Oct. 31: Wagoner Services To Air On Radio WSM 650AM radio, home of The Grand Ole Opry, announced Tuesday that it will air funeral services for Porter Wagoner live on Thursday, beginning at 11 a.m. Central from the Opry House. You will be able to listen to the services live here online, but as was reported previously, they will also be open to the public if you wish to attend.
Several additional friends paid their respects publicly on Tuesday. Merle Haggard recalled how close he was to both Wagoner and Dolly, adding: "He was one of the real faces on Rushmore when it comes to Nashville, Tenn., and the Grand Ole Opry. He was a lifer. He spent his entire life living up to being Porter Wagoner on the Grand Ole Opry. He was serious about that, and he did a very good job of it."
George Jones offered: "He was a hero and a great gentleman for country music and the Grand Ole Opry . . . Country music lost a bit of sparkle with the passing of Porter Wagoner."
Dwight Yoakam said: "His legacy and charismatic influence is legendary and remained dynamically palpable and present until his death . . . Porter Wagoner will continue to have a resounding influence on country music for generations to come."
The Tennessean reported here that Wednesday night's opening celebration for the Americana Music Association's annual convention, which had been planned months ago as a musical tribute to Wagoner, will serve instead as a memorial with friends Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and others offering their performances in his honor.
Springfield, Mo., television station KY3 here called him the "personification of real country music." Other remembrances came from The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., here, Huffington Post columnist Steve Anderson here and USA Todayhere. The Tennessean profiled his relationship with a neighbor here, and PBS show The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer closed its Monday night broadcast in tribute to him playing video of a 1974 performance of "The Right Combination" with Dolly. Porter & Dolly image is a courtesy photo.
Survey: Dolly A Genius Dolly is one of the 100 greatest living geniuses in the world today, according to a British survey released this week. The Telegraph newspaper reports here that she earned enough votes to enjoy being one of a six-way tie for No. 94 on the list. The top five were 1. a tie between Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman and British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, 3. American philanthropist George Soros, 4. American animator Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), and 5. South African politician Nelson Mandela. Thanks, Claiborne!
A New York State Of Dolly Dolly's music will be represented in Words and Music By . . . A Celebration of the Singer-Songwriter, a new series at New York's famed Zipper Factory Theatre. Her music will be featured in The Gospel of Dolly, a show at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 14 by transgendered performer Our Lady J, theatre magazine Playbill reports here.
Oct. 30: Thursday Services For Porter Although "The Wagonmaster" departed for his eternal home on Sunday night, his earthly remains will return to his musical home one more time this week, it was announced Monday. Funeral services for Country Music Hall of Fame member Porter Wagoner will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, with interment to follow at Woodlawn Cemetery. Wagoner served as the public face of the Opry for many years and was one of the institution's most frequent performers and hosts. Visitation will be held from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 660 Thompson Lane, in Nashville. Both the funeral and visitation will be open to the public. Memorials may be made to Alive Hospice (1718 Patterson Street, Nashville, TN 37203) or The Opry Trust Fund (2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214).
Several friends on Monday offered their reflections on the legendary performer/songwriter/producer's life and career, including longtime duet partner Dolly, who revealed she was with him and his family on Sunday during his final hours. In a prepared statement, she said: "When Porter died, it was like a piece of me died with him. We were always so attached musically and emotionally. Part of him will always live through me and my music as he was my first big break . . . I went over on Sunday afternoon and spent his last few hours with Porter and his family, so I was able to say goodbye. I sang for him and prayed with him. It felt good that I had the opportunity to say goodbye properly. His family is very grateful to everyone for all their help." (In another statement, she said: "Losing Porter is like losing a member of my family. I will miss him, as we all will. We were always so attached musically and emotionally. But a part of him will always live through me and my music. I feel fortunate that I got to spend the last hours with Porter. I had hoped to say a proper good-bye and God saw fit to allow that to happen. He will be missed.")
Patty Loveless, who as a teen-ager hung around Porter & Dolly learning the ropes in the music business, recalled: "Porter was my mentor in the early years of my musical journey and over the years became like family to me. He encouraged me and helped me to fulfill my dreams and was truly an inspiration. I love him and I miss him already."
Marty Stuart, who produced his critically-acclaimed Wagonmaster CD earlier this year, offered: "Losing Porter is going to take a whole lot of getting used to as he's been a part of my life for so long. I grew up watching his television show in Mississippi and it was as if he were a member of our family. After I got to know him, he was. He was a masterful showman, who understood the art of the final act. He left the world on top. Some of the things that soften the blow of his passing are all the memories from the past year."
The Tennessean opined on his influence and legacy in country music, noting poignantly: "To pick up on the line Parton made famous, Nashville will always love Porter Wagoner." Read that editorial here and the paper's continuing coverage of his passing here and here.
An updated Associated Press story is available here, and The New York Times offers an obituary here. CMT.com has a written story available here and a streaming video story here, promising more coverage on this weekend's CMT Insider.
WSM 650 AM in Nashville has announced an on-air tribute which will be broadcast Wednesday from 7 p.m. until midnight (listen live online here) and XM satellite radio's Channel 10 plans a tribute Wednesday morning. Great American Country (GAC) repeated his Grand Ole Opry 50th anniversary special from May featuring Dolly, Stuart and Loveless twice Monday night and has placed it on the schedule for additional airings at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday, 8 p.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday morning. The cable network has also posted several video clips of a recent interview with him on its website here. And The Grand Ole Opry on Monday posted streaming video clips of Dolly's performance of "I Will Always Love You" in his honor at the May event and a spotlight video which aired during the program. Both are available for viewing below courtesy the Opry and YouTube.
Oct. 29: Porter Wagoner Passes At Age 80
One of the greatest duos in music history was silenced this weekend with the passing of Porter Wagoner on Sunday night. He was 80. The singer, known for his trademark rhinestone suits, was one of the figures most directly responsible for nurturing the talents of Dolly, taking her under his wing and exposing her to national television and touring audiences as his weekly TV show and concerts' regular "girl singer" and duet partner from 1967 until 1974, although they continued to record duets together for two years past that.
