Nov. 30: Getting Ready To Party With Dolly Fans are gearing up for the return of the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour later this week. A few seats on the second raised level for Thursday night's Austin show became available here on Monday. Previously, that section had been sold out -- along with the entire first raised level, the floor and most of the third raised level, leaving only seats in the back of that back level available. Tickets remain toward the back of the upper two levels of raised seats for Friday's concert in Dallas here, and plenty of seats remain for Sunday's Houston stop here.
Everyone who entered CMT.com's contest to win a trip for two to Reno to see Dolly's sold-out concert there better hang around the phones on Tuesday, as that is the day that the network is expected to notify the contest winner. Entries were accepted through Sunday, and one grand prize winner will receive a prize package including round-trip airfare for two to Reno, two nights at the Reno Hilton, two VIP tickets to the Dec. 11 concert and $500 spending money. In addition, 20 first-place winners will receive a prize package of tour merchandise valued at $65.
'Bye, Bye, Bye' The Dolly lip-synching story based on a tabloid report is starting to disappear from the Internet. World Entertainment News Network (WENN), which had syndicated a summarized version the story using quotes from the supermarket tabloid piece, agreed to remove the article from its wire services and archives on Monday upon being contacted by Dollymania with concerns over believed copyright infringement. The story had appeared on the Web sites of a couple of newspapers and several Clear Channel radio stations, which were also contacted about the matter and removed it from their sites on Monday. The "original" story, published in the Nov. 29 issue of The National Examiner, was based almost entirely on copyrighted material taken from Dollymania without permission. The magazine used Letters To The Webmaster from three disgruntled fans, altered them somewhat and presented them as quotes without citing the original source so that it would appear that the writers had spoken to the "reporter." It also took Dolly's comments to this site on the matter and printed them as if she had spoken to the magazine as well. In addition, the report had mischaracterized the situation to make it appear that most of Dolly's fans were outraged over her use of some pre-recorded vocals on her current tour when in reality only a very small minority has expressed any disappointment.
Jones, Dolly Video Going For Another Add For those cable and satellite subscribers who have Great American Country (GAC), the channel is planning to add Dolly's video with Norah Jones for their duet "Creepin' In," taken from Norah's recent DVD Norah Jones and The Handsome Band: Live in 2004, to the network's line-up in coming days! Although I haven't actually seen it air yet, it is supposedly already on CMT's schedule (but it is available for online viewing from their Web site here).
Catch The Mood If you want to get into the holiday spirit, take a listen to CMT.com's online listening party for the CD Christmas Grass Vol. 2, which includes Dolly's new recording of "Christmas Time's A Comin'." Hear it here, or order the CD here! Thanks, Luke!
Nov. 29: More Raves For Reading Show The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour, which returns to the stage Thursday night in Austin, got another glowing review over the weekend. The Allentown, Penn., Morning Call included her Nov. 20 stop in nearby Reading in its round-up of the previous week's events on Saturday. The reviewer noted "she is a performer who can make even the dingiest arena sparkle," adding that the only less-than-perfect aspect of the show is she uses too much self-depreciating humor to mask her amazing talent. Read the full review here.
For those who had hoped to get tickets to attend the $500-per-seat reception for 50 people at Dolly's Houston concert later this week, a friend who inquired about tickets forwarded to me a response from the event's beneficiaries, Interfaith CarePartners, which stated that it is sold out.
Couple Of Rare Cuts On CD CMT.com on Saturday praised a new bluegrass boxed set released a by Sony's Columbia/Legacy label a little more than a month ago titled Can't You Hear Me Callin' --Bluegrass: 80 Years of American Music. While Dolly's recent forays into bluegrass (and her early bluegrass-inspired songs) are absent from the 109-song set , she does make two guest appearances on a couple of fairly rare tracks. "A Vision of Mother," one of two songs on which she sang harmony on Ricky Skaggs' 1983 Epic/Sugar Hill album Don't Cheat In Our Hometown, is included, as is "Cora Is Gone," one of two tracks on which she sang harmony on Herb Pedersen's 1977 CBS album Sandman. This marks the first time, to my knowledge, that "Cora" makes it onto CD and the first time since the 1990 CD version of Hometown went out of print several years ago that "Vision" is available on CD. Order your copy of the set here, and read CMT.com's interview with the guy who put the collection together here.
Tabloid Misrepresented Information Without Permission From Editor and Publisher T. Duane Gordon: Over the weekend I picked up a copy of The National Examiner to see the "original" version of the lip-synching story that was abbreviated and distributed to radio stations and newspapers by World Entertainment News Network's wire service last week. I was shocked to see that the complete basis for the story was Letters To The Webmaster to Dollymania. The publication took three of those letters without permission from this site or the letters' original authors, altered them (deleting some words and moving others around) and presented them as quotes from individuals as if they had spoken to the "reporter" who wrote the "story." The "story" also took the comments Dolly made to this site on the issue and presented a portion of them to sound as if she had spoken to the magazine as well. The only original information included was an unidentified source "close to" Dolly who said that due to the compact touring schedule her voice would not hold up if she performed all of the numbers live. Classic "tabloid reporting," the magazine takes a tiny piece of truth and distorts it beyond recognition. For the record, this site has received several hundred e-mails from readers weighing in on the current tour, and of those, about 95 percent have had no problem with pre-recorded vocals, but about 5 percent were angered by their use. Of those e-mails, about 80 or 90 asked that their comments be published, with all but 10 or 12 saying they enjoyed the show and had no problem with lip-synching (usually either saying they couldn't detect any of it, or it was only noticeable on one or two songs). From those few objecting to the practice, the Examiner chose the three who were most bitterly outraged and used the comments from that very, very small minority to make it sound like most of Dolly's fans are up in arms over this. My sincere apologies to Dolly and her fans for the magazine's use of material from this site in a deceptive, sensationalistic way without my permission or knowledge.
Stripes Slip With 'Jolene' The White Stripes cover of Dolly's "Jolene," taken from the band's upcoming DVD Under Blackpool Lights, tumbles 21 points in its second week on the U.K. pop singles chart, falling to No. 37. The British single, which debuted last week at No. 1 on the independent labels singles chart, inches down three spots to No. 4 on that tally. However, British music site NME, whose fan-voted video countdown airs on MTV2, announced on Sunday that the video for the song advances to No. 1 this week on its countdown.
Stewart Slides Overseas, Too Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, featuring Dolly on the single "Baby It's Cold Outside," falls six spots to No. 22 in its sixth week on the U.K. pop albums chart, it was announced Sunday. In Australia, it drops eight notches to No. 24 pop in its fifth week.
Library Coming To Nashville In certainly one of the largest expansions yet for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, The Tennessean reported Sunday that Music City is a-go for the project which provides one free book per month for every child birth to age 5 whose parents sign up. Volunteers are raising money and hope to start sending books to children within three or four months, the paper reported. An announcement of how Nashville parents may sign up should come shortly after the program there is finalized and official. About 38,000 children of eligible age live in the city, and organizers expect about 10,000 to enroll in the program's first year there. A total of 26 counties in Tennessee have signed onto the program, thanks in part to $2 million in matching funds from the state. Nationwide, the program is active in nearly 400 communities across 39 states. Read the full story here.
Nov. 27: Reading Pics Available Special thanks to Mike for sending in some of his shots from Dolly's concert last week in Reading, Penn. They have been added to the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour galleries, available here.
The tour was on break this week for Thanksgiving but picks back up on Thursday in Austin. Tickets are available here, but only in the back of the third level of raised seats, so it is possible the show could sell out. The Dallas show on Friday, tickets for which are available here, only has seats left in the back of the first and second levels of raised seats, so it is another possible sell-out, although less likely than Austin. Her Houston stop a week from Sunday, however, has plenty of great seats remaining here.
The tour's closing night, Dec. 19 in Everett, Wash., got a plug in Friday's The Daily Herald there summarizing shows coming up through the holiday season. Read it here.
European Cover Update Arly Karlsen and Pat Roden's former No. 1 cover of Porter & Dolly's "Please Don't Stop Loving Me" inches down one spot to No. 15 on the new European CMA continent-wide country singles chart released Friday. The song held onto the No. 1 spot overseas for a record three months.
Nov. 26: 'Vegas' On Singles Chart Dolly's cover of "Viva Las Vegas" with The Grascals had an impressive sales start, it was announced this week. The Rounder Records CD single from the band's debut album to be released next year (and packaged with the group's "Me And John And Paul" and instrumental track "Sail Away Ladies") debuts at No. 3 on the Dec. 4 country singles sales chart, Billboard announced on Thursday. The song, however, has not garnered enough airplay to enter the regular country singles chart. Norah Jones also had a nice debut, with her new concert DVD Norah Jones and The Handsome Band: Live in 2004, featuring Dolly singing a live version of their duet "Creepin' In," entering the music video sales chart at No. 19. Dolly's own concert CD set, Live And Well, inches down two to No. 70 on the country albums chart in its 10th chart week. Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, featuring Dolly on the new single "Baby It's Cold Outside," drops three spaces to No. 14 pop and comprehensive in its fifth chart week but gains one to No. 5 for Internet sales. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, which contains the studio version of "Creepin' In" with Dolly, falls 13 spots to No. 81 pop and 15 places to No. 83 comprehensive in its 41st chart week and falls back out of the 25-position Internet sales chart, down from No. 17 the previous week. Mindy Smith's One Moment More, with Dolly harmonies on "Jolene," rises three to No. 36 in its 43rd week on the independent labels albums chart. Kenny Rogers' 42 Ultimate Hits, which includes "Islands In The Stream," remains steady at No. 64 country in its 25th chart week. Shimmy Down The Chimney , which features Dolly's version of "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" from 1990, shoots up 37 notches to No. 34 country in its second week and debuts at No. 38 on the return of the holiday albums chart for this year. Shania Twain's Greatest Hits remains at No. 1 country but falls three to No. 5 pop with 232,000 copies sold in its second week, while Toby Keith's Greatest Hits 2 remains at No. 2 country and loses four spots to No. 7 pop with 221,000 copies moved in its second week.
Meet Dolly In Houston Dolly has agreed to hold a special charity fund-raising reception immediately before her Dec. 5 concert in Houston on the current "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour, The Houston Chronicle reported on Thursday. Only 50 tickets will be sold at $500 each to attend the reception and receive concert tickets for the show. Proceeds will benefit Interfaith CarePartners, a local faith-based charity which provides support, transportation and companionship for families coping with illness, including Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS and children's diseases. For tickets, call Earl Shelp at 713-682-5995. For the paper's brief, click here.
Don't forget that in addition to that event, admissions to Dolly's traditionally small and exclusive meet-and-greets are being auctioned off for charity on eBay. The package for the Dec. 7 Vegas concert goes through next Thursday here, and the one for her Dec. 9 stop in Anaheim ends here a week from Friday.
And the World Entertainment News Network, the same showbiz news wire service that legitimized the false tabloid story about Dolly getting a breast reduction, thus causing it to be reported on dozens of radio stations and a few newspapers worldwide, this week issued another tabloid-based negative Dolly story. This one centers on her disclosed use of some pre-recorded vocals on the tour. Apparently taken from a story in the supermarket gossip tabloid The National Examiner, the story claims "legions of fans" are upset over lip-synching and demanding refunds. Read the story from a radio station Web site here. For those unfamiliar with the minor controversy, first reported here, Dolly suggests the use of some pre-recorded vocals by informing the audience at the start of each show that portions of it are "enhanced" and that she's not trying to "fool" anyone by doing that, instead she hopes it increases her ability to entertain them and hopefully produce a better sound. After some readers who attended early shows noticed lip-synching and their observations were reported here, Dolly released a statement to this site confirming portions of the show are pre-recorded, noting her disclosure at the beginning of each concert and saying that while she will not identify which songs are live and which are canned, "Just know that it's all Dolly, by golly." She concluded by asking fans to enjoy the show, as they are the reason she is back on the road. "I'm doing it for you," she said. Since then, the site has received literally hundreds of messages from fans weighing in on the subject, nearly all of whom said the use of some pre-recorded vocals didn't bother them. In fact, while the lip-synching concerns have been mentioned in three or four newspaper reviews of the concerts, each of those stories noted pointblank that fans at the shows apparently "didn't care" about it. While a very small minority has has complained, I have only heard of a handful of attendees asking for refunds, which is an infinitesimal number compared to the approximately 100,000 people who have attended the shows thus far on the tour.
