Sept. 18: Norah Jones Re-Records 'The Grass Is Blue' Norah Jones and her alt-country trio Puss N Boots on Tuesday released their first new recording in five years, a new cover of Dolly's "The Grass Is Blue." The track has a more country blues feeling than Jones' previous smooth jazz piano cover from the 2003 tribute album Just Because I'm A Woman: The Songs Of Dolly Parton. Amazon Prime members may stream the track for free, while it is also available for download for $1.29 here. In an interview with The Music Universehere, Jones commented: "The first time I ever heard the Dolly Parton song 'The Grass Is Blue,' it slayed me. It was probably the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. I've always loved the harmonies on Dolly's version of the song. Sonically, the harmonies are just insanely beautiful."
Sept. 16: Dolly Costumes Featured In Opry Chat
The Grand Ole Opry on Friday offered a lecture from Dolly's 50th anniversary costume exhibit featuring her creative director Steve Summers and production manager, and niece, Rebecca Seaver with a behind-the-scenes look at the outfits making up the exhibit. Watch it on Facebook here or in the media player above. In related news, the Opry Store has added several Dolly anniversary items for purchase online, including an anniversary t-shirt with Dolly's face (also available as a hoodie and on a magnet), an anniversary t-shirt with a guitar, a new caricature t-shirt, patch, or can coasie, the "Dolly 72" t-shirt that has previously been sold through her official online store, a microphone key chain, a hatch print magnet, and a cap. See them here.
'Trio' Returns To UK No. 1 The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt rebounds one place to reclaim the No. 1 spot on the British country compilation albums chart in its 157th chart week, its 31st at the pole position, it was revealed Friday. Also on the U.K. country compilation albums chart, Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Ronstadt) falls six to No. 15, while Harris' Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) dips two to No. 9 and Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) rises three to No. 8. Down Under, the "gold series" re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton (Australian Tour Edition) loses four to No. 23 in its 417th chart week on the Australian country albums chart since its original 2007 release, it was revealed Saturday.
Ken Burns Doc Premieres On PBS Ken Burns' Country Music premiered Sunday on PBS, featuring Dolly interview segments throughout the first episode, her signing an old world song a capella, and her version of "Mule Skinner Blues" playing over the closing credits. The show continues Monday through Wednesday and again Sunday through Wednesday next week. The show prompted a review by The Hollywood Reporterhere and an overview of country music on TV, including several Dolly mentions, from The Los Angeles Timeshere.
Sept. 13: 'Billboard' Responds To Dolly 'God Only Knows' Chart Snub Billboard on Thursday finally addressed Dolly's absence from the chart success of For King & Country's "God Only Knows" single for the sales/streaming week ending Sept. 5 (charts dated Sept. 14), saying here that although the release of her collaboration on the song boosted its popularity for the week "airplay and streams of the original still accounted for the majority of its consumption in the tracking week." However, I find that hard to believe as the magazine noted Nielsen Music tracked 10,000 downloads and 4.3 million U.S. streams for the week, while the major retailers that sell downloads (such as iTunes and Amazon) have consistently shown the Dolly version as charting higher (which means selling more copies) than the original version since release, and the Dolly version logged more than 2 million streams on YouTube alone in the week ending Sept. 5, which are supposed to be included in the Nielsen totals and would account for almost half of all streams before even including streaming services like Spotify, so I suspect it is more likely a Nielsen clerical error that counted many of the Dolly versions incorrectly as the originals. (And the Nielsen total for streams is much, much lower than the 70 million number touted by the record label for the first week of the Dolly collaboration.)
'9 To 5: The Musical' Heads To Australia Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical is heading Down Under. The show on Wednesday announced it will premiere April 21 at Sydney Lyric Theatre under the direction of Jeff Calhoun, who directed the London West End and U.S. national touring productions. Tickets go on sale Friday at 9to5theMusical.com.au. Learn more from Playbillhere.
Dolly Tours Costumes Live Friday TV station WBIR reported here Thursday that Dolly will give a special live online tour of her Opry costume exhibit on DollyParton.com at 10:20 a.m. Eastern.
Princess Gets Down To '9 To 5' Even the royals love Dolly. Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle returned to her princess duties after maternity leave this week by launching a new women's professional wear clothing line that will be sold for two weeks to benefit the charity Smart Works, which helps women get into the workplace, and she chose to promote the collection with a video set to Dolly's "9 To 5," People reported here.