He also co-produced her albums during this period, putting his distinctive stamp on all of her recordings during what many critics consider the most prolific of her career. As a duo, the pair logged 14 top 10 singles and won three Country Music Association Awards, and she has long confirmed that she wrote "I Will Always Love You," one of the most successful songs of all time and named the No. 1 pop love song in history by VH1 and the No. 1 country love song ever by CMT, about her decision to leave his program.
They were estranged for about a decade following Dolly's crossover into pop, resulting in his suing her for breach of contract, but they reconciled in the late 1980s and have remained very close friends ever since. They have performed together on numerous occasions over the past two decades, most recently in May at a special Grand Ole Opry show in honor of his 50th anniversary as a member of the country music institution.
He revealed in recent years that when he was faced with a large back tax bill several years ago and not enough funds to pay it, she purchased his songwriting catalog so he could pay off the debt, and when he had earned enough money to buy the songs back and contacted her about it, she returned full ownership to him at no charge. A new duet recorded more than a year ago was released on Wagoner's Best of Grand Old Gospel 2008 in August. He had said in recent months that they planned to record a new complete album of duets within the next year. They last appeared publicly together in June when he presented her with the Academy of Country Music's Pioneer Award.
Long regarded as the ambassador for the Opry, he last appeared on the program on Sept. 29. He was hospitalized for observation in Nashville on Oct. 15 but was soon moved to intensive care. He left intensive care, but remained hospitalized, on Oct. 19, with Dolly visiting him later that day, but he was diagnosed soon thereafter with lung cancer.
On Friday, he was discharged from the hospital and moved to hospice care, which aims to ease the pain and suffering of those facing the final weeks of their life as they succumb to terminal illness. Generally, hospice patients have been determined by a doctor to have less than six months to live. Two days after his hospice transfer, he died.
Our prayers go out to his family and friends. Letters of memory and support may be mailed to Porter Wagoner Enterprises, P.O. Box 290785, Nashville, TN 37229. Read an Associated Press obituary here and one of the first reports of his passing from The Tennesseanhere. CMT.com's coverage is available here.
Site: Video Is Finished Dolly's official music website, Dolly Parton Music.net, on Sunday announced that she wrapped up filming late Friday in her native East Tennessee for the music video for her current single, "Better Get To Livin'." According to the site, post-production and editing should be completed in about two weeks, allowing the video to be sent to the music channels at that time. The site plans to post behind-the-scenes footage and pictures soon. In related news, the website has added an "Ask Dolly" section to take fan questions for submission to Dolly, with the answers to selected queries to be posted in the near future on the site. Access it by clicking on the "About" section of her site.
Irish Chart Update Dolly slips a tad in Ireland this week, with her compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 falling 17 to No. 77 on the Irish pop albums chart, it was announced Friday.
Park Reveals Audition Schedule Dollywood has announced its 2008 schedule for entertainment auditions for talent in the park. The first will be held on Dolly's 62nd birthday, Jan. 19, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Other stops include Jan. 26 at Dollywood, Feb. 2 in Atlanta and Feb. 16 in Nashville. Click here for complete information.
Oct. 26: Deana, Daniels Drop Deana Carter manages to hold on for a second week on the country albums chart with her new CD, The Chain, highlighted by a Dolly duet on "Love is Like A Butterfly," but she may be gone next week, as the album falls 15 spots to No. 75 on the 75-position tally, the Nov. 3 numbers Billboard released Thursday showed. The news wasn't so positive for Charlie Daniels, who saw his Deuces, and its Dolly duet on "Daddy's Old Fiddle," fall off the country chart after just one week at No. 67. As was previously reported here, Dolly's single, "Better Get To Livin'," loses four spots to No. 59 on the 60-position country singles side in its fifth week. Her entry in the 16 Biggest Hits series, though, remains steady at to No. 65 country albums in its eighth week, and up north, the re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 dips five to No. 35 Canadian country in its third week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with the Dolly duet "Heartbreaker's Alibi," loses two to No. 14 bluegrass in its 64th week, while the Kenny Rogers collection 21 Number Ones, featuring their collaboration "Islands In The Stream," drops one country in the U.S. to No. 74 in its 87th chart week and debuts at No. 97 country in Canada. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," loses one to No. 11 on the country catalog albums chart in its 10th week since being removed from the main albums list due to longevity rules but shoots up 22 to No. 29 Canadian country. Rascal Flatts stays at No. 1 country for a fourth week with Still Feels Good, which also holds steady at No. 3 pop with 70,000 copies sold, while Reba McEntire's Reba Duets regains one to No. 2 country and No. 6 pop with 59,000 units in its fifth week.
Collins: CD Coming In Spring You may recall it previously reported that Dolly has recorded "The Fisherman's Song" for a Judy Collins-produced CD of songs which Collins has written over her lengthy career. Well, the singer-songwriter tells The Cincinnati Posthere this week that the project is now scheduled for release next spring. It also features Chrissie Hynde performing "My Father" and Rufus Wainwright taking on "Albatross" in addition to contributions by Leonard Cohen, Nanci Griffith, Joan Baez, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin, Arlo Guthrie and Mary Chapin Carpenter. The CD will come out on Wildflower Records, an indie label founded by Collins about a decade ago. Thanks, Tony!
Splash Country Announces Expansion Dollywood's Splash Country water park on Thursday announced its 2008 addition, the $1 million SwiftWater Run, a tubing bowl ride which will offer single and double-passenger tubes through a 54-inch diameter tunnel that propels them into a large bowl. Multiple revolutions through the bowl, a corkscrew and a chute plunging them down into a landing pool follow. The new ride will be located in the water slide complex which contains Mountain Scream and Mountain Twist. "I was looking for something that would set folks to spinning, and that's just what my SwiftWater Run will do," Dolly said in a press release. "This ride's got a few twists and turns and spins, but that's all I'm gonna tell until next May!" The water park, adjacent to Dollywood, opens for its 2008 season May 19.