New Penn. State, St. Louis Photos Posted A fan who was lucky enough to meet Dolly backstage at Sunday's concert at Penn. State, sent in some photos from the concert and from meeting Dolly in person, which have been added to the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour galleries. (And read Jennifer's letter to the webmaster explaining how she got to meet Dolly here.) And Robin sent in even more awesome photos this week from Dolly's St. Louis concert back on Halloween. View them in that section of the site here! Thanks, Jennifer and Robin!
AP Loves Norah And Dolly The Associated Press this week gave Norah Jones' concert DVD Norah Jones and The Handsome Band: Live in 2004 the thumbs-up, singling out Dolly's contribution of the duet "Creepin' In," saying: "Anyone who can watch the duet with Parton on 'Creepin' In' without cracking a smile truly has no heart. Dolly gets a standing ovation just by walking on the stage and she doesn't disappoint with her performance." Read the full review here.
Olympia Loves Dolly Why did Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis choose to play Clairee in the blockbuster film version of Steel Magnolias? To work with Dolly! In a story in Wednesday's Knoxville News-Sentinel about her new CBS sitcom Center of the Universe, she says she took that TV project because "as you get older, you start making choices about whom you want to be around," adding that's one reason she decided to do Magnolias, since Dolly was already cast as beautician Truvy, explaining: "I had her records. I knew about her struggle and her life. I was nervous to be around her. I couldn't believe I was getting the chance." Dukakis had previously made it known that she would like for Dolly to guest star on the television show with her, but no plans have been made as of yet for her to do that. Read the interview here.
And More Library News The Sentinel also on Wednesday plugged the kick-off in Loudon County, Tenn., for the expansion of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program there in a brief available here.
Have A Holly, Dolly Holiday! With Thanksgiving here, many will begin putting holiday music in their CD players, and you have many Dolly options for your seasonal favorites, including the albums below:
Rhino Records this year re-mastered and re-issued Emmylou Harris' 1980 holiday album Light Of The Stable, which also contains the original 1975 first recording of Dolly with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris (as a quartet that time adding Neil Young as well for the CD's title track).
Nov. 24: Latest Tour News, Images The Centre Daily Times in State College, Penn., had a great review Tuesday of her Sunday night show there, complete with a gallery of five photos from the concert. The reviewer lauded The Grascals' fine pickin' and Dolly's immeasurable talent but criticized the abbreviated versions of some of her biggest hits. However, she said the driving "Blue Smoke" left the audience hungering for next year's new CD of the same name and "Coat of Many Colors" brought the crowd to tears. Overall, it was that her voice, "at times vulnerable with its light vibrato and at times a powerful, well-honed instrument," is what brings the fans to Dolly, she concluded. Read the full review here.
Another reader sent in some great pics from Dolly's St. Louis show this week, which have been added to the tour galleries here and include some cool close-ups of a couple of Dolly's less-publicly-appreciated physical assets. Thanks, Robin!
A few readers also wrote in with some clarifications on some earlier items reported here. Contrary to a newspaper review, Dolly did not perform "Stairway To Heaven" at her Wilkes-Barre show. In Reading, a fan didn't actually get on stage for her autograph a life-sized stand-up, but rather she asked the item be handed to her from the audience when she saw it. And at the Meadowlands, when her mountain song seat and instruments were missing, it may have been due to an apparently unplanned change in the order of a couple of songs. Thanks to those who keep me on my toes!
Yet another charity auction to meet Dolly on the tour started on Tuesday. This one, for her Dec. 9 Anaheim, Calif., concert, ends on Dec. 3. Place your bids here, and remember that the auction for the Dec. 7 Vegas stop ends on Dec. 2 and started here yesterday. The one to meet her in Dallas a week from Friday concluded on eBay on Tuesday afternoon, and as was predicted here, ended just past the $3,000 mark, with a lucky bidder paying $3,050 for tickets to the show and admission for two to Dolly's exclusive meet-and-greet backstage. Previous packages in Reading, Winston-Salem and St. Louis sold for $2,700, $2,500 and $1,700 each, respectively. Given that the price has increased each time, I would expect the Vegas and Anaheim packages to go in the $3,250-$3,500 range, possibly even more. All proceeds from the auctions benefit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, a charity organization which provides medical and living expense assistance for indigent musicians. Only one auction has yet to start, for tour's final night, Dec. 19 in Everett, Wash.
Alison Gushes Over Dolly Alison Krauss, a frequent harmony singer on Dolly's recordings, has a favorite venue, and it's not a big stadium somewhere, it's Dollywood. In an interview posted Tuesday on CMT.com, Grammy darling Krauss (whose 17 trophies are not only the most for a country performer but the most for all female entertainers) says Dolly's park is her favorite place to perform, largely because shades of Dolly are found all around. In the story, she also discusses how she used to wear Dolly's short-lived cosmetics line and perfume, how she's still shocked each time Dolly asks her to sing on a song and the thrill she got the first time she heard Dolly's unedited and unmixed vocals in the studio. Read the full interview here.
'RS' Hit Stores The new Rolling Stone magazine is making its way to newsstands this week featuring its tally of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. All songs, including No. 217 "Jolene" by Dolly, get a good paragraph of text, and Dolly's is one of those that includes a photo, a stock image of her performing circa the time the song was released 30 years ago.
Radio Coverage Dolly's recent entry in the Wall Street Journal list of the world's 50 most important businesswomen got picked up this week by an entertainment news wire, and dozens of radio stations across the country noted it on their online news pages. Click here for a sample.
Learning At Dollywood Pigeon Forge High School technology education students recently studied the ancient crafts of the mountains at at Dollywood. Read an interesting story from Tuesday's Knoxville News-Sentinelhere.
Nov. 23: Rockin' Penn State Dolly apparently put on another awesome show Sunday night at Penn State. The college newspaper, The Daily Collegian, on Monday printed a stunning review (with photos!) here. The reviewer joked that the old adage of after a nuclear holocaust there would be only cockroaches and Cher should be amended to include Dolly as well. She continued to say the "whopper of a show" proved "her long-lasting durability" and pointed out in addition to her amazing songwriting skills and vocals that Dolly is "a comedian extraordinaire." She concluded: "It's pretty surreal when an indie rock snobbette finds herself clapping her hands and stomping her feet to the pure saccharin twang of a senior citizen with sequins on her guitar. But then again (again), Dolly put on a real good show. Better than, say, Cher?" The tour is off for the week in observance of Thanksgiving, but "Hello I'm Dolly" returns next week for three dates in Texas.
Don't forget if you want to meet Dolly in Dallas before her Dec. 3 concert there, the charity auction on eBay to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund ends just before 3 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. As of Monday night, bids had passed $800, but previous auctions on the tour have increased by as much as $2,000 in the last day of bidding, so this one could go for $3,000 or more. Bid here! Also, the charity auction started on Monday for the meet-and-greet at her Dec. 7 stop in The Coliseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. It ends on Dec. 2. Bid on the Vegas package here! And keep watching here for information on upcoming auctions for meet-and-greets at her shows in Anaheim, Calif., and Everett, Wash.
Hazel Gushes On Dolly Hazel Smith's weekly CMT.com column had tons of Dolly mentions on Monday. The grand dame of country music journalism leads comparing CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney with fellow East Tennesseans Dolly, Roy Acuff and Carl Smith. She moves on to describe the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival at Dollywood (open through Dec. 30 and featuring the world's largest Christmas pyramid), Dolly's receiving the CMA's International Artist Achivement Award this year, and that Bluegrass Unlimited magazine's Pete and Kitsy Kuykendall and Ben Eldredge of Seldom Scene attending Dolly's Fairfax concert and reporting it's "the finest show they've ever seen." Read her full column here.
Delta Does Dolly Former Designing Women star Delta Burke has signed on to play Truvy, the role immortalized on screen by Dolly in the 1989 film of Steel Magnolias, in the first Broadway run of Robert Harling's hit play on which the movie was based, New York Post gossip columnist Liz Smith reported on Monday. The off-Broadway hit moves onto the Great White Way in April 2005 and will also star Tony-winner Christine Ebersole as M'Lynn. Burke told Smith: "That's how they see me, and I just can't tell you how excited I am that they want me back on Broadway!" Burke, who lives with husband Gerald McRaney in Mississippi, was a hit earlier this year in the Broadway production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which she signed on to do after a pilot for a sitcom based on Mississippi author Jill Conner Browne's Sweet Potato Queens book series was turned down by the WB television network. Read Smith's full story, which includes a shot of Dolly from her 2001 induction into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, here.
Help Filmmakers Out Tai Uhlmann, director of the upcoming Dolly fan documentary For The Love Of Dolly, tells me they're nearly done with post-production on the film but are looking for one more group of items to complete it: Material of Dolly performing overseas. They have some items from her London concerts on the 2002 tour but would love newspaper clippings, photos, ticket stubs or footage from other shows (especially in Japan, Africa and elsewhere in Europe outside of England) to help show the extent of her worldwide appeal. Anyone who has items that may be of use to them please e-mail her here to discuss getting copies sent to them in New York. Thanks, Tai!
Nov. 22: Tour Wows Critics, Takes Break The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour started pulling in more rave reviews over the weekend. On Saturday, the Philadelphia Inquirer raved about Thursday night's show to a packed house of 6,000, her first show in the city in nearly 20 years. The review (which also includes a photo) singled out the "winningly overblown" cover of "Imagine" and "smart, thumping" encore number "Hello God," adding if God was listening, then "the Almighty got to hear one hellacious show." Read the review here. Readers who wrote in said the show was "phenomenal." One group of four who wrote in said: "Dolly was at her best - fresh, witty, and vivacious. We were watching a living legend in concert. In two spectacular hours, she gave her all to her adoring Philadelphia fans. Starting the party, er, show with 'Two Doors Down,' she segued into abbreviated versions of old favorites like 'Jolene' and '9 to 5,' later dazzled the crowd with new material like 'Blue Smoke' and 'I Dreamed of Elvis,' silenced it with awe for moving pieces like the 'Grass is Blue,' 'Little Sparrow,' 'Coat of Many Colors,' and 'Imagine,' and brought the crowd to its feet at least twice, including after her stirring encore 'Hello God.' Before we went to the concert, we were somewhat worried because of lip-synching controversy. However, it was the best live performance we have ever seen. By the end of the night, our hands hurt from clapping so much." Thanks, guys!
Saturday also brought stunning reviews from her Friday night performance in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., before a crowd of about 4,000 (and where she apparently added "Stairway To Heaven" to the set list). The Citizen's Voice noted she "is still as witty and charming as ever," although it mentioned in passing the lip-synching of some numbers. The review also praised The Grascals (her opening act and backing band) and said Dolly's show accomplished appealing to everyone in the audience "and more. So much more." Read it here. The city's other paper, The Times Leader, also gave good marks to the performance, calling it "marvelous." That reviewer thought her "breathtaking" offering of "I Will Always Love You," the "hilarious" track "I Dreamed of Elvis" and the "hard-driving" new song "Blue Smoke" were highlights of the show but her "deeply emotional" version of "Imagine" was the night's "most dramatic moment." The reviewer noted she introduced the song saying she hoped she could do it justice, to which he concluded: "Then she proceeded to sweep everyone away ... no doubt including any Fab Four fans who may have been present." Read that review here.
The tour proceeded Saturday night into Reading, Penn., for which a few additional rows of seats at the almost completely sold-out show became available that morning but were gone by showtime, and then on to Penn. State Sunday night before taking the week off for Thanksgiving. I'm told the Reading show was spectacular, and one fan even somehow got on stage and handed her something to autograph. The tour next picks up in Austin on Dec. 2 (tickets here), Dallas Dec. 3 (tickets here) and Houston Dec. 5 (tickets here).
