Oct. 24: Dolly Gets Three New Songs On CMA Awards Dolly had previously announced at the Opry the other weekend that she would be performing a "faith-based medley" on next month's CMA Awards ending it with her collaboration with EDM duo Galantis and Mr. Probz, "Faith," but the CMAs announced on Wednesday that Dolly will actually be performing all three of her current singles: "God Only Knows" with For King & Country (which was released Aug. 30), "There Was Jesus" with Zach Williams (which was released Oct. 4) and "Faith" (which comes out Friday). In related news, the CMAs released a video of what country music means to them which is viewable here and Galantis released a clip from the video set to come out Friday for their single with Dolly, which is viewable here.
Dolly Podcast Continues With Porter Years An equally stunning second episode of Dolly Parton's America premiered Tuesday focusing on Dolly's time with Porter Wagoner and writing "I Will Always Love You" to break up their partnership. Episode three will come next week.
Dollywood Comments On Anti-Gay Rant Dollywood was dragged into a political debate this week as a member of the Sevier County Commissioners ended a debate on the county becoming an anti-gun-control "second amendment sanctuary" by lamenting that the current presidential race has an openly gay candidate, whom he referred as an offensive slur, and that the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates could be replaced by better people if they visited the county jail. He ended his rant by claiming that white men have very few rights in today's America and are losing more of them daily. The news report from WVLT went viral, prompting calls for boycotts of the county, which includes Dolly's park. The fallout resulted in public statements from the county administrator, local mayors, and other officials denouncing his remarks. Even Dollywood had to release a statement: "We read the comments made in Monday night's County Commission meeting and they do not reflect the Dollywood experience in any way. Dollywood is open and welcoming to everyone, every day." Dolly's sister Stella also weighed in, noting "I do not speak for any of my siblings or their children, I speak for myself. I abhor this type of thinking and I disagree completely and it makes me sad and ashamed. I'm reminded of why I left home as soon as possible when I was a teenager." Even "liberal redneck" Trae Crowder commented, urging people to understand that not everyone in the area feels the way the politician does and that they should think of goddess Dolly when they think of Sevier County, not that idiot. Watch his commentary here and read the report from WVLT here.
Oct. 22: 'Heartstrings' To Premiere At Dollywood Oct. 30 Dollywood has announced it will host a "Heartstrings Film Festival" next week to premiere Dolly's Heartstrings series for Netflix. The movies start at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, and conclude at 9:25 p.m. that evening. Attendees will need to obtain a free wristband at the park's front gate that morning while supplies last. The episodes will all be shown in the Showstreet Palace Theater. It has not been revealed whether Dolly or any other stars of the series will be in attendance. The schedule is as follows:
10 a.m.. J.J. Sneed (60 minutes)
11:45 a.m. These Old Bones (85 minutes)
1:10 p.m. If I Had Wings (65 minutes)
2:30 p.m. Jolene (70 minutes)
4 p.m. Cracker Jack (65 minutes)
5:25 p.m. Sugar Hill (60 minutes)
6:45 p.m. Down From Dover (65 minutes)
8:10 p.m. Two Doors Down (65 minutes)
Two With Dolly Ties Honored By Hall Of Fame The Country Music Hall of Fame medallion ceremony for this year's inductees was held on Sunday, and there were two Dolly connections. Inductee former RCA head Jerry Bradley, who helped her cross over to pop superstardom, was honored with British artist Yola belting out Dolly's "Jolene," and it was noted that inductee Ray Stevens produced some of her first singles for indie label Monument Records in 1965.
Oct. 21: Dollywood Gives Free Season Passes To Preschoolers Dollywood last week announced that as part of its 35th anniversary celebration, pre-schoolers who are aged four or five by January 5 will be able to obtain free 2020 season passes to the park. The "Imagination Season Pass" must be reserved online between this Monday and Jan. 5, following up with a visit to the park's front gate with a copy of the child's birth certificate or passport to confirm age. They will then receive a free pass good for the remainder of the 2019 season and all of the 2020 season. Learn more here.
Dollywood Announces Flower & Food Fest Dollywood last week also announced its first new festival addition in 14 years with the May 8-June 14 Flower & Food Festival, which will immerse guests in half a million spring flowers and plants as well as fresh spring Smoky Mountain foods. Dolly explained in a press release: "When I was just a little girl, spring was a wondrous time. Everything came to life – flowers bloomed in the meadow near our house, and the Dogwood, red bud and fruit trees blossomed with the sweetest smells. I imagined having my own special field of flowers that were a fragrant home to my favorite animal friends in the woods. Now, my Dollywood becomes that special place with everything made of flowers – I can't wait to share it with everyone just in time for our 35th season!" Flower sculpting team Mosaicultures will create flower-based turtles, racoons, frogs and bears throughout the park, with blooming topiary tributes to Dolly's biggest songs – such as her mother sewing her famous Coat of Many Colors to a floral heart umbrella for "I Will Always Love You." The park will also add an "umbrella sky" of hundreds of multi-colored umbrellas above their heads, which Dolly said gives new meaning to her "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain" Dollyism.