Impersonator Gets Film Role Slipstream, the très avant-garde Anthony Hopkins film which is getting mixed reviews from critics, includes Dolly. Sort of. The picture, which reportedly mixes his character's fantasies with reality, has a scene which AOL's movie review blog Cinematical notes here features a Dolly look-a-like literally announcing herself as a "Dolly Parton look-a-like" as a Dolly song (it doesn't identify which one) plays in the background. The look-a-like? Impersonator Charlene Rose, who also played a Dolly look-a-like in the 2001 film Fast Sofa and has appeared in Dolly costume on both The Tonight Show and Sally Jesse Raphael Show. She was the "Dolly" profiled in the episode of CMT's Country's Most Shocking on celebrity impersonators and also was the actress done up to look like Dolly in the video for Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar."
Oct. 25: 'Better' Falls More On Chart Dolly's present single, "Better Get To Livin'," is dipping dangerously close to falling off the 60-position country singles chart, Billboard confirmed Wednesday. The full Nov. 3 charts due Thursday, reflecting airplay for Oct. 15-21, will see the song slip four spots to No. 59 in its fifth chart week, just two digits away from falling back off the tally. During that week, the song saw 93 spins at radio stations which report their playlists for the chart, down from 98 the previous week, resulting in a total audience of 617,000 listeners, down nearly 134,000 from the last week. In related news, the magazine has reviewed the single, saying it shows Dolly "to be more sage philosopher than country kewpie" and that "country programmers would do well to keep it in the limelight." Read the full review online here.
Park: No Dolly For Christmas Opening Although Dolly made an unusual appearance last year at the opening of Dollywood's annual Smoky Mountain Christmas Fest, she won't be returning to the park again until next year's "grand opening" weekend April 11-12. A park spokesperson confirms she won't be making the trip to Pigeon Forge when the holiday events start off in two weeks because of promotional work for the single. She made a rare winter stop last year to celebrate the first performances of the park's "Babes In Toyland" production, but she usually only pops up in spring, summer and fall. The festival, which kicks off on Nov. 10, features a return of the spectacular show in addition to the "Christmas In The Smokies," "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" and "O' Holy Night" musical shows and nightly Parade of Lights. The park's current National Gospel and Harvest Celebration continues through Nov. 3. Image of Dolly at last year's festival is courtesy Dollymania correspondent Harrell Gabehart. Used with permission. May not be reproduced without prior written consent.
'You Ought To Be In Pictures' Dolly gets some spots in two recently-released photography books by Jim McGuire. A studio portrait of her appears in his Nashville Portraits: Legends Of Country Music, the images in which were the basis for his traveling exhibit of the same name. In addition, a photo of her described by The Nashville Scene as "an especially haunting picture of a very somber Dolly Parton" appears in his Historic Photos of the Opry: Ryman Auditorium 1974, which captures the final weeks that The Grand Ole Opry was housed in the former church in downtown Nashville before moving to its present home across town. Read more about that collection from the newspaper here.
Carter On CMT.com Deana Carter has an interview on CMT.com this week talking about her current album, The Chain, which features a duet with Dolly on a cover of her classic "Love Is Like A Butterfly." Read it here.
Noisy Fan Threatened With Home Loss Diane Duffin, the 36-year-old British fan who was slapped with a preliminary anti-social behavior order a few months ago for playing country music, particularly Dolly songs, too loud too late at night, bothering her neighbors, was back before city officials in Leeds this week to learn whether the order would be made permanent. According to reports, the city council issued a permanent injunction against her prohibiting any "amplified" music or television in her home between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. If she or anyone in her house violates the order, the city will evict her from the home. Read more from The Telegraphhere.
Oct. 24: Porter & Dolly Orbited The Moon Here's a piece of history I had never heard before: Porter Wagoner and Dolly were part of the 1969 first landing on the moon. According to an interview with Apollo 11 commander Maj. Gen. Michael Collins, a friend of his who was a Houston disc jockey called up several of his friends in the country music world and had them record a tape that was played during the flight to the moon which he piloted. "We had a special half hour by Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton and then Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, and it was all personalised. You know – 'Charlie, we don't know where you are but we know you're on the way to the Moon and we hope you like this music. This song is especially for you.' We had a lot of serious work to do and we did it but with a good humor." The interview was part of the promotions for the Ron Howard documentary In The Shadow Of The Moon, which opened in the U.S. earlier this fall and starts next month in the U.K. Read more of the interview from British newspaper The Independenthere. At left, Porter & Dolly's "Always, Always," released within days of the moon landing.
Report: Dolly's Malibu Home Not In Danger A spokesperson says the fires raging in Malibu do not appear to be threatening Dolly's home there, The Tennessean reported late Tuesday. The paper said that Dolly's property sits atop a bluff without any of the highly flammable brush surrounding it that is so common in the area, so they believe it is not in danger, although the property's caretaker cannot verify that due to road closures in the area. Read the story, which focuses on friend Tanya Tucker's home being spared although several others in the neighborhood were lost, here.
Another Library In Trouble Another chapter of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program is dangerously close to running out of its local share of funding and asking for help, Henderson, Ky.'s, The Gleaner reports. The paper says here that its chapter only has funding to survive through December for its more than 1,000 local children who receive a book each month from Dolly's project, and organizers are asking residents to open their hearts and wallets, citing the high literacy levels which schools in the area have noticed in incoming kindergarteners following its implementation there.
