'Very Best' Rises Overseas Seeing a sight rebound overseas, the compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, which a few weeks ago became her first-ever top 10 British pop hit album, gains three digits this week to No. 15 on the U.K. pop albums chart, it was announced Sunday. Down Under, the CD gains four spots to No. 4 country but is just out of reach for the Australian top 50 pop albums this week.
Dolly Down In Ireland The compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton this week takes a dip out of the top 20 albums on the Emerald Isle. The disc loses nine points for the week to come in at No. 26 on the Irish pop albums chart.
GAC At Dollywood Cable channel Great American Country (GAC) headed to Dollywood last week to tape its Top 20 Videos Of The Week countdown which aired Friday night, including a segment on the park's new ride as well as an announcement of a special GAC show which will premiere at the park starting May 16 which I'm told will showcase current country hits and some classics in a medley format featuring some stars via video and hosted by GAC personalities via video. A park spokesperson added that GAC will be on location several times throughout the year generating additional television programs from Dollywood.
Quite A Feat Avril Lavigne this week entered some elite company, becoming just the sixth female artist to score a solo No. 1 pop hit for RCA Records, chart guru Fred Bronson reports in this week's "Chart Beat" column for Billboard as the singer's "Girlfriend" ascends to the top of the magazine's Hot 100. He notes that the only other ladies from the label to accomplish that feat are Dolly, Kay Starr, Little Peggy March, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson.
Minn. Library Gets Coverage The expansion of Dolly's international Imagination Library literacy program into the Mesabi East School District in Hoyt Lakes, Minn., gets coverage Friday from the Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, Minn. Take a read here.
A Place Fit For A Queen Writers and editors for Virginia's Richmond.com are looking forward to Queen Elizabeth II's upcoming U.S. visit with some suggestions for places she should see while in the States, and one suggests Dollywood. Read the lists here.
'Very Best' Still Strong Overseas The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Dolly's hit European compilation CD, remains in the top 20 on the pop charts across the continent, although it continues to slide. In this week's charts, the disc dips four to No. 17 in Sweden and two to No. 12 in Denmark. It inches up one, however, in Norway, where it moves to No. 6.
U.S. Chart Updates Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring his hit duet with Dolly, "When I Get Where I'm Going," slips three spots to No. 20 this week on the country albums charts in the U.S., Billboard revealed Thursday in the May 5 numbers. The album gains, though, 14 to No. 96 pop and 13 to No. 99 comprehensive in its 88th chart week, also moving up one to No. 27 Canadian country. Martina McBride sees an up tick in her sales following an American Idol appearance. Her Timeless, with its Dolly collaboration, "I Still Miss Someone," gains 10 to No. 56 country in its 79th chart week, also re-entering the country top 50 in Canada at No. 28. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," falls two to No. 59 country in its 66th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, featuring Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," drops two to No. 15 on the bluegrass albums chart in its 47th week. It was American Idol week at the top of the chart, with the self-titled debut by former finalist Bucky Covington debuting at No. 1 country and No. 4 pop with 61,000 copies sold, and recent Idol guest McBride holding on at No. 2 country and gaining three to No. 5 pop with Waking Up Laughing moving 55,000 units in its third week.
A Note On The New CD Backwoods Barbie, Dolly's next album (for which she is aiming for a fall 2007 release), gets a mention in Knoxville News Sentinel entertainment columnist Terry Morrow's column Friday. Take a read here.
Latest Re-Issue Reviews More reviews are coming out on the recent "American Milestone" re-issues, with Music Box giving the expanded Coat Of Many Colors five stars here and opining: "So brave, bold, and emotionally pure were her musings that Coat of Many Colors firmly remains the artistic pinnacle of her career." Blog Angry Country offers similar praise for My Tennessee Mountain Homehere, saying: "Most of Parton's albums of this era are essential, and this one's no exception."
And Another Critic Weighs In Dolly's Oscar-nominated track "Travelin' Thru" gets some respect from a critic this week in The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire's Spectator student paper, which reviews the film which contained the song, TransAmerica. Although it gives the film a mixed review, finding it quite mediocre except for lead actress Felicity Huffman's performance, the review singles out Dolly's contribution as deserving of its accolades. Read more here.