Sept. 11: 'Billboard' Fails To List Dolly On 'God Only Knows' Dolly appears to have her first Hot 100 chart single since "When I Get Where I'm Going" broke the top 40 in 2005, but Billboard is not currently giving her credit. As readers are aware, Australian Christian pop duo For King & Country last week released a re-recorded version of their hit single "God Only Knows" as a trio featuring Dolly. Although they credited the video on YouTube as "For King & Country + Dolly Parton" and the single at retailers as "For King & Country And Dolly Parton," and the song's chart advances on Billboard's Sept. 14 tallies are due solely to the tens of millions of streams, 2 million YouTube views, and many downloads of the new version credited with Dolly, the chart performance of the song likewise should have been updated to add her name (similarly to how "Old Town Road" credited Billy Ray Cyrus once the revised remix of the song featuring his vocals was released and became the predominant version streamed, downloaded, and played on radio), but Billboard instead only credited the song to "For God & Country." Thanks to the new Dolly version, the song debuted at No. 94 on the Hot 100 pop singles chart, re-entered the top 50 digital song sales chart at a new peak of No. 13, re-entered the top 30 adult contemporary chart at No. 28, advanced six spots to No. 2 on Christian streaming songs, rose two spots to No. 2 on Hot Christian Songs, increased four places to No. 1 Christian digital song sales and slipped one spot to No. 24 adult top 40. The only chart which did note Dolly's participation, Billboard Christian airplay, saw the track this week drop off the chart, down from No. 41. Daily Play MPE on Monday had credited the song as the No. 1 Christian streaming song of the week, No. 1 Christian download of the week, No. 1 country streaming song of the week, and No. 1 country download of the week, all credited as "For King & Country and Dolly Parton," but Billboard did not follow suit. Elsewhere on the charts, Playlist: The Very Best Of Dolly Parton jumps up 13 places to No. 7 in its 56th chart week on the country catalog albums list.
Dolly To Receive Peacemaker Award, Perform The We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) on Monday announced Dolly and fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier will be honored at their 2019 gala Nov. 5 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Dolly, who will receive the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award, will perform during the ceremony, as will the foundation's founder, musician Nile Rodgers and CHIC. Gaultier will receive the Humanitarian Award. WAFF creates and supports programs that promote cultural diversity while nurturing the vision, talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing the world. Previous Peacemaker Award honorees include President Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Roger Daltrey CBE, Paul Simon, Dr. Maya Angelou and Quincy Jones. Dolly said in a press release: "To say that I am honored would be quite an understatement. I am so humbled to be included in with such an amazing group of people. I have often said that I don't count my awards, but this is one I will not soon forget. The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award from the We Are Family Foundation represents so many of the characteristics that I strive every day to live by. I believe in family, I believe in love, and I believe that together we can change the world." Rodgers added: "We've wanted to recognize and honor the extraordinary accomplishments of Dolly Parton for many years. Her exemplary work as an artist, businesswoman and philanthropist is an example for us all. She symbolizes everything that is great about music and America. Jean Paul Gaultier is someone who I'm happy to call a friend. His incomparable work as an iconic fashion designer and forward thinker has changed our culture in a way the world has greatly benefitted from. We are enormously grateful to our honorees for their exceptional work to improve humanity and we warmly welcome them into our WAFF family." Tickets to the gala are available online at wearefamilyfoundation.org.
More Coverage Of Ohio's Statewide Library Plans The Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday picked up the story that the Ohio Legislature back in July allocated $5 million to support taking Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program statewide. Check out the story here.
'Country Music' Book Hits Shelves In advance of Sunday's premiere of Ken Burns' Country Music documentary on PBS, the companion book for the series was released on Tuesday. Get your copy here!
Sept. 9: Dollywood Dominates Golden Ticket Awards Again As in past years, Dolly's Dollywood theme park was one of the big winners at the weekend's Golden Ticket Awards presented by Amusement Today. The park took home three first place honors: the first-ever winner of the new category of Best Guest Experience (this new category replaced Friendliest Park and Cleanest Park, where Dollywood won first and second place, respectively, last year), a win for the new Wildwood Grove as Best Kids' Area (knocking Kings Island off of the top spot after 18 years at No. 1) and the park's 12th consecutive win for Best Christmas Event. In addition, Dolly's park moved up to No. 2 for Best Park, which was won by Europa Park in Germany. The increase from fifth place last year saw longtime No. 1 and recent perinnial No. 2 Cedar Point fall to No. 3, followed by Disneyland at No. 4 and Busch Gardens Williamsburg at No. 5, and it means Dollywood is considered the best theme park in the entire U.S. according to these rankings. The park also took second place for Best Food (the same position it held last year) and No. 3 for Most Beautiful Park (which replaced Best Landsaping and added architecture to the considerations for the honor). Lightning Rod took the No. 7 spot for Best Wooden Roller Coaster, with Thunderhead at No. 11, both dropping one place from No. 6 and No. 10 last year. The awards ended the category of Best Shows, which the park had won first place for annually over the past 10 consecutive years, replacing it with Best New Show, and with no new show this year Dollywood had no entry. Finally, Dollywood's Splash Country fell out of the top five for Best Water Park, down from No. 4 last year. In the awards publication, Dolly said: "We don't do what we do to win awards. They are nice, but we do it because we want to provide families an escape to a beautiful place where they can forget about all the things going on in their daily lives and truly enjoy each other. I'm so proud of what we've been able to accomplish here since we opened Dollywood in 1986. The Smokies are where my heart sings. I wanted to give folks the world over a reason to come here and see it for themselves. We've kept adding new things – new shows, new rides – so they'll have something new to enjoy each time they come visit us."