Oct. 23: Wagoner Remains Hospitalized Porter Wagoner, Dolly's former duet partner, remained in serious condition in a Nashville hospital Monday following news of his cancer diagnosis, television station WKRN reported here. Also, on his official website, his daughter Debra Jean on Monday provided fans a little more information. She reported that he was released from intensive care on Friday afternoon, after which he took the previously-reported Dolly visit accompanied by Don Warden, her former road manager and one of Wagoner's former Wagonmaster band members. "What a sweet special moment for Daddy visiting with these two special longtime loved friends," she recounted. On Sunday, visitors included additional Wagonmasters and Grand Ole Opry family members Little Jimmy Dickens, Marty Stuart, John Anderson, Jeannie Pruett, Carol Lee Cooper and Jim Ed Brown as well as a phone call from Merle Haggard. "A warm loving feeling is surrounding our Wagonmaster in his hospital room," she continued. "I know you're keeping Daddy in your prayers."
Dolly On Radio Next Week Thanks to Chad for alerting me that Dolly has been scheduled as the guest for next week's nationally-syndicated The Back Porch Show country radio program. Her current single, "Better Get To Livin'," is also up for fan votes here and by phone at 800-381-3454 for the program's Top 10 New Release Chart (although for some reason, Monday night showed Dolly occupying two spots on the chart!).
Runner For Dolly In The News Again Another New York State newspaper this weekend profiled the young man who is using a long-distance running competition to raise awareness and money to bring Dolly's international Imagination Library literacy program to his hometown. Read about him from The Post-Standard in Syracuse here.
Dolly Up On Irish Chart Dolly gains a little across the pond this week, with her smash foreign greatest hits collection, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1, rising three to No. 60 on the pop albums tally in Ireland, it was announced Friday.
Yusuf Sings About Deportation, Dolly One of Dolly's favorite singer/songwriters, Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, has penned and will record a tune about his 2004 deportation from the United States as an alleged threat to national security while on a trip to visit with Dolly in Nashville, it was revealed Friday. He told Reuters news service that he has written the track, "Boots and Sand," for an upcoming CD and plans to complete his original trip by visiting Nashville in December to record it in Music City. He also volunteered that while Dolly will "not necessarily" sing on the song, "she'll be implied in the lyric." Coming out of retirement and returning to popular music in 2005, one of his first acts was to play acoustic guitar as a guest artist on Dolly's Those Were The Days CD for a cover of his "Where Do The Children Play?" although he recorded his portion in London (he also recorded a vocal track for the song but thought it was in a key that didn't suit his voice well, so he asked Dolly not to use it on the final CD and she agreed). After word got out that part of his trip in 2004 was to include a meeting with Dolly, she was asked in various interviews over the next few years about the incident, calling his deportation "bullshit" and "a mistake" on more than one occasion, adding that "he's trying to save the world, not destroy it." She has often cited Islam's 1971 album Teaser & The Firecat (with its original version of "Peace Train," which she covered in 1996) and his 1970 album Tea For The Tillerman (featuring the original "Where Do The Children Play") as her two favorite records of all time and Harold and Maude, which contains a soundtrack by Islam, as one of her two favorite films. Read more about his new song here.
Meet-And-Greet Clarification A few of you wrote in on Thursday and Friday asking about what appeared to be a change in the meet-and-greets with Dolly's new fan club, the Dolly-ites, with some worried that plans to offer meet-and-greets to fans may have been withdrawn. Worry not, as this site is informed that the program simply is not yet finalized and more details on how the meet-and-greets will operate will be released when they are available. Originally, several materials on her official music website, Dolly Parton Music.net, posted on Wednesday and cited here that evening stated that every member would have access to one meet-and-greet pass each year contingent upon their availability. On Thursday, however, all mentions of meet-and-greet passes were removed from the site except for one statement in the Frequently Asked Questions disclosing that members "have the chance to win a Meet & Greet with Dolly herself." After questioning from Dollymania, a Dolly spokesperson explained: "One thing we value is listening to fans. It quickly became clear that fans wanted more specifics about meet & greets." Unfortunately, additional details were not yet available, so a decision was made to remove the previously-posted information, "therefore moving our communication to a time that more specifics can be delivered." It was added that fans with questions may e-mail Info@DollyPartonMusic.net. Thanks!
Deana, Daniels Debut, Dolly Drops A couple of CDs with Dolly guest spots make their way onto the chart this week, with Deana Carter's The Chain, featuring a duet of "Love Is Like A Butterfly," debuting at No. 60 country and The Charlie Daniels Band's Deuces, with its duet on the new Dolly composition "Daddy's Old Fiddle," popping in at No. 67 in its first week on the country tally. Elsewhere in the Billboard Oct. 27 numbers, Dolly's 16 Biggest Hits falls four to No. 65 country in its seventh week. As was previously reported here, Dolly's single, "Better Get To Livin'," loses five spots to No. 55 on the country singles side in its fourth week. In Canada, the re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 rises a dozen digits to No. 30 country in its second week. Gone from the charts are Martina McBride's Timeless, with Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," down from No. 56 country in its 103rd chart week last week, and the Sugar Hill compilation Absolutely Bluegrass Vol. 1, featuring Dolly's "I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open," down from No. 13 bluegrass last week, its seventh. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, featuring Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," falls four to No. 12 bluegrass in its 63rd week, and the Kenny Rogers collection 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," re-enters the country tally at No. 73 for an 86th chart week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, including his No. 1 Dolly duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," dips one to No. 10 on the country catalog albums chart in its ninth week since being removed from the main albums list due to longevity rules but remains steady at No. 51 Canadian country. Rascal Flatts stays at No. 1 country for a third week with Still Feels Good, which slips one to No. 3 pop with 96,000 copies sold, while Family from LeAnn Rimes debuts at No. 2 country and No. 4 pop with 74,000 units in its first week.
New Songbook Coming Out Sheet music giant Hal Leonard Corp. will next month release a new, 30-song collection of Dolly music titled Dolly Parton: Greatest Hits, the firm has announced. Among the songs included in the book will be "Coat of Many Colors," "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind," "Heartbreaker," "Here You Come Again," "I Will Always Love You," "Islands in the Stream," "Jolene," "Joshua," "Love Is like a Butterfly," "Nine to Five," "Please Don't Stop Loving Me," "Tennessee Homesick Blues," "Tomorrow Is Forever," "Two Doors Down," "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That," "Yellow Roses" and others. Get yours, set to come out Nov. 1, here!