Remember the charity auction to meet Dolly backstage in Dallas ends on Tuesday. As of Sunday evening, bids had topped $700. Bid here!
'Jolene' Cover Debuts Overseas The White Stripes cover of Dolly's classic "Jolene," released as a single overseas last week and taken from the band's DVD Under Blackpool Lights to be released next month, debuts on this week's U.K. singles charts at No. 16 pop and No. 1 for independent labels, it was announced Sunday. The Detroit duo is highly popular across the pond, and Dolly's song is still a standard there, so the outlook for the song possibly going even higher is good. Although it went to No. 1 in the U.S. 30 years ago, and reached No. 60 pop here, Dolly's original earned a second life in the U.K. a couple of years later, reaching No. 7 pop there in 1976 (tied with the No. 7 charting "Islands In The Stream" for her biggest-ever British hit).
RS: 'Jolene' One Of Best Songs Ever And if that wasn't enough good news about the song, Rolling Stone offered its praise in a new countdown. Her 1974 original recording of "Jolene" came in at No. 217 on magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time," the full list for which was released over the weekend. Of the country entries by country artists, the highest-ranking one was Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line" at No. 30. Only two others made the top 100, Patsy Cline's "Crazy" (written by Willie Nelson) at No. 85 and Cash's "Ring of Fire" (written about him by then-future-wife June Carter) at No. 87. Only eight country artists made the list (in addition to Dolly, there's Glen Campbell with two entries, Cash with three, Cline with two, Bobby Gentry with one, George Jones with one, Willie Nelson with two and Hank Williams with two), but there were entries by several artists considered part-country, part-rock (Elvis Presley, The Eagles, The Everly Brothers, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison) as well as rock artists whose country covers made the list (Janis Joplin and Ray Charles). With more than 2,100 songs nominated by nearly 200 rock stars and music experts and judged on a weighted system, the No. 1 entry was Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," followed by The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." John Lennon's "Imagine," which Dolly covers on her upcoming album Blue Smoke next year, reached No. 3. Another song which will appear on that CD, Kris Kristofferson's "Me And Bobby McGee," made the list at No. 148 for Joplin's cover version. Of the scant 14 country songs on the list by country artists, Dolly's entry came in seventh just behind Williams' classic "Your Cheatin' Heart," which was No. 213 overall, and just above Patsy Cline's "I Fall To Pieces," No. 238 overall. Interestingly, critics left "I Will Always Love You," twice a No. 1 for composer Dolly and one of the best-selling songs of all time (as covered by Whitney Houston), off of the top 500. Read the full list here.
CMT Adds 'Creepin' In' Perhaps hoping to garner more radio airplay for the single, Blue Note Records has released a video to CMT for "Creepin' In," the Dolly duet with Norah Jones. The video is taken from the duo's performance of the song on Jones' Norah Jones and The Handsome Band: Live in 2004 DVD. Although the studio version from Jones' CD Feels Like Home was shipped to country radio as its second single about five months ago, it hasn't gotten enough airplay to chart. View the video from CMT.com's Dolly video page here.
Stewart Slips Overseas Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, featuring Dolly on the single "Baby It's Cold Outside," falls four places to No. 16 in its fifth week on the U.K. pop albums chart, it was announced Sunday. In Australia, it drops five spots to No. 16 pop in its fourth week.
Nov. 20: Tour Rolls On I'm told Dolly "rocked" at her show Thursday night in Philly. Another reader called the show simply "incredible." The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour moved into Wilkes-Barre on Friday night and is scheduled to play a virtually sold-out house in Reading, Pa., on Saturday (only three or four single seats remained as of Friday night, so I'd expect them to be gone on Saturday) and a near-capacity crowd at Penn. State on Sunday. In anticipation of that show, State College's Centre Daily Times featured the concert there in its issue Friday. Read the preview here.
Thanks to Susan for sending in even more shots from Dolly's Fairfax concert from Sunday. View them in the tour galleries here!
If you want to meet Dolly backstage in Dallas and help out a great charity, don't forget that the auction to let you do just that is still going on over at eBay and ends on Tuesday. As of Friday night, bids had topped $600. I would expect the final price could reach as high as $3,000, as the earlier meet-and-greet auctions have steadily gotten more expensive as the tour has continued. Look for future auctions for the concerts in Las Vegas, Anaheim and Everett. Bid for the Dallas package here!
Also don't forget that CMT.com is still taking entries for its contest for two to enjoy Dolly in Reno. A grand prize winner and guest will receive airfare, hotel accommodations, VIP concert tickets and spending money for Dolly's sold-out Dec. 11 concert at the Nevada resort city. U.S. residents age 21 and older may enter here daily through Nov. 28!
Another Library Announcement The Expositor in Sparta, Tenn., announced plans for Dolly Imagination Library to expand into White County, Tenn., this week. Read the story here.
Digital Dolly Cover Coming If you want to legally download the new live cover of "Jolene" by The White Stripes, released earlier this week as the band's new single overseas, Apple's iTunes Music Store will on Tuesday begin offering both preview clips of the track as well as digital downloads of the audio for it in addition to "Seven Nation Army" and "Hotel Yorba." The songs are taken from the Stripes' upcoming concert DVD Under Blackpool Lights, coming out next month.
Congratulations, Guys! Jack and Peter Herschend, owners and founders of Herschend Family Entertainment and partners with Dolly in her Dollywood, Dixie Stampede and Splash Country business ventures, were inducted into the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Hall of Fame on Wednesday at the organization's annual convention in Orlando, Fla. The Herschends, who also own Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., are considered largely responsible for making that city (their hometown) a national tourist destination.
One Million Visits Five years and one month from its humble birth, the Dollymania front page welcomed its 1 millionth visitor on Friday afternoon. In that time, the site has gone from a few dozen visitors a month to its current average of between 30,000 and 40,000 each month. Thank you, the site's readers, for pushing it past that milestone!
Nov. 19: More Reviews, More Pics I'm told Wednesday night's "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour stop in Albany was another big hit, with readers calling the show "adorable." At one point, she discussed her arriving a couple of days early in the city and that it inspired her to write some new songs there, "Boo Hoo Like A Baby" and "You Come Here To Me." Also, she noticed a little girl on the front row on a cell phone and asked to whom she was speaking. When she learned it was the little girl's father, who was in the hospital, Dolly took the phone on stage and asked how he was feeling. The local Times Union on Thursday gave the concert a great review here. The show continued Thursday night in Philadelphia, which I'm told was "absolutely amazing!" Both "Go To Hell" and "Smoky Mountain Memories" were included in the set, but "My Tennessee Mountain Home" was cut from this concert. And one reader even said the show tied a July concert he attended of Madonna's as the best one he's ever been to! Thanks to those who wrote in with recaps! Floor seats remained available at Ticketmaster late Thursday for Friday's show in Wilkes-Barre, and there were still only a handful of single-seat tickets left for Saturday night's nearly-sold-out stop in Reading.
The Fredericksburg, Va., Free Lance-Star on Thursday offered a review of Dolly's Sunday night concert in nearby Fairfax here. DC-area radio station WMZQ posted some photos from the show here. Thanks, Preston! And reader Susan Blatzer provided some great Fairfax shots that have been added to the tour galleries here. Thanks, Susan!
And up in Minnesota, The Star Tribune on Thursday contemplated the top divas who came through the Twin Cities in the past few weeks, including Dolly. Read the story, which includes a photo from last month's St. Paul show, here.
Slipping All Over The Charts Dolly's live double-album set, Live And Well, falls seven more spots to No. 68, near the bottom of the 75-position country albums chart in its ninth chart week, according to the Nov. 27 Billboard charts released Thursday. Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, with its Dolly duet "Baby It's Cold Outside," slips six notches to No. 11 pop and comprehensive in its fourth chart week. The CD loses three places to No. 6 for Internet sales. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, with Dolly duetting on "Creepin' In," drops eight spaces to No. 68 pop and comprehensive in its 40th chart week but re-enters the Internet sales chart at No. 17. Mindy Smith's One Moment More, with Dolly harmonies on "Jolene," falls a dozen digits to No. 39 in its 42nd week on the independent labels albums chart. Kenny Rogers' 42 Ultimate Hits, with "Islands In The Stream," plummets 19 spots to No. 64 country in its 24th chart week. The holiday album Shimmy Down The Chimney , which includes Dolly's 1990 recording of "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," debuts at No. 71 country. Shania Twain's Greatest Hits debuts at No. 1 country and No. 2 pop with 530,000 copies sold in its first week, while Toby Keith's Greatest Hits 2 opens at No. 2 country and No. 3 pop with 435,000 copies moved in its first week.
Giving Up The Throne To The North After three weeks at No. 1, Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III falls three to No. 4 pop in its fourth week on the Canadian albums chart, it was announced Thursday. Jones' Feels Like Home drops 12 to No. 64 in its 41st week on the same chart. Kenny & Dolly's Christmas album, 1984's Once Upon A Christmas, moves up six spots to No. 23 on the country albums chart in its third chart week this year.
Nov. 18: Tour Rolls On Dolly was scheduled to perform at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., Wednesday night as part of the continuing "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour. As of press time Wednesday evening, no reports had come in from the show. Some pretty good seats still remain available at Ticketmaster for Thursday's show in Philadelphia and Friday's in Wilkes-Barre, but Saturday's concert in Reading, Pa., is sold out except for a handful of single-seat tickets. Readers are encouraged to e-mail concert recaps and photos here.
And a reader alerted me to a new Dolly joke, or at least one I hadn't heard her utter on tour yet. After performing "PMS Blues," I'm told she joshed in Fairfax: "Sometimes I worry that PMS doesn't really exist and this is just the bitch I really am!" Thanks, Chip and Chris!
Stewart Duet To Be Single No official word has come from the record label, but a reader tells me Dolly announced over the weekend at a concert he attended that she had just found out that her duet with Rod Stewart, "Baby It's Cold Outside" from his CD Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, will be released as the album's second single. It's first single, "What A Wonderful World" with Stevie Wonder playing harmonica, peaked at No. 24 on the adult contemporary singles chart but didn't register on the pop chart. Thanks, Mike!
More Press, Indie Chart Action Dolly has a couple of mentions in the new issue of Power Source magazine out now. There's a photo and brief of her CD/DVD signings from September, and her duet with Norah Jones, "Creepin' In," a live version of which with Dolly appears on Jones' DVD Norah Jones and The Handsome Band: Live in 2004 released this week, falls six spots to No. 12 for November, down from last month's peak of No. 6 on the publication's Indie Country 50 singles chart.
Cover Update A reader alerted me that if you'd like to get The White Stripes' U.K.-only single of Dolly's "Jolene," available from Amazon.com here as an import in the U.S. later this month, you can save a few dollars ordering it directly from Europe. Getting it from HMV would cost about $9, compared to about $12 from Amazon. Based on Amazon's estimated date to stock it as an import and the shipping time across the Atlantic, you'd likely receive either one around the middle of next week. Thanks, Darin!
Library Stories Almost Daily Now Yet another Tennessee county is working toward joining Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program. The Cleveland Daily News reported this week that Bradley County is gearing up for the project in cooperation with local hospitals, libraries and the community college. Read the story here.
Nov. 17: Tour Update, More Pics The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour hits Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday night, and tickets still remained available on the floor via Ticketmaster Tuesday night. The show then rolls into Philadelphia on Thursday (where seats remain toward the back of the first level of raised seats), Wilkes-Barre on Friday (floor seats still available), Reading on Saturday (somewhat close to selling out) and Penn. State on Sunday (probably about three-fourths sold).
Another reader sent in a couple of shots today, this time from Dolly's Connecticut concert last Saturday. View them, and galleries from several other concerts on the tour, here. Thanks, Brenda!