A Hoot And A Holler Siren Nation, a non-profit group in Portland, Ore., raising money to host a regional women's music festival in November, has announced plans for its second benefit concert of Dolly music. Titled the "Dolly Parton Hoot Night," local female musicians from several genres will honor their inspiration by offering their interpretations of her songs. The event takes place at 9 p.m. June 1 at the McMenamins Mission Theater. Tickets, $15 each, will be available via Ticketmaster starting May 1.
She's No. 1! Someone wrote in to The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., asking who is the No. 1 all-time female country star, suggesting it might be Dolly or Loretta Lynn. The expert's answer was both, and Reba McEntire, are all in the top three for the career achievement records each holds, but Dolly bests both of them slightly in each category, making her the genre's all-time top woman. Read more here.
Dolly On GAC Dolly is getting her own installment of the Great American Country (GAC) show Master Series, the network has announced. The hour-long program is expected to premiere at 10 a.m. Eastern May 6. Host Bill Cody spins Dolly videos in the first half as he explains her many career achievements to viewers, and the second half features an informal interview with Dolly herself taped at Dollywood.
'What A Way To Make A Living' Wednesday was Administrative Professionals Day, and that brought a couple of Dolly mentions for her secretarial role in 1980's blockbuster 9 To 5. Entertainment Weekly used her portrayal of Dorolee as the first entry in its article "Secs Appeal" honoring office assistants of film and television. Read their profile here. And The Daily Southtownhere offered a Dolly fact in honor of the holiday: that she memorized the entire script prior to filming because she didn't know that's not how movies are done.
In Memoriam Our thoughts and prayers are with Dolly and her family this week upon the passing of her father-in-law, Edgar Henry Dean, who died Sunday, April 22, 2007, at his home, surrounded by family and neighbors. He was 88. According to his obituary, he often said there was no place on earth better to live than his neighborhood. Mr. Dean served in the U.S. Army in Europe during WWII, drove a transporter for ESSO Petroleum Co. and was owner of Dean Paving Co. He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Ginny; and sister, Mildred Engles. Survivors include his son and daughter-in-law, Carl and Dolly Dean; son, Donnie Dean; daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Neil Chaffin; daughter-in-law, Karen Macleod; 5 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters-in-law, Gene and Dot Dean and Clyde and Mae Dean; and best friend, George Moss. Visitation was held Tuesday at Woodbine Funeral Home in Nashville followed by graveside services at Woodlawn Cemetery officiated by Walt Leaver. Memorial contributions may be made to the Caring Ministry at Woodmont Hills Family of God. Condolences were offered in the "Celebrities" column in The Tennesseanhere Wednesday, and the online version of his obituary is available from the newspaper here.
'9 To 5' Moves Closer To Broadway The Broadway adaptation of Dolly's hit film 9 To 5 featuring a new musical score by her moves one step closer to the stage this summer with a staged reading in Manhattan June 20-28, Playbill reported here Tuesday. In the general development of a play or musical, the actors will first perform a reading, where they sit on stage reading the words while a stage manager reads the stage directions instead of anyone acting them out. Next, a staged reading follows where actors act out the script after a handful of rehearsals and move on the stage for entrances, exits and other major actions. After that, the show generally enters the workshop phase, a minimal production after a few weeks of rehearsal using very little costuming, very few set pieces and very little musical accompaniment or sound effects. During each of these stages, the script and songs are tweaked and the director asks actors for different interpretations of the characters as the show becomes more and more polished prior to its final casting, professional rehearsals and official premiere. Dolly's musical saw its first reading in January with Megan Hilty, who has been cast as Dorolee, and Tracey Ullman and Alice Ripley as the other female leads, although neither of them has been announced as having been cast for the final production. The staged reading would be the next step prior to workshopping the production at a later date. Although its actual premiere has yet to be scheduled, Dolly has said that it could be between late 2007 and early 2008. The show is being produced by Showtime president Robert Greenblatt, and Dolly has said she has signed on as one of the production's financial backers. Patricia Resnick, who co-wrote the original screenplay, has penned the script (known as the "book" in theatre parlance), and Joe Mantello, who won the Tony Award for Best Director in 2003 and 2004, has agreed to direct.