'Dolly' Glows At 'Opry' Yep, that's one orange Dolly at the Opry! Dolly, Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Josh Turner, Little Jimmy Dickens and the Grand Ole Opry barn backdrop have been carved onto pumpkins on display in observance of the fall season in the Opry House Lobby in Nashville. Read more, and see images of the decorative gourds, from the Opry website here.
Library Expands Up North Dolly's international Imagination Library literacy program is reaching the Yukon, it was announced Thursday. The project, which provides one free, hardcover, age-appropriate book each month for every child in a participating community from birth to age 5 whose parents register, kicks off Friday in the largely rural Canadian territory immediately east of Alaska. Although the territory only has about 31,000 residents, it represents the largest single geographic area in the world to offer Dolly's program, thanks to partners the Whitehorse Rendezvous Rotary, Yukon Literacy Coalition and Yukon territorial government. Read a press release here.
Oct. 18: Dolly's New Fan Club: The Dolly-ites! Dolly's official music website, Dolly Parton Music.net, on Wednesday officially launched her new online-only fan club, the Dolly-ites. Perhaps the biggest offering which fans will receive for their $24.99 annual membership dues is one admission each year to a meet-and-greet with Dolly when they are available, according to the site. In addition, the previously-public message board on the website has been moved to the members-only area. Other future membership benefits are slated to include first announcements of tour dates and major news announcements, pre-sale concert tickets (when available), exclusive photos, access to backstage footage and live clips as well as video blogs recorded by Dolly, newsletters, contests and more. Presently, in addition to the message board, the site is offering member-only downloads for three avatars, three buddy icons and one monthly calendar wallpaper. The site also on Wednesday unveiled the name of its street team, the "Big Wigs." Visit the site here to sign up for the fan club and the Big Wigs!
'Better' To Fall Five Dolly's current single, "Better Get To Livin'," will take a slight tumble on the new country singles charts to come out on Thursday, early numbers from Billboard confirmed on Wednesday. The track will dip five digits to No. 55 on the chart, based on airplay for the week of Oct. 8-14. During that time, the song saw 98 spins at radio stations which report their playlists for the chart, down from 128 the previous week, resulting in a total audience of 751,000 listeners, down nearly 160,000 from the last week.
Oct. 16: Me First Covers Single Comes Out As you may recall reported here back in July, Fat Wreck Chords on Tuesday will issue a special single titled "Dolly" from punk cover band Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies. The 45 will feature their take on her classic "Jolene" from their recent country album, Love Their Country, as well as a previously-unreleased version of "I Will Always Love You" they had recorded for possible inclusion on the CD but decided not to use. The single is the first of five in a limited edition they're calling the band's "Square Dance Series" because just over 1,000 copies of a special square-shaped version is available on black vinyl exclusively from the label's website here, while a little more than 2,000 regular-shaped singles on green vinyl will be sent to retail stores.
Rambo Goes Into Hall Congratulations to longtime Dolly pal Dottie Rambo, who hit the top of several Christian music charts four years ago with their duet "Stand By The River," on her induction Sunday night in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, joining Dolly as one of just 10 women among the Hall's 162 members. Mutual friend Barbara Mandrell inducted Rambo in her portion of the ceremony, with granddaughter Destiny Rambo McGuire offering a performance of several of her songs. "Thank you to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for even thinking of a little girl from Kentucky," Rambo told the crowd. "I love my music, but I love the Lord better than my life and my breath." Read coverage from The Tennesseanhere. Image at left of inductees Dottie Rambo, Mac McAnally, Earl Scruggs and Bob DiPiero by Krista Lee. Courtesy Karen Byrd Public Relations.
Concert Reminder Just a reminder if you're going to be in South Carolina this weekend, be sure to check out Dolly's brother Randy Parton, niece Heidi Lou Parton, several other great entertainers and a video appearance by Dolly herself at the first annual Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Benefit Concert at Kingtree's Pig Pickin' Festival Sunday to benefit the state's chapters in Dolly's literacy program. Read more from a press release that came out here Monday.
Oct. 15: 'Going' Plugged On CMT The ethereal "When I Get Where I'm Going" by Dolly and Brad Paisley was the subject of an entry in the official CMT.com blog over the weekend. Take a look here.
More Library News More praise, and a plea for local financial support so it may continue, for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program was offered over the weekend by a participant in its Fergus Falls, Minn., chapter. Take a read in The Fergus Falls Journalhere.
Oct. 13: 'Very Best' Returns Across The Pond Two weeks after falling off the top 100 pop albums chart in Ireland, the hit compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 is back again! The collection re-enters the tally on the Emerald Isle at No. 63 this week, it was announced Friday.
Library News One New York man is running for Dolly -- or at least for her international literacy project trying to bring it to his community. The runner is using his competition in a long course race to call attention to a proposal to launch Dolly's Imagination Library in Auburn, N.Y., according to the city's newspaper, The Citizen. Take a read here.
Oct. 12: Dolly On The Charts Dolly is holding on not only on the singles side of the charts this week, but she also has some album entries as well. The compilation disc 16 Biggest Hits holds on for another week, remaining steady in its peak position of No. 61 on the country albums list for a sixth week in the Oct. 20 numbers from Billboard, the magazine reported Thursday. Up north, a re-issue of the compilation The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 lands at No. 42 Canadian country. As was previously reported here, Dolly's "Better Get To Livin'" moves up two on the country singles tally to No. 50 in its third week. The Emmylou Harris boxed set Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems , with two previously-unreleased recordings with Dolly, falls off the 75-position country albums chart, down from No. 67 in its second week last week. Martina McBride's Timeless, featuring Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," slips four to No. 56 in its 102nd chart week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," re-enters the 15-position bluegrass list at No. 8 for a 62nd week, while the Sugar Hill compilation Absolutely Bluegrass Vol. 1, including Dolly's "I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open," gets a seventh week on the bluegrass chart with a two-digit climb to No. 13. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with the No. 1 Dolly duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," loses one to No. 9 on the country catalog albums chart in its eighth week since being removed from the main albums list due to longevity rules and slips seven to No. 51 Canadian country. Rascal Flatts stays at No. 1 country for a second week with Still Feels Good, which falls one to No. 2 pop with 168,000 copies sold, while Reba McEntire's Reba Duets remains at No. 2 country and falls two to No. 8 pop in its third week with 80,000 units moved.