New 'CW' Has Its Dolly Coverage Dolly earns a few mentions in the new Country Weekly on newsstands this week. There's a shot of her from her Live And Well CD signing in September at the Sam's Club outside of Nashville, and her CMA International Artist Achievement Award is included in the list of honors handed out at the ceremonies earlier this month. In addition, the magazine's regular flashback section focuses on an issue from nine years ago when it selected the 100 best songs in country music history, choosing Dolly's "I Will Always Love You" as a close second for the best of all time.
Get Cover Single As Import Amazon.com on Tuesday added an order page to reserve your copy of The White Stripes' cover of Dolly's classic "Jolene," from next month's DVD Under Blackpool Lights. The store shows the CD single, released this week in the U.K., will be available as an import starting Nov. 22. Get yours here!
Another Library Expansion Discussed Yet another Tennessee county is moving toward signing up for Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program. The Kingsport Times-News reported this week that Washington County officials are nearing approval to join the project there. Read the story here.
CMA Controversy Discussed Again The Knoxville News-Sentinel on Tuesday brought up the CMA flak about Kenny Chesney being cut off from giving his Entertainer of the Year acceptance speech. Terry Morrow offered a summary of the report on the controversy as it had initially appeared in The Tennessean, prior to subsequent developments coming forward such as the semi-apology from CMA Executive Director Ed Benson which appeared in The Tennessean on Sunday and the WSM radio report in Nashville that Dolly was asked by producers immediately before going on stage to stretch for time, since they reportedly thought the show was running short. Also, he made it sound like there's an active spat between Dolly and Chesney, using comments made by Chesney's publicist and comments from a publicity rep for Dolly's record label from when the story first broke (mischaracterizing the latter to sound as if Dolly had responded to the criticism when the publicist actually said she had not talked to Dolly about it but was sure she felt badly about what happened). Finally, he repeated as fact Benson's questionable claim that Dolly adlibbed for 90 seconds -- when it actually appeared her unscripted comments only lasted about 45 or 50 seconds, reading lines off the teleprompter for the remaining minute or so she was on stage. Read Morrow's recap here.
Nov. 16: Fairfax Photos, Tons Of CT Reviews I'm told Dolly was "absolutely fabulous, inspirational and 100 percent Dolly fun!" at Sunday night's show in Fairfax, Va., near Washington. Being near the Capital, Dolly made some political humor -- nothing members of both parties were checking out her "platform" last time she was in town. She recalled visiting last year to bring the eagles from Dollywood for the National Zoo. She also offered a shout out to her nephew, Tim (Stella's son), whom she said was in the audience that night. "Smoky Mountain Memories" returned, dedicated to her father, but the Kenny doll remained absent. Also, her frolicking version of "Rocky Top," which she has performed at a few more recent dates on the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour, was still on the set list, much to the delight of the crowd. All floor seats were taken, and most of the concourse seating was also full. One reader estimated it to be at least 85 percent sold. And, as an added bonus, one reader, Ruth, sent in some great shots from the night's show. View them, and the other galleries from the tour, here! Thanks, Ruth, and to everyone who sent in their recaps of the show! Late Monday night, The Washington Post posted its review, to appear in Tuesday's paper, lauding Dolly's handful of toned-down performances but criticizing the camp. Read it here. The tour next moves up to Albany, for which floor seats remain available at Ticketmaster.
In what was perhaps the largest media blitz since the tour started, Saturday's Mohegan Sun show in Connecticut earned lots of press on Monday. The Hartford Courant opined here: "With her skill as a singer and performer - fresh or canned - Parton satisfied." The reviewer singled out her instrumental playing and the gorgeous "Little Sparrow," saying: "With only droning fiddle and Parton's high, clear voice, the tune was stark and spooky in that terrifying old-time mountain-song way. Ralph Stanley would have been proud." Thanks, Al! A few miles away, The Republican in Springfield, Mass., noted here Dolly's classic "costs a lot to look this cheap" line about high ticket prices, adding: "The audience didn't seem upset with the ticket prices, and their approval rating was high as they could be heard clapping along and singing in unison with the star . . . From the audience's reaction, seriously, this New England stop in 'Hello, I'm Dolly' was truly a huge success." The Norwich Bulletin, which also provided a photo from the night's performance here, thought the show was a bit uneven, calling her "one of the most influential women in music" but saying that the first half of the show outshone the second half. And, finally, The Day in New London, Conn., called Dolly's musical performances "spot on," but lamented that she should have kept her spoken stories shorter. The reviewer also used the word "stark" to describe her haunting vocal on "Little Sparrow," and her cover of "Me and Bobby McGee" was also praised, although the reviewer didn't care for "Imagine" (the first one I've seen say that, though). Ultimately, however, she concluded: "There was plenty that was hokey about the show, including some of the jokes. But Parton has always been part hokey and part home-spun and heartfelt, and for her, it's a winning combination." Read that article here.
I realized forgot to note in previous updates that Dolly recognized from the stage at her longtime friend and former manager Sandy Gallin, who was in the audience at Thursday's concert outside New York. I'm also told by a fan who sat in front of Gallin that on the same row was Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker. Thanks, Rhonda!
'Cover' Story I came across a somewhat humorous story from the Litchfield, Conn., area Register Citizen. The columnist calls it a sign of the Apocalypse or perhaps alien influences, but he stumbled upon Dolly's cover of "Stairway To Heaven" on satellite radio, initially appalled at Dolly performing the "anthem" of his youth, but it caused him to listen to the words and see that they actually had meaning. Read it here.
Nov. 15: CMA Director Apologizes, Sort Of Apparently after receiving numerous complaints from Dolly fans, CMA Executive Director Ed Benson stepped back somewhat over the weekend from his previous comments blaming Dolly for causing Kenny Chesney's acceptance speech for Entertainer of the Year last week to be cut off. In a statement published in Sunday's celebrities column in The Tennessean, Brad Schmidt reported Benson still blamed Dolly but explained his point further by saying: "As a former CMA Entertainer of the Year, and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Dolly is dear to everyone at CMA, and we would never intentionally slight her in any way. Recent remarks in the media were the result of fan outrage that Kenny Chesney was not given adequate time to properly finish his acceptance speech after winning the Entertainer of the Year award. It is unfortunate that her spontaneous and unexpected monologue — while funny and entertaining — took much longer than the scripted presentation of the award. Network obligations made it impossible to run past our allotted time. I am sure that Dolly never intended to deny Kenny the opportunity to accept this prestigious honor, but we also have an obligation to Kenny and his fans to disclose the reasons he was unable to fully voice his thoughts and feelings on this momentous occasion." Read Schmidt's story here. In previous comments, Benson had said about Dolly's 50-second adlib: ''Dolly always has something funny to say. But it would've been better had the producer been aware that Dolly was going to go off on a minute-and-a-half diatribe." Then, as now, Benson has not refuted claims reported by Nashville radio that Dolly was, in fact, asked by producers immediately before going on stage to "stretch" for time by making unscripted comments because they mistakenly thought the show was running short.
'Hello I'm Dolly' Tour Continues I'm told Dolly was wonderful Friday in Atlantic City, with readers calling her "in fine form." She had removed "Go To Hell" and "Smoky Mountain Memories" from the set list, though. Then she was also warmly welcomed Saturday night in Connecticut, making comments on the snow that fell there the night before the show, but as with most of her other casino shows, it was abbreviated at the venue's request, about which Dolly also commented from the stage. Thanks to those who wrote in with their recaps! The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour moved into Fairfax, Va., on Sunday night, before taking a few days off. The tour next rolls upstate into Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday night, tickets for which are still available at Ticketmaster.
It looks like her Philadelphia show on Thursday could possibly sell out. Both the floor and third level of raised seats are completely sold out, the first raised level only has a handful of single-seat tickets remaining, and the second raised level is about half sold out. Other venues which look good for likely selling out include University Park, Pa., and Dallas, Texas, while Phoenix, Anaheim and Portland are other possible future sell-outs.
Additional papers over the weekend heralded Dolly's Thursday night show in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Times on Saturday called the show "cozy" in a praiseful review here, and Newark's The Star Ledger on Saturday lauded her performance here, noting that even her oft-told, scripted jokes sound "off-the-cuff" when recounted in her breezy manner.
The fourth charity auction to meet Dolly backstage on her tour has begun. The auction, which as with the previous ones benefits Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, kicked off on eBay Saturday. This one, for tickets to her Dec. 3 Dallas stop plus admission for two to the exclusive meet-and-greet before the show, ends Tuesday, Nov. 23. The auctions for meet-and-greets at St. Louis, Winston-Salem and Reading sold for an average of $2,300 each, so expect to shell out some big bucks if you want them! Bid here!
Dolly On CMT: One Of Sexiest, Plus CMA Recaps Dolly made a couple of appearances on cable's CMT over the weekend. First, the network ranked her at No. 4 of its poll of the 40 Sexiest Women in country music. Commenting on the program, "experts" noted: "You've come to the queen: Dolly Parton," and "Everybody wants to be Dolly Parton. If you don't believe me, come to West Hollywood on a Saturday night. Half of them are!" One critic said simply: "Everybody on the list is in the shadow of Dolly Parton." Several clips from her many videos were shown, and, of course, there were several references made to her famous bosom. The others in the top five were 5. Martina McBride, 3. Sara Evans, 2. Faith Hill and 1. Shania Twain. The show repeats throughout the month (see TV listings on the left-hand side of this page). CMT also included a few Dolly mentions in its weekly CMT Insider program, which focused on recapping the CMA Awards. Dolly was shown making a few of her New York jokes from the stage, and a portion of her backstage acceptance of the CMA International Artist Achievement Award was also shown. While Kenny Chesney commented on his being cut off during his acceptance speech ("It sucked," he said), no mentions were made of the efforts to blame Dolly for the gaffe. The show repeats at 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Dolly Added To Holiday Line-Up Dolly's 1996 holiday film Unlikely Angel has been selected as one of the five programs anchoring this year's "Hallmark for the Holidays" presentation on cable's Hallmark Channel. The movie will air at 9 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 4.
Overseas Updates Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, with the Dolly duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside," slips three spots to No. 12 in its fourth week on the U.K. pop albums chart, it was announced Sunday. In Australia, it inches down one place to No. 11 pop in its third week.
More Library News The Miami Herald on Sunday reported on the first chapter of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program in Florida, which is in nearby Miami Lakes. Read the story here.
Nov. 13: Hello, East Coast! I'm told Dolly's Thursday night engagement in New Jersey on the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour was a smashing success. Readers who attended tell me the venue was nearly full for its new "theater" setting (which, according to a story from The Star Journalhere previewing the new theater, is because the venue closes down to accommodate the number of seats sold -- which in this case was about 6,000), any lip-synching (if it existed at this show) wasn't noticeable, Dolly was gorgeous (as usual), and the overall show was "amazing!" Many readers were taken with her Norah Jones-inspired piano version of "The Grass Is Blue" (with one reader calling it "gorgeous" and another saying that one song performance alone was worth his ticket price), while others singled out "Little Sparrow" and "Blue Smoke." The Kenny Rogers ventriloquist's dummy was still gone, though, and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Welcome Home" had both been removed as well, but "Go To Hell" was back in the set list, as well as the full version of "My Tennessee Mountain Home." She didn't put on her country-style skirt covering for "Thank God I'm A Country Girl," and the crew was a little late bringing out her seat for her mountain songs segment, prompting Dolly to comment, "Isn't something missing here?" And, as she has done at some other stops on the tour, she led the audience in an a capella chorus of "I Will Always Love You" after her main performance of the song, commenting as she rubbed goosebumps on her arm afterward that their singing had literally given her chills. Thanks to all who wrote in with their comments! The only review I've seen so far comes from Friday's New York Daily News, which praised the show for Dolly's pure heart, her talent as an entertainer, her voice and her humor, singling out her "subtle, heartfelt rendition of John Lennon's 'Imagine'" and concluding: "Parton's decidedly urbane humor, taken in conjunction with her unflaggingly down-home music, made for a compelling hybrid. If red- and blue-state attitudes could merge this successfully everywhere, we'd all be far better off." Read the full review here. Thanks, Bridget! The show on Friday night was headed to its sold-out engagement at Caesar's Atlantic City.
