coming to a former Dolly-owned building in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported Tuesday. Wonder Works, an interactive science-themed entertainment center in Orlando, Fla., has selected the city where Dollywood is located for its second facility. The $15 million-$18 million center will be housed in the former Music Mansion, a complex built by The Dollywood Co. to house entertainer James Rogers' show in 1994. The park sold the theater to controversial singer Anita Bryant in 1999, but it closed two years later when lack of attendance forced Bryant into bankruptcy and has remained vacant since. Developers tell the newspaper that they anticipate up to 800,000 visitors a year in the 50,000-square-foot center, expected to open next summer. For comparison, Dollywood, Tennessee's most-visited tourist attraction, sees about 2.5 million visitors a year. Read more here.
June 28: The Latest Tid-Bits On 'Days' CD Aussie hunk Keith Urban is thrilled to be cutting a track with Dolly for her upcoming Those Were The Days CD. On his official Web site here, he says: "I'm looking forward to it. I really am. I grew up playing a lot of Dolly's songs, so it's still a little bit surreal to get contacted by her about coming in and performing with her. I think we're gonna do it this month. She's doing a lot of old standards and we're doing 'Twelfth Of Never,' bluegrass style, of course." Members of his online fan club, Monkeyville, can listen to an audio clip on the site of him talking about the project. Also, Manhattan's Avatar Studios has posted a shot here of Dolly with producer Steve Buckingham and jazz darling Norah Jones in the studio there, apparently cutting Jones' contribution to the project, which is reportedly a duet with Dolly on "Where Have All The Flowers Gone." Thanks, Tony!
Bluegrass Charts Heat Up Bluegrass Unlimited on Monday released its July bluegrass charts, and several Dolly-related projects remain on the tally. Her duet with The Grascals on "Viva Las Vegas" moves up four places to No. 16 for the month, while her duet with Randy Kohrs on "It Looked Good On Paper" gains two spots to No. 25. The CD The Grascals rises two notches to No. 5, while Kohrs' I'm Torn slips one to No. 11. All projects are at their chart peak thus far, except Kohrs's album, which had peaked at No. 6 in May.
Another Ky. County Gets Library It's no accident, but Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program is coming to Carroll County, Ky., thanks to the Educational Excellence Foundation of Carroll County and the local school district, The Madison Courier reported here Monday.
'Miss' Takes A Tumble As would be expected the weekend after it was released on DVD, Sandra Bullock's Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous, featuring its Dolly cameo, plummeted at the box office, dropping 24 spots to No. 48 for last weekend's U.S. gross. Taking in just $45,000 for the weekend and about $55,000 for the week, its American cumulative total now stands at $48.4 million. It saw about the same amount of action overseas, with $100,000 in ticket sales bringing that to $52.9 million for a combined total since release of $101.3 million.
Older Galleries Updated Thanks to a couple of readers, Scott and Chris, several of the site's recent photo galleries have been updated. These include this year's Dollywood Season Opening galleries here, last year's Dollywood Harvest Celebration galleries here and last year's "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour galleries here. Thanks, guys!
June 27: A Few More KidsFest Pics Submitted Thanks to Scott and Chris for sending a few shots from this month's KidsFest opening at Dollywood. They have been added to that section of the site here. Scott also sent in several images from other appearances over the past year or so, and look for those to be added in coming days. Thanks, guys!
June 24: 'Viva' Continues Chart Run Dolly and The Grascals' "Viva Las Vegas" is still a top country seller, getting a 25th week in the top 10 country singles sales chart in the July 2 tally released by Billboard on Thursday. The song inches down one notch for the week to No. 8, but the CD which contains the duet, The Grascals, falls back out of the 15-position bluegrass albums chart, down from No. 11 last week in its 12th on the chart. Ralph Stanley's gospel collection, Shine On, with its Dolly-written title track, remains steady at No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart in its second week, and Rhonda Vincent's Ragin' Live, featuring her cover of "Jolene," also remains steady at No. 3 bluegrass in its 14th chart week. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, with Dolly on "Creepin' In," drops five places to No. 191 pop in its 71st chart week. Toby Keith's Honkytonk University remains at No. 1 country and No. 7 pop in its fifth week, while Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today remains at No. 2 country and rises two to No. 14 pop in its 38th week. The American Idol finalists' cover of the former Dolly and Julio Iglesias duet "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" drops one to No. 4 on the pop singles sales chart in its 10th week.
KidsFest Photos Added What may be the final Dollymania gallery from last weekend's KidsFest kick-off at Dollywood has been added to that section of the site here showing some non-Dolly images from the events.