Dolly: New Single Coming Friday Dolly last week announced that her collaboration with Dutch EDM (electronic dance music) duo Galantis, first reported here back in March, will be released for purchase this Friday. The track, "Faith," also features Dutch rapper Mr. Probz and will close out her faith-based medley at next month's CMA Awards, she had revealed last weekend.
Netflix Releases Photos From 'Heartstrings' Series Netflix last week FINALLY made the official announcement that Dolly's Heartstrings anthology will drop on the streaming service Nov. 22, although the date had been leaked through a couple of other media outlets weeks earlier. The network also released several "first look" images from the series including Dolly's special Robert Behar-designed outfits for her intro/outro commentary of several episodes, which appeared in an exclusive Entertainment Weekly layout here. Other coverage included UPI here.
Zack Williams Talks Dolly Collaboration Zach Williams chatted with religion site Patheos about working with Dolly on their new duet "There Was Jesus". Read it here.
'Dolly Parton's America' Podcast Continues The spectacular Dolly Parton's America podcast premiered last week with its first episode, "Sad Ass Songs." A new episode should premiere each week, with the second one coming this week, until we get closer to the holidays and the last few episodes begin showing up with about two weeks or so between them. The podcast is available for free streaming from iTunes or wherever you choose to listen to your podcasts. Coverage of the premiere included Garden & Gunhere, Rolling Stonehere, Preventionhere, Nashville Scenehere and The Knoxville News-Sentinelhere.
More From Grand Ole Opry Appearance Coverage of Dolly's recent Grand Ole Opry 50th anniversary continued last week with a piece from ABC Nightly Newshere, photos from Nash Country Dailyhere and a podcast backstage from USA Todayhere.
U.K., Aussie Chart Updates The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt holds onto the No. 1 spot on the British country compilation albums chart in its 162nd 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) gains three to No. 7, while Harris' Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) rises three to No. 10 and Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) rises three to No. 7. Down Under, the "gold series" re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton (Australian Tour Edition) shoots up 10 spots to No. 20 in its 422nd chart week on the Australian country albums chart since its original 2007 release, it was revealed Saturday.
Stampede Christmas Shows Coming Dolly's Stampede dinner theatre in Branson, Mo., switches over to its annual Christmas show this Thursday, while her Pigeon Forge location makes the change next Wednesday, Oct. 30, it has been announced.
Sorry For Lack Of Updates Apologies for the lack of updates last week. Work commitments plus family responsibilities kept me away from my computer for a few days. I still have a few galleries of photos from the Opry appearance to post for you!
'Still Working 9 to 5' Formally Announced Although you've read little tidbits here and there about the upcoming documentary Still Working 9 To 5 here over the past few months, filmmakers Larry and Gary Lane on Monday made the official announcement of the project, releasing a trailer here or in the media player below, and starting a Kickstarter campaign to finish the film here with lots of goodies for donors, including items shown at left. Grammy-winning songwriter Shane Mcanally has signed on to score the film, and interviews include the stars of the film, television series that followed and Broadway and West End musical adaptations as well as leaders in the labor industry who look at the origins of the movie and what has changed – and what has not changed – 40 years later for women in the workplace.
Labor Anthem Or Marxist Manifesto, '9 To 5' AJ+, an online component of the Al Jazeera news network, recently released an analysis piece looking at the "radical politics" of Dolly's song "9 To 5" and the concept album she recorded around it in 1980. Watch it on YouTube here or in the media player below.
Overseas Chart Updates The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt holds onto the No. 1 spot on the British country compilation albums chart in its 161st 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) adds two to No. 10, while Harris' Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) moves up four spots to No. 13 and Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) falls two to No. 11. Down Under, the "gold series" re-issue of The Very Best Of Dolly Parton (Australian Tour Edition) gains six to No. 30 in its 421st chart week on the Australian country albums chart since its original 2007 release, it was revealed Saturday.