A couple of rows near the back of the floor at the previously-sold-out Saturday concert at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., became available at Ticketmaster on Friday, but I would expect them to be gone before the show starts. The show next heads to Fairfax, Va., on Sunday, for which several rows toward the back of the venue remain for sale via Ticketmaster.
It looks like Dolly's Dec. 3 Dallas concert will likely sell out in coming weeks. The floor and all seats in the left and right sections of the first level of raised seats are all gone. The end first level of raised seats is nearly sold out, and only a few rows remain on the second level of raised seats.
The tour continued to get good press this week, with the Philadelphia-area's Deleware County Times noting her Nov. 18 stop there, her first in 19 years, leading its music calendar for the coming week here, and nearby Allentown's The Morning Call saying the region "will become Dollywood" over the next week and a half as Dolly plays four venues in the area (although in describing a recent show on the tour, it claims the set list was taken from a concert in Oklahoma -- they most likely meant Omaha, which is in Nebraska). Read their story here.
The charity auction to benefit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund and meet Dolly at her Reading, Pa., concert concluded Friday with a final price tag of $2,709, besting the two previous auctions for meet-and-greet tickets to her St. Louis and Winston-Salem concerts, which went for about $1,700 and $2,500, respectively. Look in coming weeks for additional charity auctions benefiting Sweet Relief for Dolly's Dallas, Las Vegas, Anaheim and Everett concerts. (And speaking of charity auctions, remember Dolly's autographed dulcimer remains on the block at eBay here through next Thursday to benefit the American Heart Association's women's heart health programs. As of Friday evening, bidding stood at $430, which likely meant that an earlier bid had been retracted, since it had run up to $500 shortly after opening on Monday.)
Talk About Your 'Mixed Messages' After blasting Dolly for her unscripted jokes at Tuesday's CMA Awards and blaming her banter for producers' decision to cut off Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney's acceptance speech, CMA Executive Director Ed Benson is now praising her. In a press release dated Thursday (but actually not released until Friday), the CMA formally announced its international awards, leading with Dolly's win for its International Artist Achievement Award. In the release, which refers to Dolly as a "Country Music icon," Benson stated: "Part of the CMA mission statement is to bring the poetry and emotion of country music to the world. No one has lived up to that goal more than Dolly." It also noted the award being presented backstage at the CMA winners' press conference by CMA Board of Directors member Mark Hagen of BBC 2 TV and BBC Radio 2 personality Nick Barraclough, quoting Hagen as saying, "Dolly is a true international icon and a recognized ambassador for country music." In other developments, Brad Schmidt of The Tennessean, who first published Benson's remarks against Dolly, on Friday reported that as a result of the debacle the CMA is reconsidering the previously-abandoned idea of moving the Entertainer of the Year trophy to earlier in the broadcast to prevent a future winner from having his or her speech cut off. "''It's awful when you get somebody who wins Entertainer of the Year unable to thank people who have helped in the career," Benson said in the story available here. And Orlando Sentinel columnist Jim Abbott also on Friday took a swipe at Dolly, saying: "Maybe Chesney would have had a chance to savor the moment if presenter Dolly Parton hadn't prattled on so long in getting to the announcement," adding that Brooks & Dunn looked "befuddled" when the cameras turned on them as "a smattering of boos were heard from the audience" when Chesney's microphone was cut. Read his column here. For those unfamiliar with the current controversy, Benson claims Dolly's jokes on the program about moving the show to New York next year were unscripted and that she didn't warn producers about her plans to make them, causing Chesney to run out of time for his acceptance speech. He called her 50-seconds of adlibs "a minute-and-a-half diatribe." Chesney's publicist said it was "heartbreaking" that Dolly would "vamp" knowing how few minutes were left in the program. A Nashville radio station, however, reported that Dolly was told by producers that the show was running short and was asked to "stretch" for time just before she went on stage. One of Nashville's top critics and historians, on the other hand, said the show should have allowed Chesney to speak and simply run over its allotted time (as it has done in the past) and noted that Dolly's comments were the funniest and freshest made during the entire three-hour broadcast.
Cover Getting Notice The White Stripes' cover of Dolly's "Jolene" gets four stars from London's The Mirror on Saturday. The song, which will appear on the former-husband-and-wife duo's live DVD Under Blackpool Lights (to hit stores Dec. 7), will be released in the U.K. next week as a single. The newspaper's reviewer noted that singer Jack White's "vocal is painful and, coupled with nerve-shredding guitar, adds another dimension to the plaintive longing of Dolly's version, painting a portrait of a man at the end of his tether." Read the full review here.
Another Possible Library Expansion Yet another Tennessee county is gearing up to join Dolly's nationwide Imagination Library literacy program. The Rogersville Review reported this week at their local Rotary Club has signed on to sponsor the program in Hawkins County, Tenn. County officials are expected to approve the plan later this month. Read the story here.
European Cover Still Riding High After taking a month off from compiling its charts, the European CMAs came out with a new continent-wide tally on Friday, and Arly Karlsen and Pat Roden's former No. 1 cover of Porter & Dolly's "Please Don't Stop Loving Me" rises five spots to No. 14.
Check Out The Art Fan site Hello I'm Dolly got a revision this week with a cool holiday look, its webmaster alerted me. Take a peek here.
Nov. 12: CMA: Blame Dolly For Kenny's Cut-Off Seems folks want to blame Dolly and her unscripted jokes about next year's CMA move to New York for a producer's decision to cut off Kenny Chesney's acceptance speech for Entertainer of the Year Tuesday night. CMA Executive Director Ed Benson told The Tennessean celebrity columnist Brad Schmidt for his Thursday column that it was Dolly's fault, commenting: ''Dolly always has something funny to say. But it would've been better had the producer been aware that Dolly was going to go off on a minute-and-a-half diatribe." (Actually, her New York jokes ran a little less than one minute long. For the other one minute she was on stage prior to listing the nominees' names, she appeared to have been reading a script from the teleprompter.) Chesney's spokesperson also blamed Dolly, saying: "Being the television vet Dolly is, it's kind of heartbreaking that she'd vamp when she knew how tight the show was." While Dolly hasn't released a statement herself, a rep from her record label noted that she is sure Dolly feels bad about Chesney's time being cut because she is "a genuinely kind and generous person, and she'd never want to steal the spotlight from anyone." Read the paper's report here. However, Dolly does have her defenders. CMT.com Editorial Director Chet Flippo said Thursday in his weekly "Nashville Skyline" column: "I don't care for people trashing Dolly Parton and blaming her for shortening Kenny Chesney's acceptance speech for winning the entertainer of the year award." He added that Dolly remains "one of the funniest, most spontaneous people in show business, and that show was lucky to have her and should have made more use of her talent than just handing over one trophy. As it was, she was the funniest and freshest speaker of the evening." He adds that it was producers' fault for poor scheduling of the show and allowing too much "dead time and witless bantering" throughout the evening (plus he points out that awards shows go over the allotted time slots all the time). Read his comments here. In addition, I'm told that Bill Cody, who attended the awards show, said on his WSM radio show Thursday morning that producers asked Dolly to stretch for time, so she apparently was doing what she was told. Immediately after this was first posted Thursday evening, several readers wrote to suggest that Mr. Benson be asked to apologize for his remarks, and one passed along what I'm told is the e-mail address for Mr. Benson's assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Hear Dolly Accept Her Award Although it didn't air on television in the U.S., BBC Radio 2 in the U.K. did broadcast Dolly's full acceptance speech for the CMA International Artist Achievement Award presentation from the backstage press room. The award is sponsored by the radio network's parent company, the BBC. You can listen to it on Nick Barraclough's program online here. Click on "Listen Again," and a window will open. The presentation is about 40 minutes into the program. It is followed by the CD-version of her "Train, Train" from The Grass Is Blue and then her New York jokes from the television broadcast. Thanks, Michelle!
More U.S. Chart Slips Dolly's live double-CD set, Live And Well, inches down two more spots to No. 61 on the country albums chart in its eighth chart week, according to the Nov. 20 Billboard charts released Thursday. The collection falls out of the 50-position independent labels albums chart, down from No. 42 the previous week. As was reported here earlier, Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, with its Dolly duet "Baby It's Cold Outside," drops one place to No. 5 pop and comprehensive in its third chart week. The CD loses two notches to No. 3 for Internet sales after two weeks at No. 1 on that chart. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, featuring Dolly on "Creepin' In," falls six spaces to No. 60 pop and comprehensive in its 39th chart week. Mindy Smith's One Moment More, featuring Dolly on "Jolene," loses one digit to No. 27 in its 41st week on the independent labels albums chart. Kenny Rogers' 42 Ultimate Hits, including "Islands In The Stream," remains steady at No. 45 country in its 23rd chart week. George Strait's 50 Number Ones remains steady at No. 1 country for a fourth week and gains one to No. 6 pop, while Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying remains steady at No. 2 country but falls three to No. 16 pop in its 11th chart week.
Still Reigning Up North Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III remains steady at No. 1 pop for a third week on the Canadian albums chart, it was announced Thursday. Jones' Feels Like Home inches down one to No. 53 in its 40th week on the same chart. Also up north, Dolly's holiday duet album with Kenny Rogers, Once Upon A Christmas, makes its annual return to the top 50 country chart, shooting up 33 spots to No. 29 in its second chart week of the year.
On The Road Again The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour was to pick back up after a few days off with Thursday night's show at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., followed by sold-out concerts in Atlantic City on Friday and Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday. Readers are encouraged to send recaps of the shows, and photos if you have them, here. Thanks!
The Connecticut show got some press coverage on Thursday, with stories in New London's The Dayhere and Hartford's Hartford Couranthere.
The Albany, N.Y., Times Union plugged Wednesday's concert there in Thursday's edition, even if the writer miscounted her Grammy Awards (seven, not five as he said). Read it here.
Don't forget the charity auction to meet Dolly at her Reading, Pa., show a week from Saturday to benefit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund ends Friday afternoon. As of Thursday evening, the bidding exceeded $1.300. Place your bids here!
Another Major Library Expansion Considered The Nashville City Paper reported on Thursday that Davidson County, where Nashville is located, is considering adopting Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program. In a story available here, the newspaper said officials with the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation, which administers the $2 million in matching funds provided by the state of Tennessee for the program there, confirmed initial talks have begun with Music City's county to sign up. With roughly 10 percent of the state's population, according to the Census Bureau, Davidson County has more than 37,000 children of eligible age for the program, which provides one free book per month from birth to age 5.
Nov. 11: More Winston Shots, Norfolk Pics Posted Many thanks to reader Fredy, who sent in some beautiful shots from Dolly's Sunday concert in Winston-Salem, N.C., including one of himself getting a kiss from Dolly backstage! And Patrick submitted some great photos from Dolly's Saturday night concert in Norfolk, Va. They've been added to the tour galleries here. Thanks, Fredy and Patrick!
The tour next rolls into the Meadowlands Thursday with her concert at East Rutherford, N.J.'s Continental Airlines Center. While the floor for that show is sold out, plenty of seats remain available in the two raised levels via Ticketmaster. Next on the schedule are sold out casino shows in Atlantic City and Connecticut on Friday and Saturday.
Some floor seats in the previously-sold-out floor area in Portland for the Dec. 17 stop on the tour became available on Wednesday at Ticketmaster.
Dolly 'Having A Ball' With Award CMT.com provided a little more detail Wednesday on Dolly's win at the CMA Awards Tuesday night. Dolly was surprised with the announcement during the backstage press period prior to the show after two representatives from the BBC, which sponsors the International Artist Achievement Award, called her up to the podium to tell her she had won. The award honors an artist who contributes to the awareness and development of country music outside of North America. CMT reported Dolly was surprised, saying: "This was always my dream, as a little girl growing up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, to be able to take my songs and travel all over the world and have people love me and to be out there and love 'em back. I wasn't expecting all this, but this is a great honor. I will put this in the museum at Dollywood." Joking about the globe-shaped award, Dolly said: "I'm having a ball!" Read the story, and see a backstage photo, here.