Library Video Being Produced KidsFest last weekend was also the annual Homecoming Weekend for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, where representatives of the program's participating communities are Dolly's honored guests at the park. And Michigan's Bay City Times reports that some of the visitors were involved in filming a new promotional video on the program including their own local school superintendent. The newspaper said he was chosen because the Michigan chapter is seeing 50 percent enrollment in the program, compared to the nationwide average 20 percent enrollment seen in the first year. The superintendent also said his goal for the program's results is to see a 90 percent "readiness rate" for children in the community entering kindergarten, compared to his community's current rate of about 35 percent. It was noted that a Georgia community raised its readiness rate from that same level to 90 percent after three years of participation in the program. Read more here.
R&B Artist Covers 'Sparrow' Dolly's Appalachian ballad "Little Sparrow" is getting a soulful treatment, it was announced this week. Bettye LaVette, known as "The Great Lady Of Soul," has recorded an R&B cover of the song for her upcoming album, I've Got My Own Hell To Raise, due out Sept. 27 on the Anti-Records label, Billboard magazine reported in its online edition here Wednesday. Having charted her first R&B hit in 1962, LaVette continued with moderate success in the genre throughout the 1960s and 1970s, performed the lead role in Broadway's Bubbling Brown Sugar, worked with Dolly producer Steve Buckingham in the '80s and has enjoyed a steady comeback in the past few years. Last year she was honored by Living Blues magazine as the Best Female Blues Artist of 2004 and took home the coveted Memphis W.C. Handy Award for Best Comeback Blues Artist of 2004. The disc will also feature covers of songs written by Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple and alt-country artist Lucinda Williams, among others.
Lynne Loves Dolly Dolly is "one of the pioneers of women in songwriting," says singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne in an interview published Wednesday on CMT.com here. Lynne, who recorded Dolly's "The Seeker" on the 2003 tribute CD Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs Of Dolly Parton, says it was a great honor to be included in that project. "I think Dolly's the greatest star in the business, of all time," she continues. "She's got it all -- the talent, the look, the personality, the sense of humor, the drive. She's everything I would ever want to be."
Library Adds Another Tenn. County Sumner County is the latest in Tennessee to join Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, The Gallatin News Examiner reports here. The paper states that nearly 9,000 children live in the county of the birth-to-5-years age eligible to receive free monthly books from the program, currently active in more than 500 communities across 40 states.
June 22: Dolly Talks Of Tour, Upcoming CD Although she's apparently keeping the final details quiet until they're finalized, Dolly has revealed to Dollymania a little more about both her upcoming tour and CD. "The 'Vintage Tour' will start mid-August and will include around 40 dates," she tells the site. It is being promoted by House of Blues Entertainment Inc., the same group responsible for her sold-out "Halos & Horns" Tour back in 2002, but will extend beyond just the HOB venues. In addition, she reveals that her Sept. 24-25 benefit concerts at Dollywood will "be basically the same show, so fans who have already bought tickets will get a real bonus." She says the concert will include "lots" of her older classic songs as well as her covers of older songs made famous by other performers, hence its "Vintage" title. As for the album, Those Were The Days, she confirms it should be in stores in October. Although some tracks expected to appear on the album have been mentioned in the press (including "Imagine," "Me And Bobby McGee," "If I Were A Carpenter," "Twelfth Of Never" and "Where Have All The Flowers Gone"), a final track listing has yet to be released. And while she's not saying which song it is, Dolly says she's included one public domain tune on the project which she'll put her own stamp on. Thanks! Also, kudos to The Daily Smoky Mountain Herald in Dolly's own Sevier County, Tenn., for its great coverage on both projects from Dolly's CMA Music Festival backstage chat with the press. See their full article from last Tuesday's edition here.
Dolly In Print Although nearly two months old now, a photograph of Dolly and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry from Dolly's April hosting gig on the country music institution gets a spot in the July 4 issue of Country Weekly on newsstands this week.
And Closer To Her Home I'm told Dolly is featured in the new issue of Blue Ridge Magazine, which also includes a contest to win a trip to Dollywood! Thanks, Brandon!
Another Tenn. Community Signs On For Library As was expected, the Benton County Commission on Monday night approved that Tennessee county's signing up for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, which provides one free, hardcover, age-appropriate book per month for every child birth to age 5 whose parents sign up in a participating community. Read more from The Camden Chroniclehere.