YouTubin' The Web A couple of interesting Dolly appearances have popped up on YouTube in recent days. Tampa Bay-area radio station WQYK posted a video clip from her recent stop by the station to meet contest winners and do an on-air interview to promote her new single. View it here. And S.D. Professionals LLC, organizers with brother Randy Parton of his benefit concert to support Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program on Oct. 21 at South Carolina's Pig Pickin' Festival in Kingtree, posted a clip of her promoting the show. See it here.
'Opry' DVDs Coming Time Life will on Nov. 20 release eight DVDs featuring classic Grand Ole Opry performances from the 1950s through the 1970s including at least one Dolly appearance, the label announced Thursday. Although the exact Dolly material to be featured has yet to be revealed, the collection will feature the following DVDs: "Queens," "Pioneers," "Honky Tonk Heroes," "Love Ballads," "Hall of Fame," "Duets," "Songs That Topped The Charts" and "Legends." See a brief on the collection from CMT.com here.
Lovin' Them Some Dolly British Columbia online newspaper The Tyee on Thursday chose to plug some Dolly music. Brought on by her recent Dancing With The Stars appearance, the commentator noted that "Better Get To Livin'" is good and believable, but that to get an idea of what Dolly's really capable of readers should get a copy of 1999's The Grass Is Blue. Read the full item here.
Oct. 11: 'Better' To Move Up Two Dolly's "Better Get To Livin'" will see a slight gain in the country singles chart dated Oct. 20 that comes out Thursday, according to Billboard. The track will inch up two spots to No. 50 thanks to an increase in airplay. For the week of Oct. 1-7, the song registered 128 spins at the radio stations which report their playlists for the chart, up from 117 the previous week. The additional airplay brought the audience that heard the songs up about 80,000 listeners for the week to 1.04 million.
Kenny & Dolly Make List Kenny Rogers and Dolly have made a British listener-voted poll of the best duets of all time. Their 1984 collaboration "Islands In The Stream" came in at No. 6 on the survey conducted by BBC Radio 6. "Foggy Dew" as recorded by Sinéad O'Connor and The Chieftains took the top spot. See a list of the top 40 here. Thanks, David!
Oct. 10: Daniels, Carter Discs On The Shelves Two new CDs with Dolly appearances hit stores on Tuesday. The long-awaited Charlie Daniels duets collection Deuces features the rollicking "Daddy's Old Fiddle," which Dolly wrote together and they recorded as a duet. Also out is Deana Carter's tribute to her studio musician father's biggest hits, The Chain, with a Dolly duet on "Love is Like A Butterfly." An Associated Press review of Carter's collection singles out their duet as "beautiful." Read it here.
Dolly Track 'Retired' Thanks to James for letting me know that Dolly's current single, "Better Get To Livin'," was retired Tuesday as the five-night consecutive champion on Tucson's KIIM-FM "Bunkhouse Brawl." The song competition, which pits new songs against each other for listener votes, saw Dolly win for a fifth night Tuesday against Rascal Flatts' "Winner At A Losing Game," the maximum number of times they allow a song to remain in competition.
Library Praised The editorial board at Michigan's Bay City Times this week singled out the local chapter of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program in Bay and Arenac Counties for special recognition, calling it "a wonderful program" with great success. Read the editorial here.
Thank You! A special note of appreciation goes out to everyone who voted in the annual BT Digital Music Awards in recent weeks. Thanks to your support, Dollymania was selected by public votes as the 29th best unofficial music website worldwide and, as has been the case for the past several years in the international competition, it ranked as the No. 1 website dedicated to a country music artist on the Internet. View lists of the top 100 music blogs, top 200 official websites and top 200 unofficial websites here out of the several thousand which received votes.
Oct. 9: 'RS' Tags 'Jolene' For Best Cheating Songs Rolling Stone magazine over the weekend asked its online readers to name their favorite cheating songs, and Dolly made the top 5. Her classic "Jolene" came in at No. 4, beaten only by Squeeze with "Tempted," Hank Williams with "Your Cheating Heart" and No. 1 pick Marvin Gaye with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," the publication announced Monday. But she and Hank weren't the only country artists on the list of the 15 most "authoritative adultery tracks," as Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats," which she prefaces in her live concerts with "Jolene," was No. 12 and "You Ain't Woman Enough" by pal Loretta Lynn found itself at No. 15. Read the full list here.
Dolly In 'EW' I'm told that Dolly is also in the new (Oct. 12) issue of Entertainment Weekly. Her declining to serve as a judge on American Idol (although she is expected to mentor contestants in a show paying tribute to her music) gets a shout out in the "Hit List" column at No. 4, garnering a photo of her and the magazine's joke that she chose not to do it "because they don't practice Idolatry in Pigeon Forge." Thanks, Don!
Recognizing Dolly's Library See a mural in Ashe County, N.C., honoring Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program in The Jefferson Post online edition here.
Oct. 8: Gone Again Down Under After a one-week reprieve, the compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 this week falls back off the top 20 country chart in Australia, it was announced Sunday. The disc, which fell from No. 20 the previous week, spent 21 weeks on the chart there.