In related news, the CMA also announced off-camera at a reception Tuesday night that Dolly biographer Alanna Nash had been selected as recipient of this year's Media Achievement Award. Nash, who has written for numerous national and international magazines and published several books on the stars, first gained prominence when her first book, Dolly, was published in 1978. An updated edition of the biography was re-issued last year.
Christmas Time's A Comin' The crowds are pouring in at Dollywood for its annual Smoky Mountain Christmas festival, which opened last weekend. "We had an outstanding opening weekend," park spokesperson Pete Owens tells Dollymania. "The Christmas Pyramid is really wowing our guests and has punctuated the Olde World Christmas feel of this year's Smoky Mountain Christmas." The pyramid, the world's largest, stands 20 feet wide and nearly 46 feet tall and serves as the centerpiece of the celebrations, which are also anchored by more than 3.5 million twinkling holiday lights. Located at the entrance to Craftsman's Valley, the pyramid slowly revolves, with each turn exposing to bystanders another intricately-carved scene from the Nativity. The lower tier shows the three wise men and a camel, rotating around the images of Mary, Joseph and Christ child. The middle section features shepherds and sheep, and the top tier shows three trumpeting angels. It beats out the previous record holder for tallest Christmas pyramid, which stands in Dresden, Germany. Holiday pyramids enjoy a long history as traditional symbols throughout Europe, originally created in Germany. The annual celebration at Dolly's East Tennessee theme park also offers a new Olde World Christmas Market in Valley Exhibition Hall, featuring authentic handmade European ornaments, nutcrackers, smokers, toys and more. Restaurants on the grounds will offer traditional German specialties, while several live holiday shows are performed throughout the park. In a press release, Dolly commented: "Christmastime in the Smokies reminds me of family gatherings, filled with good food, good times and laughter. I want families to experience all that and more at Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas." The festival continues through the park's 2004 closing on Dec. 30.
Stewart Dips A Little Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, featuring its smashing Dolly duet on "Baby It's Cold Outside," will slip one spot to No. 5 pop with 103,000 copies sold in its third week of release, Billboard announced on Wednesday in a preview of the Nov. 20 charts to be issued on Thursday. The CD debuted at No. 1 and has sold nearly half a million copies since its release.
Lots O'Library Coverage Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, which provides one free book per month to every interested child from birth to age 5 in nearly 400 participating communities across 39 states, was in several newspapers on Wednesday. The Journal Enterprisehere announced that Webster County, Ky., has become the third county in that state to sign up. Tennessee's Fayette County Review profiled the program's efforts there in a story here. And the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported on nearby Loudon County's kick-off here, noting it is the 24th county in Dolly's home state of Tennessee to sign up.
Nov. 10: Dolly Loses One, Wins One, Presents One Dolly and Norah Jones lost the CMA Award for Musical Event Of The Year at Tuesday night's awards in Nashville, but she didn't leave empty-handed. Backstage, she was presented with the CMA International Artist Achievement Award sponsored by the BBC. See a Reuters photo of Dolly with the trophy here. Dolly and Jones' track "Creepin' In" was bested by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss' haunting "Whiskey Lullaby" for the award previously known as Vocal Event Of The Year. However, viewers got a sneak peak at the duo's performance of the song on Jones' new concert DVD (filmed earlier this year in Nashville), Norah Jones and The Handsome Band: Live in 2004, which hits stores Nov. 16. Dolly closed out the show by presenting the Entertainer Of The Year honor. Wearing a stunning white dress complete with her "angel wing" sleeves donned for her tour encores, she joked about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's mangling of several artists' names during the recent press conference announcing the show's move to New York next year. Dolly said artists were looking forward to taking the program to The Big Apple, but the mayor may need some tutoring. "It's okay Mayor Bloomingdale," she joshed. "We forgive you." As she opened the winner's envelope, she chided screaming fans: "Don't you start hollerin'! You don't know yet!" She handed the trophy to winner Kenny Chesney, whose acceptance speech was cut off midway by CBS, certainly to be a major topic of conversation on country radio Wednesday morning. The show is scheduled to repeat on CMT Nov. 25.
New Tour Pics, Review, And Another Re-Sell-Out Some more beautiful shots from Sunday's concert have been posted to the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour galleries here (Thanks, Debbie!), and the Winston-Salem Journal on Tuesday gave a great review of Dolly's concert there Sunday night, giving a shout-out to Dolly's glitz and kitsch calling it "gaud and country" but saying that it all boils down to her outer and inner beauty, her amazing songwriting and singing skills and the purity of her mountain songs. Read the review here.
Saturday's show at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., once again sold out on Tuesday, the day after a handful of tickets became available.
Listen To The Radio Dolly is scheduled to have an interview taped from the CMAs in Nashville this week broadcast Wednesday on nationally-syndicated radio show The Ben And Brian Show. After it airs, the interview will likely be available on their Web site's interview page here. Thanks, Bridget!
Full 'WSJ' Story Posted A few papers on Tuesday made available the full text from The Wall Street Journal story this week naming Dolly one of the world's 50 most important businesswomen to watch for their future impact on commerce. Read the additional details from Columbia, S.C.'s The Statehere.
Another Possible Library Expansion Wise County, Va., may soon join Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program, The Coalfield Progress reported on Tuesday. Read the full story here.
Nov. 9: WSJ Honors Dolly The Businesswoman Financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal on Monday named Dolly to its first-ever list of the world's top businesswomen, one of only two entertainers to make the cut. Its global "Top 50 Women To Watch" ranked women "on their potential to make a significant impact on business in the years ahead." Editors and reporters from the newspaper's bureaus around the world as well as outside experts were asked to nominate women who fit the bill, and the total 550 were judged and narrowed down to the final 50 in the areas of "Running The Show" (CEOs and chairwomen), "In Line To Lead" (those who are poised to take over those roles in major companies), "The Inheritors" (those who are likely to manage their family businesses in the future), "The Owners" (women who operate their own companies), and "The Grant Giver" (for leaders in philanthropy). Dolly was the fourth of four women selected for "The Owners," due to her entertainment empire, which is headed up by the Dollywood theme park. No. 1 in that category was the only other entertainment mogul included, Oprah Winfrey. Others in that tally were Sungjoo International's Kim Sung Joo at No. 2 and Xinhua Financial Network's Fredy Bush at No. 3. The paper commented that Dolly's achievement bringing her to the list was: "Reigns over a rapidly expanding entertainment empire stretching from Florida to California with an estimated $200 million annual revenue." Dolly's business holdings include her music publishing houses in Nashville, television and film production companies in Hollywood, her own record label, the East Tennessee theme park and a chain of dinner theatres across the South, among other intetests. Read the paper's full list here.
Winston-Salem Shots Posted Reader Sissy England sent in some great photos of Dolly from her Winston-Salem show Sunday night, which have been added to the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour galleries here. Thanks, Sissy! (And it is likely that some shots from the Norfolk concert will be posted later this week.) Other readers wrote in to tell me that the nearly sold-out audience loved "Blue Smoke" and gave her a standing ovation for her emotive cover of John Lennon's "Imagine." "Go To Hell" was performed again, but the Kenny puppet was still MIA. While some readers said they couldn't tell any parts of it were being lip-synched, at least one said that on "Thank God I'm A Country Girl" her hair got caught in her mouth, and the vocals continued as she stopped to remove it. Still, as the vast majority of fans have noted, the few songs that featured pre-recorded tracks didn't detract from their overall enjoyment of the spectacular show. She even threw in a new joke, I'm told. During "Thank God I'm A Country Girl," which features her quickly changing from instrument to instrument, she said: "Eat your heart out Dixie Chicks," adding in her usual playful manner, "I wonder what they thought about the election!" Thanks to all who wrote in with their recaps! The tour next moves to East Rutherford, N.J., on Thursday night (tickets still available!), followed by a sold out engagement at Caesar's Atlantic City on Friday.
A handful of seats became available again via Ticketmaster on Monday for Saturday's previously-sold-out show in Uncasville, Conn., in the upper level of the venue.
Another Charity Auction Starts Dolly is once again helping out a good cause, this time women's heart health. She has donated another one of her exclusive autographed dulcimers for this year's Wear Red celebrity auction, proceeds from which benefit the American Heart Association's heart health initiatives for women. The dulcimer opened on eBay Monday morning with a $300 minimum bid, and by nightfall, the price had risen to $500. The auction ends on Nov. 18, and due to the high price, you must pre-qualify with the auction administrators to place a bid. Click here to view the auction and place a bid! (And don't forget Dolly's meet-and-greet at her Reading, Penn., concert continues on charity auction here through Friday! As of Monday night, the price for that package stood at more than $1,000.)
Playing Dress Up Gay and lesbian newsmagazine The Advocate chose country diva Shania Twain as its first selection for a new "Big Gay Following" interview column in the Nov. 23 edition released this week, and one of the seven questions asked of Miss Shania is if she had to go to a costume party as a classic country diva, who would it be. Her reply: "Dolly Parton! Of course I would be Dolly! I would love to wear just one of her wigs."
And Taking A Stand The same magazine issue features its holiday gift guide here, which includes a benefit CD to be released later this month to which Dolly has contributed a track. "Sugar Hill," from 2002's Halos & Horns, will appear on Love Rocks: A Star-Studded Benefit Album to Celebrate Marriage Equality, which raises funds for gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign. According to the organization's Web site, the album features love songs that shine "a light on the fact that the love and commitment between two people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity, respect and equality." All sales proceeds go to the charity's work to recognize same-sex marriage, an issue which Dolly said on The Oprah Winfrey Show last year that she supports. Others among the 32 artists who contributed songs to the project include The Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Melissa Etheridge, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Cyndi Lauper and Mandy Moore. Reserve your copy, $19.95 for late November delivery, here.
Another Site Adds Wallpaper The webmaster over at Hello I'm Dolly asked me to alert readers that he has posted several Dolly wallpapers, including several using photos from her current tourbook. Visit his site here and click on "Desktop Dolly" to take a look. (And don't forget your Dollymania wallpapers are available here.)
In The Tabloids, For A Good Reason The National Examiner has a little story in its new issue Dolly about recording a duet with newcomer and former Dollywood singer Aaron Crisler of her song "High And Mighty" on his debut album.
Nov. 8: 'Hello I'm Dolly' Continues The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour made its way to Norfolk, Va., Saturday night (I'm told the show was awesome!) and Winston-Salem, N.C., Sunday night. It next moves on Thursday to East Rutherford, N.J., where the floor finally sold out over the weekend but plenty of seats remain available in the two raised levels. (Of note, the concert there takes place 37 years to the day of the release of Dolly's first full-length album after which the tour is named.) Friday night's show at Caesar's Atlantic City once again sold out over the weekend. It had originally sold out fairly soon after tickets went on sale, but a number of seats became available a few weeks back. They are now gone.
The final tickets to go on sale to the public became available on Saturday. In Portland (available here), the floor sold out on Saturday and only a handful of single-seat tickets remained for sale in the first raised level of seats. The second raised level was about two-thirds sold out, with plenty remaining in the upper balcony. In Houston (available here), the floor easily sold out except a handful of single-seat tickets, with seats still available from the first raised level back. And in Everett, Wash. (available here), only a few single-seat tickets were left on the floor and first level, with plenty of seats open in the upper level.
The Raleigh News Observer on Friday published a mixed review of the show there from Thursday night. While praising Dolly's style, voice and interaction with the audience, the reviewer focused a good deal on the few pre-recorded vocals used during the show, calling their usage "odd and saddening," adding: "It also seemed unnecessary, given Parton's splendid, emotion-filled vocals during most of the night. The few occasions where the real Parton sounded ever-so-slightly under pitch just seemed more evidence of her reality." However, the reviewer noted that the show having some lip-synching didn't ruin it, it just "threw it off balance when they popped up." He lauded her great cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" and an unplanned a capella chorus of "I Will Always Love You" leading the audience in a sing-a-long. Read the full review here.