CMT Notes Tour, Album, Jokes CMT Insider on Saturday broadcast the majority of Dolly's brief Q&A with the press from her night at the CMA Music Festival earlier this month as the show's second-lead story of the week. As has been previously reported, she announced she plans to hit the road again this fall (specifically around August after rehearsing throughout July) and release her new CD of classic folk-rock cover tunes, Those Were The Days, around October, with special guests including Keith Urban on "The Twelfth Of Never." She also noted that the outfit she had on backstage was made from an old swimsuit and pretended she was going to strip to show the press her swimsuit before saying: "No, you're not gonna see me in a bathing suit. I'm as white as Bill and Chelsea Clinton," later adding when asked if she intends to fulfill her one-liner that she'll pose for Playboy on her 100th birthday, "Maybe in my bathing suit." Look for additional details on the tour and album here soon.
Lending A Helping Hand Dolly is among several celebrities who have donated an autographed wine glass for a charity auction to benefit Performing Arts Studio West, an Inglewood, Calif., center providing artistic training for individuals with disabilities. The auction will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at The Garden of Eden in Hollywood. If not taken at the auction, the glass, which features a butterfly in addition to Dolly's signature, will be sold afterward. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and see a photo of the glass here. Thanks!
Dolly Chats Up Shania Dolly was featured throughout the new episode of A&E's Biography: Shania Twain, which premiered Friday night. Cited by Twain as her idol, Dolly offered commentary from both that perspective and as an expert observer of the younger singer's career. "She looked up to me," Dolly said. "I was her mentor. She tells me stuff like that, and it just makes me tear up because you never know what you're going to mean to somebody." She also called Twain one of the greatest songwriters in country music and discussed the importance that singing one's own songs is to singer-songwriters such as herself and Twain, the attention paid to Twain's physical attributes (showing her navel and sharing her characteristic of having a very small waist), her humility at fame and how some reacted to her crossing over to pop, among other subjects. The show is not currently scheduled for a repeat broadcast, but they do tend to show up again and again months after they originally air, so keep an eye out for it returning sometime in the future!
'Miss' DVD Reminder Don't forget that Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous, the Sandra Bullock hit with a hilarious Dolly cameo, makes its way to DVD store shelves on Tuesday. Get your copy here with the soundtrack and here without the soundtrack. In related news, the film topped $100 million in worldwide gross last week. It came in at No. 24 in U.S. cinema standings over the weekend, earning $160,000. Combined with about $250,000 for the week, cumulative American ticket sales reached $48.3 million. Overseas, it took in another $1 million for the week to push that total to $52.8 million, bringing its combined worldwide gross to $101.1 million.
'Viva' Still On The Chart "Viva Las Vegas" by Dolly and The Grascals earns a 24th week on the country single sales chart in the June 25 numbers released Thursday by Billboard as it slips three places to No. 7 for the week. The album on which the song appears, The Grascals, gets a 12th week on the bluegrass albums chart, dropping two spots to No. 11. Ralph Stanley's new gospel CD, Shine On, featuring his cover of the Dolly-penned title track, debuts at No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart, while Rhonda Vincent's Ragin' Live, with its live version of "Jolene," remains steady at No. 3 bluegrass in its 13th chart week. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, featuring Dolly on "Creepin' In," inches up five notches to No. 186 pop in its 70th chart week. Toby Keith's Honkytonk University remains at No. 1 country and falls three to No. 7 pop in its fourth week, while Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today remains at No. 2 country and drops three to No. 16 pop in its 37th week. The American Idol finalists' cover of the former Dolly and Julio Iglesias duet "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" remains steady at No. 3 on the pop singles sales chart in its ninth week.
More On Dolly's Library In Tennessee Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program was in the news again Wednesday, with a lengthy profile in the Knoxville News-Sentinelhere, which notes that nearly a quarter of all eligible children in the very large Tennessee county have signed up. It was also noted in The Camden Chroniclehere that the Benton County Board of Commissioners is expected on Monday to authorize that Tennessee county's addition to the program. Dolly's literacy program provides one free, hardcover book per month to every child birth to age 5 in a participating community whose parents sign up. It is active in more than 500 communities across 40 states and distributes more than 2 million books annually.
Mindy Talks Dolly Dolly pal Mindy Smith tells Richmond.com this week that she walks a fine line between being a fellow artist/collaborator and a major fan of Dolly's. You may recall that Smith's debut single was "Jolene" from the tribute collection Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs Of Dolly Parton, which Dolly liked so much that she recorded harmony vocals for the song as a bonus cut on Smith's debut album, One Moment More. Read the interview here.