A Little 'Better' Movement Here are a couple of tid-bits related to Dolly's current single, "Better Get To Livin'": The song has been added to the New Country playlist on Sirius satellite radio (channel 60), and you may visit their website here and request it by clicking on the "request a song" function. Secondly, thanks to James for alerting me that the song is the current champion at the Tucson's KIIM-FM "Bunkhouse Brawl." The song competition runs Tuesday through Friday each week, and Dolly's tune beat off Gretchen Wilson on Tuesday with "You Don't Have To Go Home." On Wednesday, it beat "For These Times" by Martina McBride, then on Thursday it won over Vince Gill's "How Lonely Looks." On Friday, it was up against Luke Bryan's "We Rode In Trucks," so I suppose we'll learn on Tuesday whether or not it holds up for another night. Read more, including how to vote, from the station's website here.
Dollywood Fest Plugged Dollywood's National Gospel and Harvest Celebration, which kicked off Friday, was profiled over the weekend in Nashville's The Tennessean take a read here.
Oct. 6: 'Better' Review Noted Thanks to Tony for finding a great review of Dolly's current single, "Better Get To Livin'," in which the reviewer opines that the song so captures Dolly's essence that "it is instantly a definitive record," earning an "A+" rating. Read the full review here.
Dolly In Print There are a couple of Dolly mentions in the new issue of Country Weekly hitting newsstands now, but both are in the flashback section. The first cites the gold certification of "Islands In The Stream" with Kenny Rogers for sales of 1 million copies in October 1983 (two months later, it would become the year's sole platinum single for sales of more than 2 million units). The second is a quote from her used to illustrate the magazine's cover story from this week 10 years ago on country music's legends not being played on radio any longer (sound familiar?).
Better Get To YouTubin' I was surfing on YouTube tonight and checking out several of the fan-generated videos for Dolly's new single, and I stumbled upon this one, which happens to be onte of the cutest and most creative things I've seen on the site. Take a look here.
Oct. 5: 'Better,' 'Biggest' Back On The Charts As was previously reported here, Dolly's "Better Get To Livin'" is back on the charts, re-entering the Billboard country singles tally in the Oct. 13 numbers at a new peak of No. 52 in its second week. The song enjoyed 117 spins between Sept. 24 and 30 on radio stations nationwide that report their tallies for the chart, totaling an audience of 965,000 people, up from just 549,000 the previous week, thanks to her appearance on Dancing With The Stars. In other chart news, that's not Dolly's only re-appearance in the magazine this week. Her SonyBMG compilation 16 Biggest Hits also comes back, also reaching a new peak with its No. 61 re-entry for a fifth week on the country albums chart. Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems , the Emmylou Harris boxed set featuring several Dolly appearances, including two previously-unreleased Trio tracks, slips 18 to No. 67 on the country albums chart, and Martina McBride's Timeless, with Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," re-enters the 75-position country albums chart at No. 52 for a 101st chart week. Two pals are gone, though, as Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, which includes Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," falls back off the 15-position bluegrass list, down from No. 10 the previous week, its 61st, and the Kenny Rogers collection 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," falls off the country side, down from No. 71 in its 84th week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Dolly, remains steady at No. 8 on the country catalog albums chart in its seventh week since being removed from the main albums list due to longevity rules and dips three to No. 44 Canadian country. The Sugar Hill compilation Absolutely Bluegrass Vol. 1, which includes Dolly's "I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open," re-enters for a sixth week on the bluegrass albums list at No. 15. Rascal Flatts sees Still Feels Good debut at No. 1 on the country and pop charts with 547,000 units moved in its first week, while Reba McEntire's Reba Duets slips one to No. 2 country and five to No. 6 pop in its second week with 129,000 copies sold.
More On 'Better' In other news, "Better Get To Livin'" tumbles off the top 100 most popular country downloads at iTunes Friday after two days sitting at No. 91. The folks at Indie World Country, however, tell me that they've selected the song as their "pick of the week." Thanks, Gordon!
Mich. Library Promoted The Bay City Times on Thursday profiled the highly successful chapter of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program in Bay and Arenac Counties, Mich., noting that in less than three years, the program there has raised more than $1 million in contributions and sent out more than 125,000 books to children. Read more here.
Oct. 4: Daniels, Carter Duets Out On CD Next Week Charlie Daniels says he and Dolly couldn't find a song they wanted to sing together for his new duets album, Deuces, which hits stores next Tuesday, so they decided to just sit down and write a new one together. That revelation of how their collaboration, "Daddy's Old Fiddle," came to be is among the tid-bits in an interview released Wednesday with Metro Spirit in Augusta, Ga. Read it here. Also coming out Tuesday is the Deana Carter album The Chain, which is reviewed here this week from Music Box. The reviewer singles out her duet with Dolly on "Love Is Like A Butterfly" (which is still available from iTunes here) as "ebulliently perky" and one of the disc's best tracks.
Dolly On GAC Dolly's recent press conference appearance to announce a permanent home for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame will be profiled on the new edition of Country Music Across America premiering on the Great American Country (GAC) cable network at 8 p.m. Eastern Thursday, the channel announced Wednesday. The show repeats throughout the next two weeks.
'Here You Come Again' Turns 30 CMT's official blog recognizes the 30th anniversary of the release of Dolly's first pop hit, "Here You Come Again," analyzing its impact on country music and the same complaints made today against artists for not being "country." Read it here.
Oct. 3: Dolly On Radio, TV In Fla. Dolly was making the PR rounds down in Florida Tuesday to promote all of her "product" -- her new single, the upcoming CD, the Broadway show, Dollywood and more. See some photos of her arrival and departure from Tampa Bay-area radio station WQYK from reader Jody here, and some images from the radio station's website here. After her radio appearance, local television station FOX 13 stopped by the radio station to interview her on a live remote. Watch that on the TV channel's website here. Image at left courtesy Jody Meguiar. Used with permission. Thanks, Jody!
CMT Interview Available Online CMT.com has posted streaming video from this weekend's Insider appearance where she answers fan questions in its "Loaded" section online. For those who missed it, take a look here.