Rod Slipping Overseas Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, with the Dolly duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside," falls six places to No. 9 in its third week on the U.K. pop albums chart, it was announced Sunday. In Australia, where the CD has been certified gold for sales in excess of 35,000 copies, it slips two spots to No. 10 pop in its second week.
Grascals Reminder Don't forget! The Grascals' debut single, "Viva Las Vegas," featuring Dolly, hits stores on Tuesday. Get your copy here! And also remember that Rhino Records will that same day re-issue a completely re-mastered version of Emmylou Harris' 1980 Christmas album, Light Of The Stable, which contains the original 1975 first recording of Dolly with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. The Trio, as they later became known, was actually a quartet with the addition of Neil Young on the album's title track.
Nov. 6: Win Trip To See Dolly In Reno CMT on Friday announced it will give away a trip for two to see Dolly live in Reno, Nev. The contest is open to all legal U.S. residents age 21 and older, and you may enter once per day here through Nov. 28. One grand prize winner will receive a prize package including round-trip airfare for two to Reno, two nights at the Reno Hilton, two VIP tickets to Dolly's sold-out Dec. 11 show there and $500 spending money. The winner will be contacted via phone Nov. 30. In addition, 20 first-place winners will receive a prize package of tour merchandise valued at $65.
The network also on Friday began a special listing for the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour, changing up the look of the previous tour page listing Dolly's dates. View it here. However, they incorrectly still show the San Antonio concert instead of Austin, the Dec. 19 show (originally scheduled for Seattle, but now moved to nearby Everett) is missing, and her Dec. 16 concert is listed twice at the same venue (once under Boise and once under Nampa, Idaho).
I'm told Dolly put on quite a show, as usual, Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C. As with most recent performances, the Kenny puppet sketch was gone, but she sang additional verses to "My Tennessee Mountain Home," instead of the abbreviated version she's been normally performing. "Welcome Home" was added to the show immediately before her encore, and they added some fiddle playing as background for what at the other concerts has been an a capella performance of "Little Sparrow." A reader who attended called the show "fantastic!" Thanks, Solomon! I'm also told by another reader that "Welcome Home" was performed in place of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," which had been sung at some of the recent dates on the tour, that her fun preacherwoman number "Go To Hell" (which always brings the audience to its feet like they're at a tent revival) made a return, and some of the slower songs in the set list were moved to the middle of the show, bringing the more up-tempo numbers closer to the end. Thanks!
If you didn't get your pre-sale tickets for the final three shows to go on sale on the tour, you're too late -- they ended on Friday. But tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday for the following concerts (all times local): 9 a.m. for the Dec. 17 show in Portland, Ore., from Ticketmaster here; 10 a.m. for the Dec. 5 stop in Houston, Texas, from the venue's Web site here; and noon for the final stop on the 2004 leg of the tour, Dec. 19 in Everett, Wash., via the venue's Web site here.
The few floor seats which became available on Thursday for Saturday's show in Norfolk, Va., were gone by Friday afternoon, but tickets in the upper balcony remained available Friday night from Ticketmaster.
The tour's Nov. 13 performance at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., again sold out on Friday. The date has been sold out a couple of times, but the venue has released a few tickets (which usually means those which had been reserved for sponsors, friends of the venue and guests of the tour promoters who aren't attending) over the past couple of weeks, so it is possible that a few more might be released sometime next week.
A Great Fan Story I had the pleasure this week of corresponding with Laura Coffey, who won the first eBay auction to meet Dolly on the tour, which took place at last month's St. Louis show. She tells me she came all the way down from Toronto, Canada, where she lives and saw Dolly just a week earlier at all three of her shows near that city. A Dolly fan for most of her life, she says the experience was one she'll never forget. She explained that when Dolly walked toward her, she started to shake and couldn't even tell Dolly her own name! Dolly saw the photo she had to be autographed and a silver Sharpie shaking uncontrollably in her hand and cried out, "Now, here's a real fan!" This immediately put her at ease -- "Well, as at ease as anyone could be meeting their idol," Laura added. Dolly signed her memorabilia, took photos with her and her guest and then left to get ready for the show. She said it was a wonderful experience and would recommend anyone who can afford it to bid on the remaining charity meet-and-greet packages. "I never dreamt I would ever be lucky enough to meet Dolly," she concluded. "It really was a dream come true. Dolly is truly inspiring." The current auction, to meet Dolly and see her show in Reading, Penn., ends here next Friday, Nov. 12, and the price is already up to more than $700. Laura's package went for about $1,700, and one for the meet-and-greet for Sunday's show in Winston-Salem ended at more than $2,500. Future auctions will be offered for the concerts in Dallas, Las Vegas, Anaheim and Everett, Wash. All proceeds benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, which provides financial assistance for living and medical expenses to former musicians in need.
Going For The Gold I'm told that at the end of Dolly's interview which aired on CMT Canada Friday night, she was presented with a gold plaque for sales of Live And Well CD and DVD in Canada. The Canadian Recording Industry Association, which issues gold and platinum albums in that country, has apparently not published its report of October certifications yet, but if they have been certified at that level, it would mean at least 50,000 units of the CD and/or 5,000 units of the DVD have been sold up north. Thanks, Leesa!
CMA: Dolly's Appearance Is Official The Country Music Association on Friday officially announced Dolly's participation in Tuesday night's awards, saying in a press release that she will present the Entertainer of the Year award -- noting that she won the trophy in 1978 and her current nomination for Musical Event of the Year for "Creepin' In" with Norah Jones. In the release, CMA Executive Director Ed Benson commented: "What can you say about Dolly? She has been entertaining fans on stage, screen, television and radio, not to mention her Pigeon Forge amusement attractions, for more than 30 years. There is no one better suited to present this important Award than this consummate entertainer, and we are always honored to have her on the show." The release, however, incorrectly stated that she has received 39 CMA nominations in her career -- due most likely to a glitch in the CMA's awards database, first reported here last year, which does not show any nominees for 1989's Music Video of the Year, when Dolly was nominated for "Why'd You Come In Here Looking Like That?" All other video nominations before and after that year are properly credited to the artists' totals, but those nominated in 1989 (other than that year's winner) are mistakenly not credited in the "official" CMA numbers. Dolly's actual career total at the CMAs are 40 nominations, eight regular wins and one special award, the CMA Honors, which was presented to her in 1993 but has never been included in the Association's official total for her.
Stella Takes Home Trophy Congratulations to Dolly's sister, Stella, for her win as Female Vocalist of the Year at Thursday night's 10th Annual Christian Country Music Association Awards in Nashville. Stella also performed on the program, broadcast on the Great American Country cable network (with repeats throughout the month). Stella, who beat out Dolly duet partner Dottie Rambo for this year's female honor, had also been nominated for the Pioneer Award but lost to Jimmy Snow. Dolly's video for "Welcome Home" from For God And Country had been a preliminary nominee earlier this year for Video of the Year but didn't make it into the final list of nominees.
Library News Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program continues to grow in her home state. The Greene County, Tenn., budget committee this week voted to recommend the county sign up for the program which provides one free book per month to every child from birth to age 5 in a participating community whose parents sign up. Read a story on their action from The Greeneville Sunhere. And over in Weakly County, Tenn., organizers are holding a "No Show Gala" on Saturday (a popular fund-raiser where you're asked to buy a ticket to a non-existent event instead of buying a ticket for a real charity event) to benefit the program there, according to the Weakly County Presshere. Dolly's program is now active in nearly 400 communities across 39 states nationwide and is expected to distribute well over 1 million books this year.
From One Boob Joke To Another The Fake News an online journal of political satire, took a swipe at the now-refuted tabloid reports of Dolly's supposed plans for breast reduction surgery and the country's current color-coded landscape with its lead story Friday night, "Dolly Parton's Planned Breast Reduction Surgery Prompts Red State Crisis." Read it here.
Nov. 5: Dolly To Present CMA Award While she's not slated to perform (which is what a newspaper had reported earlier), Dolly will appear to present this year's Entertainer of the Year trophy on the CMA Awards, airing live from Nashville on CBS Tuesday night, Sugar Hill Records announced on Thursday. She and Norah Jones are nominated for Musical Event of the Year for their duet "Creepin' In" from Jones' Feels Like Home. Thanks, Billy!
Still On The Charts Dolly's concert CD Live And Well falls nine more places to No. 59 on the country albums chart in its seventh chart week, according to the Nov. 13 Billboard charts released Thursday. The double-CD live collection also drops three notches to No. 42 on the independent labels albums chart. As was reported here earlier, Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, featuring Dolly on the duet "Baby It's Cold Outside," inches down three spots to No. 4 pop and comprehensive but remains at No. 1 for a second week in Internet sales. Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, with Dolly duetting on "Creepin' In," moves up two spaces to No. 54 pop and comprehensive in its 38th chart week but falls off the 25-position Internet sales chart, down from No. 21. Mindy Smith's One Moment More, with Dolly on harmony on "Jolene," inches down three places to No. 26 in its 40th week on the independent labels albums chart. Kenny Rogers' 42 Ultimate Hits, featuring Dolly on their hit "Islands In The Stream," remains steady at No. 45 country in its 22nd chart week. George Strait's 50 Number Ones remains steady at No. 1 country for a third week but loses four to No. 7 pop, while Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying moves up one to No. 2 country but falls three to No. 13 pop in its 10th chart week.
The Tour Continues The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour rolled into Raleigh, N.C., Thursday night, and a few tickets in the bleachers on the back of the main floor for Saturday's Norfolk show became available on Ticketmaster on Thursday. The only other tickets remaining for that show are in the upper balcony. Tickets for Sunday's show in Winston-Salem are still available, but only in the upper balcony. And a handful of tickets on the floor also became available Thursday for the Dec. 3 concert in Dallas, where ticket sales have been going fairly well.
Pre-sale tickets remained available Thursday on the floor at both Houston and Everett here.
My pal Debbie sent in some shots of Dolly from her Canadian shows, which have been added to the tour galleries here. (She apologizes beforehand for the lines on the photos which are due to her scanner.) Thanks! And several exclusive, original tour-themed wallpapers have been posted here to help you "Dolly-tize" your computer!
The Grascals, Dolly's backing band and opening act, on Thursday posted a sample of the songs from their new CD single coming out next week, which leads with their cover of "Viva Las Vegas" featuring Dolly. Visit their site here and click on "Music" to take a listen.
Jimmy Mattingly, a member of the band, had a great article in Thursday's Winston-Salem Journal talking about working with Dolly. Gushing about his boss, he said: "She is still a beautiful woman, I can't lie about that. But she is also very, very smart . . . And she is one of the most naturally charismatic people I have ever known . . . She is really the female Elvis. Oh, the stories I could tell." Read the full story here.
Honoring Her Good Works Dolly's Myrtle Beach, S.C., branch of her Imagination Library literacy program, which is funded there by her Dixie Stampede dinner theater, was honored last week by local Horry-Georgetown Technical College with its Excellence Award at the Champions for Children breakfast recognizing community leaders for their commitment to the area's youth. Read a story from the city's Sun Newshere.
Nov. 4: Final Pre-Sales Start As was expected, tickets for the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour went on fan pre-sales here Wednesday for her Dec. 5 stop in Houston, Dec. 17 in Portland and Dec. 19 in Everett, Wash. The pre-sale tickets to the Portland show sold out during the day, but floor seats remained available as of Wednesday evening for the Houston and Everett dates. Tickets for these shows go on sale to the general public on Saturday. These are the final tickets to go on sale for the 2004 leg of the tour. Dolly has said that if this initial set of dates goes well, she plans to extend the tour to more cities in 2005, but nothing official on that decision has been announced yet.
Plenty of seats remained available as of Wednesday for Thursday night's concert in
Raleigh, N.C., Saturday's show in Norfolk, Va., and Sunday's performance in Winston-Salem, N.C., via Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster also had a handful of mid-level seats become available on Tuesday for the previously sold-out gig at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
The Seattle Times on Wednesday ran a brief about her Dec. 19 date moving to Everett from Seattle. Read it here.