Stella And Strippers? Dolly's sister Stella, a star in her own right in the Christian music genre, is supposedly in talks to possibly host a reality television program about strippers, the gossip column of The Philadelphia Daily News reported Wednesday. Read more here.
June 15: More On CD, Tour Planning Confirmed Cable network Great American Country (GAC) on Tuesday afternoon posted some more information on Dolly's upcoming CD on its Web site here. The report quotes her as having said in a "chat" with members of the press backstage at last week's CMA Music Festival that the next album, Those Were the Days (formerly called Blue Smoke), will be out in October. The network also said she announced that Tommy James joins her on a cover of "Crimson And Clover" (a song he co-wrote and originally recorded with his band, The Shondells) and that the song that previously-reported guest Keith Urban duets on is the classic "Twelfth of Never" (which she had previously performed on her mid-1970s television show). An earlier report on the site listed Norah Jones as singing with her on "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and Sarah McLachlan as another likely guest performer, but those items were removed shortly after being first posted, suggesting that part of the GAC report may not have been correct. In related news, Dollymania has independently confirmed earlier reports that the project's title has, indeed, changed to Those Were the Days and that Dolly is in the early stages of planning a new fall tour. Hopefully there will be some additional details available in coming days. Thanks!
June 14: CMT Will Air Part Of Dolly's CMA Announcement CMT announced Monday that its next episode of CMT Insider next weekend will feature excerpts from Dolly's pre-concert press conference at last week's CMA Music Festival where she reportedly said she is planning a new fall tour and finishing her new CD, the name of which has apparently changed from Blue Smoke to Those Were The Days. The show premieres at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Saturday and repeats on Sunday and Monday.
A&E 'Biography' On Shania Features Dolly That's not the only new Dolly on TV next weekend (which happens to also be the opening of this year's KidsFest at Dollywood). Cable channel A&E at 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday will premiere a new Biography episode on Dolly-admirer Shania Twain which will feature new interviews with Dolly, Elton John, Bob Oermann and more.
June 13: Reporter: Dolly CD, Tour Getting Ready Although the information has yet to be independently confirmed, Nashville entertainment reporter Jimmy Carter apparently revealed on his nightly news report Friday that Dolly announced at a CMA Music Festival press conference that she has been in the studio working to finish her next CD, its title has changed from Blue Smoke to Those Were The Days, and she is in the preliminary stages of planning a "Vintage" tour this fall. Carter's original report was recapped online at fan site Dolly.net Friday night. A longtime country music celebrity journalist, Carter has a nightly entertainment report on local television in Nashville, although it is not available online and no other reporters have published the news. Consequently, the accuracy of the information has yet to be determined, but look for more details here as they become available.
Dolly Cuts Another Duet Dolly has recorded yet another guest appearance on another artist's album. Her Blue Valley Songbird co-star Billy Dean told The Cadillac News in Cadillac, Mich., over the weekend that she has recorded "Silent Night" with him for his upcoming holiday album. "People don't realize that she is 20 times the recording artist that I am," he told the paper. "It's either great or stellar -- those are the choices you have." Read the story here.
Reba Loves Dolly In an interview from Saturday's The Oregonian newspaper, Reba mentioned how great it was to work with her longtime idol, Dolly, on a recent episode of her television show and discusses a few other Dolly facts. Read it here.
'Class Of' Honors Dolly Dolly showed up briefly on CMT's Class of 1975 Friday night, which profiled important events in country music from that year. As was previously reported, Dolly's segment focused on her winning the CMA Female Vocalist Of The Year award, which the narrator said was her first major solo win (although, actually, she had won the Music City News and Cash Box magazine awards for Most Promising Female Artist back in 1968 and several songwriting awards from BMI and the Nashville Songwriter's Association throughout the early 1970s, but I guess they didn't consider those "major"). The show approaches the year as if it were captured in a high school scrapbook, so they titled Dolly's portion "Prom Queen." In addition to a handful of archival photos, she was shown singing "Love Is Like A Butterfly" and accepting her CMA trophy with: "Thank you. I hope I deserve this because it means more to me than I can ever say." She went on in the speech to thank former duet partner and producer Porter Wagoner, "who has worked very, very hard on my career." The pop-up notes during the show had one error, though. They stated that by 1975 she had logged three solo No. 1 singles, but actually she had scored four by then (five if duets are counted). The show repeats several times over the next few weeks.