Oct. 11: NBC To Air Dolly's Opry Anniversary As Special NBC on Thursday announced that it will tape and air Dolly's 50th anniversary celebration at the Grand Ole Opry this weekend for airing as the network's first special program of the holiday season next month. Dolly Parton: 50 Years At The Grand Ole Opry will air 9 p.m.-11 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Nov. 26, to kick off NBC's "Oh What Fun" slate of holiday programming. The two-hour special will feature interviews as well as performances by Dolly, Dierks Bentley, Emmylou Harris, Chris Janson, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Margo Price, Hank Williams Jr. and more, which suggests it will feature taping from both Friday and Saturday's performances. "I'm so thrilled to be celebrating my 50-year anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry," Dolly said in a press release. "I'm also excited that NBC wanted to share in this milestone with me. Together we hope to entertain a broader audience on what the Grand Ole Opry is and what it means to me. We have some special treats, surprises and Great Performances by some very talented artists and I'm looking so forward to sharing it with you." In related news, WSM has announced it will repeat the two-hour special Dolly By The Decades at 3 p.m. Central Saturday over the air as well as online here or on the WSM app. Of course, you may listen to Saturday's Opry show live on WSM's website and app as well.
San Francisco Celebrates Dolly This Weekend Music City isn't the only place celebrating Dolly this weekend, as the annual El Rio birthday party and Dolly Hoot is scheduled for 2 p.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday in San Francisco. Check out the Facebook event page here.
Oct. 10: You're A Litigious One, Charlie Brown Creators of A Charlie Brown Christmas on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against Dolly's theme park seeking upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential damages for use of the holiday song "Christmas Time Is Here." Dollywood has apparently used the song in its holiday stage production Twas The Night Before Christmas during the annual Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival since at least 2007. Although the park had a blanket performance license from music publishing representatives BMI which allowed the broadcast of the recorded version of the song on the park grounds and live performance in concerts, the plaintiffs, Lee Mendelson Film Productions Inc., which represents songwriters Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi and their publishing rights, allege that the park neglected to obtain a separate dramatic use license which allows for the song to be included in a dramatic play presentation. They claim in the suit they notified the park of their complaint in September and that the park responded by pulling the song from the 2018 Christmas festival and had expressed interest in seeking a license to use it going forward but had not pursued it. Therefore, with no agreement to use it going forward, the company appears to have decided to sue to ensure it is not used in the future and to seek damages for all past use. The suit seeks a trial to determine what profits the park generated as a result of the use of the song and that all of those profits be turned over to them, or alternately the maximum statutory damage of $150,000 per performance without a license, plus attorney's fees. Given the number of years the show was performed and the number of times a day it is performed, the per-performance calculation could easily top $300 million if the park were to lose the suit and the maximum penalty assessed. If the court were to find there was infringement but it was not willful, that is that the park did not intentionally violate any copyrights and thought that its existing license included the use, per-performance damages would between $1.5 million and $60 million. Deciding whether a performance constitutes a live performance covered by the blanket license or a dramatic performance not covered by the license can be subjective and often has to be determined by a court in cases such as these. Several media outlets covered the lawsuit and sought comment from the park, which declined to speak about pending litigation.
'Elle' Names Dolly Among '2019 Women In Hollywood' Elle magazine on Wednesday revealed Dolly is among its 2019 class of the Women of Hollywood being profiled in the November issue hitting newsstands Oct. 22. They posted her interview and new stunning photos online here. Among the tidbits were confirmation of the previously-reported Netflix premiere date of Nov. 22 for Heartstrings, that as part of her deal to develop new commercial merchandise she plans to include a new wig line, and that she had, in fact, been invited to record a new remix of "Old Town Road" but decided against it, explaining: "it had done so well with so many people. I thought, 'Well, I'll wait and do something later on. No point in going down that same Old Town Road. We got other roads to travel.'"
Jimmy Carter Still Loves Dolly President Jimmy Carter was recently interviewed about several subjects and was asked about his taste in music. WBIR reports here that he likes country music and specifically mentioned that Dolly, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have been good friends of his for years and are among his favorites to hear sing.
Oct. 9: Dolly Opry Week Opens Dolly Week at the Opry kicked off Tuesday night with a tribute show featuring John Conlee, Stephanie Quayle, Jeannie Seely, The Isaacs, Ashley Campbell, Suzy Bogguss and Dustin Lynch. Earlier in the day, the Opry announced via Twitter that WSM radio (available here or on the WSM app) will air a two-hour special, Dolly By The Decades, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to highlight her life, music, and career. Wednesday's show features new additions Riders in the Sky, Smithfield and The Whites in addition to the previously-announced Stephanie Urbina Jones, Del McCoury Band, Don Schlitz, Sam Williams and Sara Evans. The additional acts to join the ones previously announced for Thursday, Friday and Dolly's Saturday shows had not been revealed yet as of press time Tuesday.
Dolly Releases New Gifs Dolly has added several reaction gifs to her official Giphy page here.
Cincinnati Dolly Party Returns Unwind Wine Bar in Cincinnati will host its third annual Dolly-themed party, Darrick's Dolly Night, Saturday, Nov. 2, complete with legendary Dolly impersonator Vancie Vega. Seats must be reserved in advance (only one-quarter of seats remain available), but there is no cost to do so. Vega will perform at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and guests are asked to remain for both shows. (Your webmaster also plans to attend!) Reserve your seats here.