Dolly's 'Christmas Carol' Coming To Boston Dolly announced on Friday that her Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol stage musical, which workshopped last November in St. Paul, Minn., will have its official "out of town" world premiere at Boston's Emerson Colonial Theatre, where it will run Dec. 3-29. Tickets went on sale Friday for the re-telling of the Dickens classic in the Smoky Mountains with a score of original music she wrote for the production. Check out her announcement of the show on Facebook here. Co-creator Paul Couch wouldn't confirm for The Boston Globehere whether the next step after Boston would be an attempt to open on Broadway or a national touring company.
'God Only Knows' Streamed 70 Million Times In One Week Music Mayhem Magazine reported here Friday that Dolly's collaboration with For King & Country on "God Only Knows" surpassed 70 million on-demand streams in its first week of release, more than 2 million YouTube views of the music video, a No. 1 spot on iTunes' music video chart and No. 11 on YouTube's trending videos.
'9 To 5' U.K. Tour Slips Up Opening Night The U.K. tour of Dolly's 9 To 5: The Musical got off to a rocky start Friday night in Birmingham. According to The Birmingham Mailhere, a greasy spill on stage was partially cleaned and the show started with the cast wearing special footwear to not slip, but it was determined partway through the first act that the stage was still too dangerous to perform on and the show was cancelled. Patrons were offered replacement tickets for any other performance during the Birmingham engagement, any other city on the tour, or the West End production in London and a refund if they cannot make a replacement show. Saturday night's performance reportedly went off without a hitch.
Two New '9 To 5' Covers Debut Dolly's "9 To 5" was getting a bit of a workout this week. First, Kelly Clarkson released a music video of her performing the song to promote her new talk show which premieres on Monday (check that out from Billboardhere), and then Hillary Scott and Bailey Bryan debuted their cover of the song for Cracker Barrel's 50th anniversary, which Billboard premiered here.
'Forbes' Gives Dolly Some Library Respect Forbes magazine's online edition offered a profile of Dolly and her Imagination Library early childhood literacy program over the weekend, noting she should be added to the list of "modern education philanthropists." REad the piece here.
'People' Looks In Dolly's Opry Closet People magazine last week took a look at the Grand Ole Opry costume exhibit celebrating Dolly's 50th anniversary as an Opry member. Check out the story and photos here.
U.K., Aussie Chart Updates The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt holds steady at No. 2 on the British country compilation albums chart in its 156th chart week, it was revealed Friday. Also on the U.K. country compilation albums chart, Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Ronstadt) falls three to No. 9, while Harris' Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) gains one to No. 7 and Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) loses two to No. 11. Down Under, the "gold series" re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton (Australian Tour Edition) drops three to No. 19 in its 416th chart week on the Australian country albums chart since its original 2007 release, it was revealed Saturday.
Dollywood Pumpkins Win 'USA Today' Award USA Today's "10Best Readers' Choice" Awards last week named Dollywood's Great Pumpkin LumniNights the Best Theme Park Halloween Event in the country. Entering its third year, the Sept. 27-Nov. 2 festival features a 9 p.m. closing time to highlight the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins throughout the park, extending this year into the new Wildwood Grove expansion. Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights finished second, followed by Kings Island's Halloween Haunt.
Own Ronstadt Doc On Dec. 3 Amazon revealed that the documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice featuring extensive interviews with Trio partners Dolly and Emmylou Harris will become available for digital purchase on Dec. 3 and began taking advance orders here.