June 11: Dolly Brings Cheers For CMA Appearance I'm told Dolly was "amazing" in her four-song set during Thursday night's CMA Music Festival in Nashville and the audience loved her. With The Grascals, she performed "Train, Train," "Orange Blossom Special," "Viva Las Vegas" and "Rocky Top" before the crowd welcomed Lee Ann Womack and Keith Urban. Donning a yellow fitted jacket and skirt, cowgirl boots and a large rhinestone "D" belt buckle, she thanked her fans for their continued support and loyalty, telling them she loves what she does and repeating her oft-told joke about "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!" She added that she was having "a big time" in town and was very excited about the festival. Thanks, Christian! See more photos on Dollymania from her performance here! In addition, CMT's coverage is available here, including three Dolly shots in its photo flip-book, and one picture each is available from The Tennesseanhere and Reuters here. Image at left provided by the Country Music Association. Used with permission.
KidsFest Is Coming! We're less than a week away from the third annual KidsFest at Dollywood! This year's festival, which kicks off next Friday at the park, features the addition of "Dolly's Imagination Playhouse" from Penguin Group USA, which will bring to life three tales from Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program in musical theatre including songs written by Dolly herself! Other offerings include a live stage show from Clifford the Big Red Dog, a SpongeBob SquarePants Turbo Action Ride, MGM's Mad Science Movie Magic, the premiere of the new VeggieTales video Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson's Hairbrush, ASA Extreme Sports and more. Plus, Dolly is expected to be on the grounds for appearance(s) on Friday. (And don't forget that a few tickets remain available at 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for her Sept. 24 and 25 benefit concerts!)
Dolly On CMT If you're catching this update early enough on Friday night, be sure to see CMT's Class of 1975, premiering at 8 p.m. Eastern and showcasing the year's events in country music. Apparently, Dolly will be included for her winning the CMA's Female Vocalist Of The Year trophy that year for the first time on her seventh nomination for the award (she had previously won three vocal group and duo honors with Porter Wagoner). Others on the show will be Conway Twitty's Russian version of "Hello Darlin'," Hank Williams Jr.'s mountain climbing accident, George Jones and Tammy Wynette's divorce, Charlie Rich's flaming reaction to John Denver winning an award, Emmylou Harris' debut single, Willie Nelson successful year, Reba's first record deal, Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy," Marty Robbins' NASCAR crashes, Freddy Fender's big hit, Minnie Pearl's induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and more. The episode repeats throughout the next week (see TV listings at left).
June 10: Thanks To GAC Repeat, 'Viva' Jumps Up Chart Dolly and The Grascals' "Viva Las Vegas" apparently got a push from the Memorial Day Weekend repeat of their performance of the tune on Great American Country's The Grand Ole Opry Live, as the song gains five spots to No. 4 in its 23rd week on the country single sales chart in the June 18 figures released Thursday by Billboard. The album on which the song appears, The Grascals, also re-enters the bluegrass albums chart for an 11th week, coming in at No. 9. Rhonda Vincent's Ragin' Live, featuring her concert cover of "Jolene," slips one place to No. 3 bluegrass in its 12th chart week. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, with the Dolly duet "Creepin' In," inches down one to No. 191 pop in its 69th chart week. Toby Keith's Honkytonk University remains at No. 1 country and gains one notch to No. 4 pop in its third week, while Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today remains at No. 2 country and slips one to No. 13 pop in its 36th week. And after seven weeks at No. 1 on the pop singles sales chart, the American Idol finalists' cover of the former Dolly and Julio Iglesias duet "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" falls two to No. 3.
'Top 100 Duets' Coverage Begins Stories started to make their way to other media on Thursday about Dolly's No. 1 spot with Kenny Rogers in CMT's 100 Greatest Duets concert Wednesday night as she prepared for her Thursday night performance in the CMA Music Festival. CMT issued a press release Thursday morning (available here) and a story later in the day on its Web site here, although the position was announced on Dollymania moments after the concert taping ended Wednesday night. The network boasted it was the first time in 15 years that the duo sang the song together (apparently the last time being their 1990 TV special Kenny, Dolly & Willie with Willie Nelson). Briefs about the show began appearing Thursday afternoon in the online editions of a handful of newspapers. I'm told several other Dolly tracks made the top 100, including duets with Ricky Van Shelton, Vince Gill and three from her time with Porter Wagoner. The full top 100, and the broadcast premiere of the top 12 concert, will air on CMT Sept. 17. The top 12 performed in concert were as follow:
1. "Islands In The Stream," Kenny and Dolly
2. "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn (performed on the concert by Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt)
3. "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," Nelson and Waylon Jennings (performed by Shooter Jennings and Montgomery Gentry)
4. "Jackson," Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash (Rebecca Lynn Howard and Keith Anderson)
5. "We're Gonna Hold On," George Jones and Tammy Wynette (Joe Nichols and Lee Ann Womack)
6. "You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma," David Frizzell and Shelly West (Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert)
7. "You and I ," Eddie Rabbit and Crystal Gayle (Gayle and Raul Malo)
8. "Every Time Two Fools Collide," Rogers and Dottie West (Rogers and Womack)
9. "Does He Love You," Reba McEntire and Linda Davis (Carrie Underwood and Jamie O'Neal)
10. "After The Fire Is Gone," Twitty and Lynn (Terri Clark and Trace Adkins)
11. "When I Said I Do," Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black (who performed it themselves)
12. "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," Tritt and Marty Stuart (who also performed it themselves)
Image of Kenny & Dolly rehearsing for the show courtesy CMT/PR Newswire.