Oct. 5: New Song, 'There Was Jesus,' Released
You may recall it reported here two months ago that Dolly had recorded a new song with contemporary Christian singer Zach Williams that would be released Friday; well, the song, "There Was Jesus", was released as promised. Listen to it on YouTube here or in the media player above, and download it from Amazon here!
Latest Details On Dolly's Podcast Coming Producers for Dolly Parton's America on Thursday released much more information about the series via press release. They revealed the nine-part podcast will premiere Oct. 15 and was created from more than 12 hours of interviews with Dolly herself conducted over the course of two years and many more interviews with individuals who surround her. In it, Dolly speaks of her life, music, businesses, faith, politics and heaven. It also highlights the London premiere of her 9 To 5: The Musical and the 2017 Emmys reunion with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Over 50 guests also chat about Dolly including her nephew and bodyguard, Bryan Seaver, who takes the host to her Tennessee Mountain Home; Fonda, Gloria Steinem, students in the Dolly class at the University of Tennessee, the host's father (who treated her following a 2014 car accident), African-American country music singer Rhiannon Giddens, Cas Walker grocery store manager Charlie Hurst, author Sarah Smarsh, journalist Aisha Harris who had slammed Dixie Stampede's Civil War image, 9 To 5 screenwriter Patricia Resnick and Knoxville drag queen Cole Tipton. Vanity Fair premiered an exclusive six-minute excerpt from the first episode which you may hear here.
More Opry Remembrances From Dolly With Dolly Week at the Grand Ole Opry starting Monday and her 50th anniversary appearance just one week away, The Tennessean started its coverage Friday with two stories: an interview where she connected her East Tennessee upbringing to her early career here and her favorite early Opry memories here.
Dress Up At Dollywood Normally, costumes are prohibited at Dollywood, but for a limited time, they may be worn when visiting the Great Pumpkin LumiNights festival at the park. Through Nov. 2, costumes may be worn as long as they are not Dolly or Santa and do not have masks, do not have accessories that cover the face, may not look like weapons, and may not drag on the ground. Some costume accessories my need to be removed for rides depending on each attraction's loose article requirement.
Trio Tops U.K. Chart Again The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt moves up one place this week to regain the No. 1 spot on the British country compilation albums chart in its 160th 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) slides three to No. 12, while Harris' Original Album Series, Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) inches up one to No. 17 and Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) falls two to No. 9.
Oct. 2: Dolly Week Opry Guests Announced With one week to go until the start of Dolly Week at the Grand Ole Opry, the initial list of performers for each night was announced on Tuesday. Nash Country Daily reports here they are:
Oct. 8 (Opry House) Dustin Lynch, Suzy Bogguss, The Isaacs, Stephanie Quayle and more
Oct. 9 (Opry House) Sara Evans, Del McCoury Band, Don Schlitz, Sam Williams, Stephanie Urbina Jones and more
Oct. 10 (Opry Classics at the Ryman) The Gatlin Brothers, Dale Ann Bradley, Emily West, Shawn Camp & Lauren Mascitti, Sierra Hull, Hannah Dasher and more
Oct. 11 (Two Shows, Opry House) Bill Anderson, Barry Gibb, Dierks Bentley (1st show only), Margo Price, Emmylou Harris, Chris Janson and more
Oct. 12 (Two Shows, Opry House) Dolly, Lady Antebellum, Jeannie Seely, Toby Keith, Margo Price, Barry Gibb, Hank Williams, Jr. (1st show only), Candi Carpenter and more
In addition, Branswon Trilakes News reports that here former Wagonmaster Buck Trent, who invented the electric banjo, will be playing with Dolly at the Opry on Oct. 12.
'Dumplin'' Goes For Grammy Awards Dolly's Dumplin' Original Motion Picture Soundtrack producer Linda Perry is aiming to become the first woman to be nominated twice for the Grammy Awards Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Last year, she became the first woman nominated in the category in 15 years. This year, she is on the first ballot of potential nominees in recognition of her work with Dolly on the soundtrack in addition to an album by Natasha Bedingfield and singles by Beatie Wolfe, Willa Amie and Lion, Billboard noted here. The article also reported that Dolly's CD is on the first ballot seeking a nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. If she gets a nod, it will mean she's been up for each of the Grammys' three movie and television awards, as she had previously been nominated for the precursor to Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for 9 To 5 and the precursor to Best Song Written for Visual Media for "Travelin' Thru." There is no news as to whether any other tracks from the album are on the first ballot in other categories. Nominations will be announced Nov. 20.