Sept. 5: 'God Only Knows' Gets First Chart Debut With Dolly Dolly and For King & Country's collaboration on "God Only Knows" gets its first chart appearance this week, Billboard revealed Wednesday. The track debuts at No. 41 Christian airplay, which is likely based on just one day of airplay. It will likely see a higher number next week and also show up on digital sales and other charts as well. In related news, the band released an eight-minute "documentary" on YouTube here showing the full behind-the-scenes story of the song and video, combining all of the little videos they've been releasing over the past week about the process. Elsewhere on the Sept. 7 Billboard charts, Playlist: The Very Best Of Dolly Parton dips two to No. 20 in its 55th chart week on the country catalog albums list.
Dolly Pops In Unexpectedly At Dollywood Dolly made a surprise appearance at Dollywood on Wednesday to take in the new show her niece Jada has on the park, Jada Star and Barry J. She welcomed fans from the stage before the show's start and sat in the audience during the performance. Check out a Facebook video of the drop-in here.
Hallmark Sets Air Date For 'Christmas At Dollywood' The Hallmark Channel on Wednesday revealed the schedule for its annual holiday movies, including a Dec. 8 air date for the premiere of Christmas At Dollywood featuring Danica McKellar and Niall Matter with a cameo from Dolly herself.
Kirklands Opry Benefit Begins, Exhibit Opens, Radio Stream Starts Kirklands on Wednesday officially announced its new Dolly collection of artwork to benefit the Opry Trust, which becomes available to the public to purchase in their stores on Thursday after a few days of being available online to fans only through a special link. Check out the press release announcement here. In related news, the Opry costume exhibit of Dolly outfits to celebrate her Grand Ole Opry membership 50th anniversary opened this week, and the WSM app and website (here) have added their Dolly Radio streaming service for the two months of the exhibit.
Ohio Taking Library Statewide, DC Passes 1 Million Ohio is the latest state working to take Dolly's Imagination Library project statewide. The state legislature recently approved $5 million in funding for the Ohio Governor's Imagination Library Foundation to match local funds raised to support the project in the state, and First Lady Fran Dewine has taken on the role of promoting the early childhood literacy effort across the state. Check out a story of her work from WDTN here. In related news, the District of Columbia recently celebrated distributing its 1 millionth book in the program, WAMU reported here.
Listen To Gayle's 'Put It Off' Cover Billboard on Wednesday premiered Crystal Gayle's cover of Dolly's "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" as a trio with sisters Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue. Take a listen here and reserve your copy of Gayle's new album that contains the track, You Don't Know me, coming out Friday here.
Dolly Earns Entrepreneur Award The Nashville Entrepreneur Center on Wednesday announced Dolly will be inducted into its 2019 Hall of Fame class on Nov. 6 at The Next Awards in Rocketown. Currently, organizers noted, she is not scheduled to attend the event, but that could change, they said. In a press release, Dolly said: "I am so thankful to be named a 2019 inductee into the Nashville Entrepreneurs' Hall of Fame. It is important that we all follow our dreams and work hard to see them through. I've been blessed to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams in many areas of my life, and I encourage anyone with a dream to never lose their passion and to create a legacy that positively impacts others." Read more here.
Netflix Hopes Dolly Will Make 'Grace' Final Season Netflix on Wednesday announced Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin's Grace & Frankie has been renewed for a seventh and final season (season six has yet to air). Tomlin told E! Onlinehere they have come very close to getting Dolly on the show recently, so hopefully they'll get her to guest star in the final season.
Sept. 2: Harrods London Lands Two Dolly Holiday Ornaments Thanks to reader Mark Wilson for alerting me to two Dolly "baubles" now available for the upcoming holiday season from London department store Harrods. One is a glass ball Christmas ornament bearing one of Dolly's famous 1977 publicity images surrounded by gold stars and the phrase a "Holly Dolly Christmas" and retails for about $21 US. The second is a blown glass bust of Dolly and retails for about $23. Check both of them out here!
More From The Making Of 'God Only Knows' For King & Country on Friday released a more detailed behind-the-scenes video on Facebook of their Dolly collaboration on "God Only Knows". Watch it here.
A Few More Details On 'Heartstrings' Although Netflix still has yet to announce the drop date for this fall's Dolly Parton's Heartstrings anthology, the publicity for it has resumed, with a mention in the new TV Guide fall series preview and a TV Insider piece about four of the episodes here.
U.K., Aussie Chart Updates The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt holds steady at No. 2 on the British country compilation albums chart in its 155th chart week, it was revealed Friday. Also on the U.K. country compilation albums chart, Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Ronstadt) rises two to No.6, while Harris' Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) slips two to No. 8, Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) inches up one to No. 9 and Essential Dolly Parton falls back off the top 20, down from No. 12. Down Under, the "gold series" re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton (Australian Tour Edition) gains four spots to No. 16 in its 415th chart week on the Australian country albums chart since its original 2007 release, it was revealed Saturday.