Carolina Library Expansion The Morning News in Florence, S.C., on Thursday celebrated Wednesday's kick-off of Dolly's Imagination Library in Marion County there. The national literacy program, active in hundreds of communities across 40 states, provides one free, hardcover book per month from birth to age 5 for every child in a participating community whose parents sign up. Read more here.
June 9: Top Duets Announced "Islands In The Stream," 1983's biggest-selling single, earned Dolly and longtime friend Kenny Rogers the No. 1 spot on CMT's 100 Greatest Duets countdown, Dollymania is pleased to be the first anywhere to report. The news was revealed in Wednesday night's concert from Nashville where stars performed the top 12 hits from the list. I'm told Dolly looked gorgeous in one of the aqua pantsuits she donned on last year's "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour. Thanks, Christian! The concert premieres on CMT in September. Dolly also took the No. 1 spot last year on the network's top 100 love songs countdown with "I Will Always Love You." And for Thursday, the CMA Music Festival concert Thursday night which will feature Dolly sold out on Wednesday. Those in attendance who would like to e-mail photos or recaps, please do so here. Thanks in advance!
Helping Out Dolly has contributed an autographed 1977 concert program and photo book to CMT.com's Leadership Music charity auction. As of Wednesday evening, no bids had been placed on the item. A starting bid of $50 is listed, and the auction ends June 17. See it and other items here.
Stanley's Dolly Cover Released Dr. Ralph Stanley's new CD with his cover of a Dolly tune hit stores on Tuesday. Dolly's composition "Shine On" serves as the title track to the country legend's disc of gospel and spiritual classics. Get your copy here!
Staffer: Dolly 'Sweetest' Guest Ever On 'Tonight Show' The Pioneer News in Shepherdsville, Ky., has an interesting story this week about a local girl working in Hollywood. Among Melinda Allen's various jobs was a "meet-and-greeter" who chatted up celebrity guests before they went on the air at Jay Leno's The Tonight Show, where she recalled Dolly as "the sweetest, most down to Earth person" she met during her time on the show. Read the full story here.
Dolly Impersonating For Charity Chicagoland folks should head out this weekend to catch the annual Dance Divas AIDS fund-raiser. Male dancers from several local dance companies will don wigs and sparkly couture to represent Dolly, Madonna, Beyonce and other "pop icons." Learn more about Friday night's event here.
June 8: Much 'Fan Fair' For Dolly Two big Dolly nights are almost upon us! On Wednesday evening, Dolly will grace the stage at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center to participate in the concert performance of the top 12 selections in CMT's 100 Greatest Duets countdown, which will air in September. Although songs and pairings have not been announced in advance of the show, I'd bet she'll be belting out some "Islands In The Stream" with Kenny Rogers, who is also slated to appear. Last year, Dolly sang her classic "I Will Always Love You" as the No. 1 entry in the network's 100 Greatest Love Songs top 12 concert (a repeat of which will air later this month), so it's possible she'll top both countdowns. Others on the show include hosts Trace Adkins and Terri Clark, as well as Willie Nelson, Montgomery Gentry, Clint Black, Lisa Hartman Black, Lee Ann Womack, Joe Nichols and more. Then on Thursday night she and The Grascals will be the big attractions for the first of four nights of multi-artist concerts at The Coliseum in Nashville as the centerpiece of this year's CMA Music Festival (formerly known as "Fan Fair"). Others on the bill for that concert are Dierks Bentley, Julie Roberts, Sugarland, Keith Urban, Phil Vassar, Lee Ann Womack, Carrie Underwood, Trick Pony and, in the pre-show activities, Jamie O'Neal and Cowboy Crush. Tickets for both the duets concert and the CMA Festival concert remain available. Get them at Ticketmaster here for Wednesday's show (use the codeword DOLLY to get $10 off) and here for Thursday's. And as your webmaster couldn't attend due to a work conflict, anyone in the audience either night is encouraged to send recaps and photos here. Thanks in advance!