Stewart Disc Going Strong Sales are still going well for Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III and its Dolly duet on the classic "Baby It's Cold Outside." The third installment in the British singer's series of American standards decreases 44 percent to 134,000 copies sold in its second week in the U.S., dipping from its No. 1 debut on the pop albums chart to No. 4 when the Nov. 13 numbers are released on Thursday, Billboard announced on Wednesday. The collection sold nearly a quarter-million copies in its first week, allowing a two-week sales total of about 380,000 units.
Another Good Turn Dolly's Orlando Dixie Stampede recently collected 3,000 pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank to assist hurricane victims in central Florida, the Osceola News Gazette reported here this week. The dinner theater's manager told the newspaper: "The hurricanes were devastating to people in our area. Reaching out to the community is what we are all about and we knew that working with the Second Harvest Food Bank was the right thing to do."
Dollywood On The Tube Dollywood will appear on cable's ABC Family Channel next week, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported on Wednesday, giving the air date of Nov. 11 for the episode of the reality program Switched which features a New York dancer switching lives for four days with a park employee. You may recall news of the show was first reported here back in August shortly after the program was filmed at the park. Read the brief on the show here.
Queen Of The Sleazy Tabloids Another paper has brought up the rumor that Dolly is having her breasts reduced. A few readers wrote in on Wednesday to alert me to a report in the New York Daily News about the recent trend of breast reduction surgery which starts off with the claim about Dolly. At least this publication admitted that the story originally came from a supermarket gossip tabloid. The story, which first appeared a few months ago in a tabloid, was picked up by an entertainment news wire and appeared in several newspapers and even Country Weekly magazine over recent weeks before Dolly spoke out about it saying it was completely false. Read the latest story here. Thanks, guys!
Nov. 3: More St. Louis, Canadian Pictures! Some more "Hello I'm Dolly" photos from St. Louis and a set from her Oct. 23 Canadian show have been added to the tour galleries here. Some come from Lawrence and David, who noted that the crew broke Dolly's martini glass when moving her piano in, so they had to run and find another one. They also noted that she discussed the Imagination Library and mentioned that she would like to do more movies. Also, The Grascals stayed after the show to sign copies of the new CD single and take pictures with fans. And another set of photos came in Tuesday from Melissa, who was lucky enough to win a local radio contest to gain admission to Dolly's exclusive, small meet-and-greets and get her picture taken with Dolly herself! She tells me that Dolly was "as sweet as she can be" and didn't mind that the nervous, long-time fan was shaking all over at the chance to meet her. The Canadian pics come from a reader named Troy, who called the show there "amazing!" Thanks to you all!
Read a story from Tuesday's The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., here about moving Dolly's Dec. 19 concert there from nearby Seattle.
The next charity auction to meet Dolly went on the block Tuesday and concludes on Friday, Nov. 12. This one will allow tickets for the concert and meet-and-greet with Dolly at her Reading, Penn., show on Nov. 20. The first two auctions, for St. Louis and Winston-Salem, went for $1,700 and $2,550, respectively. Additional auctions, all to benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, will soon be offered for her concerts in Dallas, Las Vegas, Anaheim and Everett, Wash. Place your bid here!
No news was available Tuesday night on whether the fan pre-sales will add Houston, Portland and Everett for sale on Wednesday, so if you're planning to attend those shows and want the best seats, check that site here on Wednesday morning to see if they've been added. Tickets have gone on pre-sale there at times varying from 10 a.m. to noon to 1 p.m., all Eastern, so if these dates are added, they may start at any of those times. Tickets for these three shows go on sale to the general public on Saturday.
Celebrate The Holidays Dollywood is preparing for its annual Smoky Mountain Christmas festival, which opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 30 at Dolly's Pigeon Forge, Tenn., theme park. While Dolly herself is not scheduled to make an appearance (due to the current tour), there will be many wonderful things to entertain and entice visitors throughout the celebration. Christian Steinbach, President of Germany's Steinbach factory and creator of the Steinbach Nutcracker, will be on hand to autograph nutcrackers at the new Olde World Christmas Market Saturday and Sunday. Other attractions for the holidays include several holiday-themed shows (such as "Christmas In The Smokies," "Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "O Holy Night" and more), the return of Tinker the Talking Christmas Tree, Santa's Workshop and the nightly lighted Christmas parade. In addition to the new European Christmas Market, the nation's tallest Christmas pyramid, towering 45 feet above the ground, is a new addition this year, featuring intricate carvings of the Nativity. The park presents a dazzling display of 3.3 million lights in observance of the holidays.
Maybe He'll Call It Randywood? The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Dolly's brother (and Dollywood performer) Randy Parton is in the market for creating a district for music and variety theaters, and Currituck County, N.C., is among the sites being considered. No word on there being any involvement with Dolly. Read the story here.
Nov. 2: St. Louis Recaps, Photos Dolly apparently blew them away at her Halloween show in St. Louis Sunday night. Readers who wrote in on Monday about the latest stop on the "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour said the audience featured a few Dolly drag queens (both male and female), given the holiday. When Dolly saw a sign that a couple on the front row held up saying they had paid $215 each for their seats, Dolly said she didn't ask for that much money but appreciated it because, as everyone knows, it takes a lot to make a person look so cheap! Thanks to all who wrote in with their recaps!
The Dollymania "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour Galleries continue to grow. St. Louis audience member Darin Brandt sent in several great shots that have been added to the galleries here alongside the 29 other sets of photos from seven other concerts on the tour. Thanks, Darin!
The local paper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on Monday gave the show a great review, saying simply, "Dolly Parton, you gotta love her." Read the review here.
Dolly's Dec. 19 concert in Seattle at the Key Center has moved to Everett, Wash., to the Everett Event Center. Click here for details. Tickets go on sale Saturday.
A few floor seats previously unavailable for Sunday's Winston-Salem show came open on Ticketmaster on Monday.
I'm told that her Norfolk show is getting even more press, with a corner photo plugging it in this weekend's Virginia Pilot and a pull-page on the concert in the November edition of gay and lesbian newspaper Out And About Of Virginia. Thanks, Jon!
Classic Dolly Holiday At Hall Of Fame The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum this month kicks off its annual holiday celebration, complete with a Dolly-related screening. Events begin Nov. 19 and run through Dec. 31 at the Nashville landmark. The museum on Nov. 28 will offer a 2 p.m. film screening of the rarely-seen Grand Ole Opry Christmas Past 1967, featuring performances by Dolly, Dottie West, Grandpa Jones, George Morgan and others.
Dolly In Print I'm told that the new In Touch magazine has a shot of Dolly from her recent Canadian concerts, nothing that she looks like she hasn't aged in years. Thanks, Bridget!
Nov. 1: Latest Tour Reviews, Pics The "Hello I'm Dolly" Tour made it to three cities over the weekend: St. Paul, Omaha and St. Louis, and fans loved it. Those who wrote in to Dollymania after the St. Paul show said it was "the best Dolly concert" they had seen in her entire career. The Kenny Rogers puppet made a return appearance after having been gone for a while on the tour. Dolly said its Twin Cities' performance was because the makers of the dummy were from the area and were in the audience. She joked that Kenny himself was in the front row of her concert in Atlanta (where he now lives) and teased her that she wasn't very good at it. The crowd was described as a little less inhibited than at previous shows, with more standing and dancing in the nearly-sold-out venue (4,835 in attendance out of about 5,000 available seats) than at most other concerts thus far on the tour. And one reader sent in photos from the St. Paul concert. View them in the tour galleries here. Thanks, Michael!
The reviewers for two of the St. Paul area's main newspapers seemed to have attended different concerts, at least judging from their comments on Saturday. The reviewer from the St. Paul Pioneer Press praised the concert here, calling it "fascinating" and "intimate" while singling out her "surprisingly affecting cover of John Lennon's 'Imagine.'" On the other hand, the reviewer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune decried the show here, offering a strong rebuke for her lip-synching of some songs and claiming that she wasn't "convincing" on the covers of "Me & Bobby McGee" and "Imagine," saying they "lacked the imagination" of her recent covers.
I'm told that at Saturday night's Omaha show, Dolly was a little hoarse but still performed well. One special moment in the show was the introduction of "Smoky Mountain Memories." Speaking of her family and growing up in the Smoky Mountains, she mentioned Larry, her little brother who died when he was only a few days old. She recounted that after his death, many neighbors thought it better that he had died rather than be raised in a household as impoverished as the Partons'. On the verge of crying during the story herself, Dolly stopped in mid-sentence before going into the song. Thanks, David! (No word yet on Sunday's St. Louis show, as this update was posted a couple of hours before that concert was scheduled to begin.)
The Omaha World Herald on Sunday raved about the show, with the reviewer's only criticism being that they would have preferred full versions of her pop hits instead of the abbreviated medley. They singled out as highlights her "haunting" version of "Little Sparrow" and new covers of "Imagine" and "Me And Bobby McGee." Read it here.
After Sunday night's Halloween show in St. Louis (for which some amazing second-row floor seats and first raised level seats became available on Saturday -- after the second raised level sold out), Dolly takes a few days off, next returning in concert Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C., plenty of seats for which remain available at Ticketmaster. The Raleigh News & Observer ran a front-page article in Sunday's paper noting Dolly's concert there and comparing her with another performer in town this week, Bette Midler, so, hopefully, that will help sell the final tickets there. Read the short article online here. Thanks, Chris!
That concert is followed by Saturday's show in Norfolk and next Sunday performance in Winston-Salem, both of which have several tickets remaining for the final raised section of seats. I'm told that next the Norfolk show is getting some advertising on television there, so that could get those final few tickets moved to add it as another sell-out next week. Thanks, Jon!
And speaking of sell-outs, Dolly's Dec. 11 concert at the Hilton in Reno, Nev., on Sunday became the ninth date on the tour to sell out.
The Toyota Center in Houston announced Saturday that tickets for Dolly's Dec. 5 concert there, ranging from $34.50 to $57.50, will go on sale to the general public via the venue's Web site here at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, so I'd expect them to be available on the Dolly fan pre-sale page here on Wednesday.
Tickets went on sale Saturday to the general public for Dolly's Dec. 2 performance in Austin. The floor quickly sold out, and all tickets were swiftly bought up in the first two levels of raised seats except a handful of single-seat tickets, leaving only the final level of raised seats in the back of the venue available here.
Grascals, Dolly Single At Radio I'm told that The Grascals announced during the St. Paul show that their new single, "Viva Las Vegas" with Dolly, shipped to radio on Friday, so call and request it from your local stations now! The commercial single is to be released for sale to the public Nov. 9. Get yours here! Thanks, Ryan!
Stewart, Dolly Do Well Overseas Rod Stewart's Stardust: The Great American Songbook: Volume III, with the great Dolly duet on "Baby It's Cold Outside," remains steady at No. 3 in its second week on the U.K. pop albums chart, it was announced Sunday. Down Under in Australia, the disc debuts at No. 8 pop. As was expected, Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, featuring its own Dolly duet, falls off the 75-position British chart after 35 weeks, down from No. 74 last week. It had peaked for two weeks at No. 1.
Can't Help Lovin' Some Dolly In an interesting interview published in Sunday's New York Post, REM front man Michael Stipe praises Dolly as one of his all-time favorites. When asked to name an artist he respects who might surprise his fans, he replies: "Dolly Parton. It's unfathomable how talented that woman is. I'd fly across the country to see her perform." When asked if he'd even consider recording a duet with her, he says bluntly: "I'd crap my pants. I couldn't handle it. It was enough to get onstage with Bruce Springsteen on the Vote for Change tour." Read the full interview here.
Helping Out A Good Cause Dolly's autographed dulcimer and photo auctioned on eBay through Celebrity Rags 4 Charity Riches to benefit the Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development at Vanderbilt University ended on Saturday with the items selling for $511.