Writer: Dolly Beloved World Over "No one hates Dolly." That's the conclusion of a columnist in The Glenn Falls Post-Star in New York. An article here notes how she remains so sweet and upbeat that everybody loves her, adding that maybe the adoration of her (and of Bette Midler) has something to do with the fact that they've not been involved in any nasty scandals where they did really bad things like many of today's celebrities.
Randy's Library Concert Update Get an update on the Oct. 21 Randy Parton concert at South Carolina's Pig Pickin' Festival to benefit Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program there in a press release here. The show will also feature a performance by niece Heidi Lou and a video remote from Dolly herself.
Oct. 2: 'Better' Is Back At Billboard "Better Get To Livin'," Dolly's current single, is once again back on the charts and at a better position than before, Billboard disclosed Monday. The tune, which she performed last Wednesday on Dancing With The Stars, will re-enter the country singles chart at No. 52 in the Oct. 13 edition to be released in its entirety Thursday. The tally is based on country radio airplay from Monday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 30, so it covers the four days immediately after her national appearance before 17 million television viewers. Given, though, that the song's official "add date" when radio stations are asked to start playing it wasn't until this Monday, I would expect some stations will be playing it this week that weren't playing it before, which hopefully will translate into a higher chart position in next week's numbers. Thanks to some in-studio appearances and call-ins promoting it in some key markets, Dolly's up-tempo number earned enough airplay two weeks ago to debut at No. 57, but spins fell off the following week, causing it to drop off the 60-position country list for a week before Monday's return. On another chart, iTunes' top 100 country downloads (since the single is available exclusively from the online retailer as a digital single), the recording fell again Monday, dropping 18 points to No. 69.
Promotions Continue To Roll Out Dolly is still out promoting the track, too, so that should help get some spins as well. I'm told she made an unannounced in-studio stop at Knoxville's WIVK Monday, one of the stations on which she performed as a child. Hosts Andy and Alison had no idea she planned to pop in, and she talked for nearly an entire hour about everything from the new album to her appearances on Disney's Hannah Montana. For those who missed it, I'm told the station plans to air highlights throughout Tuesday morning's 6-10 a.m. program, which is available for online listening on the station's website here. Thanks, Diane! Also on Tuesday, she is scheduled to drop in for The "Cletus T. Party Show" sometime between 7 and 8 a.m. on Tampa Bay's WQYK down in Florida (and supposedly will follow that up with an interview with Fox 13 in the city, although I haven't confirmed that). Listen to WQYK's show online via its website here. Thanks, Jody!
Hazel Still Loves Her Dolly Dolly's recent comments at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame press conference made Hazel Smith's "Hot Dish" column this week on CMT.com. Take a look here.
Dolly's Got Some Found Money All the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills . . . in Dolly's name! Well, I'm sure the amount isn't very large -- it never is in these cases -- but an article in The Sacramento Bee this week says Dolly's name is among the well-knowns on a list held by the State of California for unclaimed property due them. Most cash for people on the list, normally a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, comes from forgotten bank accounts, unreturned utility deposits or other such transactions.
Oct. 1: Site: Dolly To Do Video Dolly will soon film a video for her current single, "Better Get To Livin'," it was announced Sunday on her official music website, Dolly Parton Music.net. The video, to be shot at "an undisclosed location" during the final two weeks of October, will be directed by Steve Lippman, who previously directed David Bowie's "Reality," Carly Simon's "Into White" and Rosanne Cash's "Mariners & Musicians." In related news, the site added that she will make another "major national television appearance" before Dec. 31, presumably to continue promoting the song, although which show has yet to be revealed. And the song officially hits radio on Monday, its "add date" when stations are asked to begin adding it to their regular play lists (although several have already been playing it for a couple of weeks), so more stations will begin accepting requests for it starting on Monday. Finally, the song takes a slight dip Sunday on the iTunes country downloads chart, falling four to No. 51. Get the song exclusively from iTunes here!
Last Reader Images Posted Thanks to Sharon for sending in some great shots of Dolly from the Barbeque and Bluegrass Fest kick-off at Dollywood, marking what (at least for now) is the final group of reader-submitted images which the site has received from her appearances. They have been added to the galleries on that section of the site here. Image at left courtesy Sharon Johnson. Used with permission.
'Very Best' Returns Down Under The overseas compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 gets some new life Down Under this week, it was revealed Sunday. The disc returns to the 20-position Australian country albums chart at No. 20 for a 21st chart week.
Dolly In Print A Dolly interview from her recent New York visit to accept the Johnny Mercer Award from the national Songwriters Hall of Fame is included in the 10th anniversary issue of Talent in Motion magazine, the publication announced over the weekend. The fall edition will hit newsstands this week and be available on the magazine's website here at the middle of the month. The article, which dubs Dolly "The Golden Songstress," will include photos by Stephanie Parker and an interview by the magazine's publisher and editor-in-chief, A. Brooks.
Dolly Answers Viewer Queries On CMT It was the fans who got their questions in for Dolly on CMT Insider on Saturday. Filmed during last month's Dollywood Barbeque & Bluegrass Fest opening, host Katie Cook read for her queries submitted by viewers on the network's website, and Dolly responded. The episode repeated throughout the weekend, with its final re-runs at 2 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Eastern Monday. The questions that made the air were:
Her favorite food -- potatoes. "Every diet I ever fell off of was because of a potato of some kind."
Since word leaked she's working on a dance album, would she consider working with Madonna? She said it would be good, adding they could be "MaDolly and Madonna . . . more like Methuselah and Madonna."
She was asked if her high heels hurt her feet. She said they do if she stays on them too long but that they likely hurt less than most women's because her shoes are custom made to fit her feet.
Asked what was in her purse, she said it was just like her mother's, holding everything in the world. "It's the store. It's the drug store. It's my make up kit. It's my toolbox." She even joked about sticking a wig in it, taking it out, swatting it against her knee to fluff it out and putting it back on.