Plugging The Library Dolly's Imagination Library received a show of support from The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Tuesday with an editorial urging local businesses to put up money to sponsor children from their community in the nationwide literacy program. Read it here.
Orlando Stampede Applauded Dolly's Orlando Dixie Stampede gained a great profile in Tuesday's nearby The Stuart News available here.
'Jolene' On CMT.com Dolly pal Mindy Smith is featured in the new Studio 330 Sessions section of CMT.com this week, including among her four live performances her cover of Dolly's classic "Jolene." In introducing the number, she notes: "Sometime ago, maybe two years ago, I got the invitation to participate on this tribute record celebrating somebody who has long been overlooked by the songwriting world. And she's broken down barriers and made the business a little bit easier for us women. And I really, really respect her and I'm happy to call her my friend. And this song is for Dolly." Take a listen here.
June 7: Paisley Disc Gets Notice The announcement of an Aug. 16 release date for Brad Paisley's upcoming CD, Time Well Wasted, was the lead story Monday morning on Billboard's Web site, noting that Dolly will perform on a yet-to-be-announced track on the album. Read the magazine's complete story here.
'Miss' Nearing $100 Million Gross Sandra Bullock's film Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous, with its Dolly cameo, is nearing the $100 million mark for worldwide ticket sales, a milestone it should reach by next weekend. The film slipped two spots from its Memorial Day Weekend box office to No. 22, earning $183,000 in U.S. cinemas over the past weekend plus about another $100,000 for the week, making its domestic gross $47.9 million since release. In the past week, it took in $1 million overseas to raise that cumulative number to $51.8 million for a combined total of $99.7 million. The film hits DVD shelves June 21. Get your copy with the film soundtrack here or without the soundtrack here.
June 6: CMT Discounted Tickets Available CMT is making available discounted tickets for Dolly fans who make a last-minute decision to attend the taping of the network's 100 Greatest Duets top 12 songs concert special Wednesday night. Visit the Ticketmaster ordering page here, scroll down to "Promotions and special offers" and enter the code DOLLY to receive $10 off each $30 ticket. Tickets are also still available here for Thursday night's CMA Music Festival concert featuring Dolly.
Paisley Release Date Announced Brad Paisley's next CD, Time Well Wasted, which he has said will include a Dolly guest vocal appearance, will be released on Aug. 16, according to an e-card recently made available on his Web site here. Thanks, Tony!
Dollywood In Magazine Vacation List I'm told that the June issue of Instinct magazine suggests 10 places other than the shore that readers should consider for their summer vacation. In the segment, "You're Such A Bore: Everybody Goes To The Beach During The Summer. This Year, Why Not Do Something Unforgettable," one of the 10 locations is the Great Smoky Mountains/Dollywood, featuring a photo of Dolly from this year's season opening. Thanks, Greg!
June 4: 'American Idol' Winner To Share Dolly's Stage, Twice Newly crowned American Idol winner Carrie Underwood has been added to the bill for both next week's CMA Music Festival concert which will feature Dolly and the CMT 100 Greatest Duets top 12 concert, also featuring Dolly. The CMA concert, for which tickets are still available here, will be held in Nashville Thursday night, and the CMT duets taping, tickets for which are available here, is Wednesday night in Nashville. Also added to the duets taping were Jamie O'Neal, who will sing "Does He Love You" with Underwood, The Tennessean reported here (the only song and the only pairing of who-will-sing-with-whom thus far revealed), and newcomer Keith Anderson. An air date of Sept. 17 has been announced for the television premiere of the concert special.
Having To 'Overcome' Dolly The Houston Voice had an interesting take this week on their local production of Steel Magnolias featuring an interview with the actress playing Truvy, who said the most frustrating part of the role is overcoming in the audience's mind how identified Dolly is with the character, since she immortalized her in the film version. Read it here.
June 3: 'Viva' Still Going Strong On Sales Chart "Viva Las Vegas" by Dolly and The Grascals' inches down one place to No. 9 in its 22nd week on the country singles sales chart in the June 11 tally released Thursday by Billboard. Rhonda Vincent's Ragin' Live, which includes a cover of "Jolene," rebounds one spot to No. 2 bluegrass in its 12th chart week. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, featuring Dolly on "Creepin' In," drops 24 notches to No. 190 pop in its 68th chart week and falls out of the top 200 comprehensive albums chart, down from No. 192 the previous week. Toby Keith's Honkytonk University remains at No. 1 country but falls three digits to No. 5 pop with 128,000 copies sold in its second week, while Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today jumps one to No. 2 country and seven to No. 12 pop in its 35th week with 65,000 copies moved thanks to the band's appearance on American Idol. Speaking of which, the show's finalists' cover of the former Dolly and Julio Iglesias duet "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" remains at No. 1 for pop singles sales for a seventh week.
Dolly In Photo Exhibit Fashion photographer and music video director David LaChapelle has opened a show in Dallas of some of his pop pics, including one of Dolly. You may read about the exhibit and see Dolly's entry (a shot of her posing as a carnival game prize on a shelf) from The Dallas Morning News' magazine Quickhere. The photos will remain on display at the Goss Gallery in Dallas through Aug. 12.
More Library Coverage Murfreesboro's The Daily News Journal outside of Nashville on Thursday profiled Dolly's Imagination Library, which is currently being organized in the Tennessee community. Read more here.
June 2: Seeking British Dolly Fans Producers with British documentary television filmmakers October Films are seeking Dolly fans in the U.K. to be interviewed for an upcoming ITV series titled Number 1 Fans. "We would very much like to get in touch with people in the UK who believe they are Dolly's biggest fan," Matt Robins with October Films tells Dollymania. "Dolly has always attracted very loyal support and it would be great to get an insight into her fan base on this side of the pond. Ideally we want to find people whose lives have changed as a result of their adoration for Dolly. The film will be an observational look at the impact of the star on the person's life and how their Dolly obsession affects their relationships, work, etc." Anyone interested in being considered for the show is encouraged to e-mail Matt at email@example.com.
Trick Pony Added To Dolly Show Organizers announced Wednesday that rowdy trio Trick Pony has been added to next week's CMA Music Festival concert which features Dolly. It was also revealed that next Thursday night's show will kick off with a special performance of the national anthem by Jamie O'Neal and tribute to U.S. armed forces by Cowboy Crush before the main concert begins with Dolly and The Grascals, Dierks Bentley, Julie Roberts, Sugarland, Trick Pony, Keith Urban, Phil Vassar and Lee Ann Womack. Also announced this week were the addition of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jeff Bates to final night of the four-concert series, June 12. Tickets remain available here for next Thursday's show with Dolly (as well as here for next Wednesday's CMT 100 Greatest Duets top 12 live concert taping with Dolly -- although the floor seats that became available for that one last week are gone except for a few single-seat tickets). And don't forget that tickets are also available for Dolly's only other scheduled concerts announced so far this year, Sept. 23-24 at Dollywood to benefit the Dollywood Foundation, at 1-800-Dollywood.
June 1: McLean Duet Drops From Top 10 "Angels And Eagles," Kim McLean's duet with Dolly, falls out of the top 10 for June in the Power Source Christian country top 100 chart, according to the magazine's new issue out this week. The song slips 10 places to No. 20. It had peaked at No. 9 in April. Get the song on McLean's CD Happy Face.
Dollywood Getting Press The Knoxville News-Sentinel's Terry Morrow on Tuesday offered a cute tale of several Guiding Light stars who had a blast on a recent vacation to Dollywood. Take a read here. And up north, Canada's Sun newspapers give a thumbs up to the park in their online Travel section this week. Read more here.
Reba Thanks Dolly Dolly got some kudos Monday from pal Reba McEntire, who was in Denison, Texas, to celebrate the successes of her charity concerts and golf tournaments to benefit programs at the Texoma Health Care System. She thanked her friends, including Dolly, Vince Gill, Brooks & Dunn and Joe Nichols, for assisting with fundraising for the medical facilities. Read more from local The Herald Democrathere.
'Miss' Rises A Bit Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous, the Sandra Bullock comedy featuring a Dolly cameo, rebounded a little with the holiday weekend's audiences, rising eight places to No. 20 for the four-day weekend box office grosses in the U.S., it was announced Tuesday. The film took in $275,000 for the weekend for a total U.S. gross since opening to $47.6 million. Overseas, it passed the $50 million cumulative mark over the weekend, reaching $50.8 million for a combined worldwide total of $98.4 million. Reserve your copy of the DVD, coming out June 21, with the film soundtrack here or without the soundtrack here.