Party Coverage Offered For those who couldn't make it to the rambunctious "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party in Knoxville the other weekend, your Dollymania coverage of the event is available here. Many in attendance told me they had an absolute blast, and the organizer says he hopes to host one again next year. For those in the Knoxville area, the companion exhibit of Dolly-inspired artwork remains open at The World Grotto through the end of the month.
'Very Best' Makes Aussie Chart Already a mega-hit across Europe, the compilation album The Very Best Of Dolly Parton gets its debut Down Under this week. The CD comes in at No. 8 on the Australian country charts, it was revealed Sunday. Over in the U.K., the former top 10 pop album dips two more spots to No. 18 on the British pop tally but remains the No. 1-ranked country record for the week.
Porter Track Available Online Salon.com is helping plug Porter Wagoner's next CD, Wagonmaster, which will hit stores June 5 from Anti Records. The Johnny Cash-penned track "Committed To Parkview," about a mental institution in Nashville where both Cash and Wagoner spent some time, is the online magazine's "Exclusive Song Of The Day" for Monday. Take a listen here. As has previously been noted, the collection will feature "My Many Hurried Southern Trips," a tune the pair wrote together more than 35 years ago.
CNN Show Rescheduled The premiere of the Larry King 50th anniversary special on CNN Presents which features well-wishes from many of his past interviewees, including Dolly, has been rescheduled. Originally to air last week, the program was pre-empted by coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. It is now set to air at 9 p.m. May 3.
Fan Gets In Mag Many of you know the familiar face of Solomon Willis at Dollywood when Dolly is around, and even if you don't know him you've seen some of his photos over the years here on the website. Well, his devotion paid off in one way this month, as the April 27 edition of Entertainment Weekly includes him as the magazine's "Obsessive Fan of the Week," a feature focusing each week on one person's adoration of a celebrity. He is photographed in the magazine with part of his collection of Dolly memorabilia and tells them he has more than 300 CDs, 300 framed photos of her and over 100 trips to her theme park.
'If I Can Make It There, I'll Make It Anywhere' The Mountain Press up near Dollywood over the weekend offered a great little article here about the various stars who got their start playing at Dolly's theme park in the Smokies.
Down In Ireland The new Irish charts are out, and Dolly's compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton loses six more places to No. 17 on the pop albums chart in Ireland this week.
More Praise For Reissues Another paper has weighed in on Dolly's recent RCA re-issue CDs, this time The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. The paper's reviewer loved the three expanded albums, giving Coat Of Many Colors and My Tennessee Mountain Home four out of five stars each and Jolene four-and-a-half stars. Read the complete reviews here.
Opry Question Remains Will Dolly be making an appearance on The Grand Ole Opry next month? Hopefully, we will find out on Monday. The Opry reportedly has a special evening planned on May 19 to honor Porter Wagoner's 50 years as a member of the country music institution, and for several weeks word has circulated that Dolly is among the participants although the only publicly-announced performers for that night are Wagoner, his producer Marty Stuart and Patty Loveless, who used to hang out with him and Dolly as her mentors when she was first starting out in the business. In recent weeks, while Dollymania has received notices from several trusted -- but second-hand -- sources that her appearance on the program had been scheduled and finalized, no one in positions of authority would officially confirm the information first-hand. Now, Opry officials say a press release on the show is scheduled to come out on Monday. Although the details contained in the release are not yet known, I expect that if Dolly has been confirmed as a guest for the program it should be announced at that time. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.
Benefit Concert Promoted The day after the supposed Opry show, of course, Dolly will be in Sevier County, Tenn., for her benefit concert to help build a new hospital in her hometown. The hospital on Friday kicked off its next round of promotions for the show, sending out a press release that tickets remain available here and posting downloadable posters on its website to promote the concert. Access either one by clicking on the images below.
April 20: Dolly To Receive ACM's Top Award The Academy of Country Music on Thursday announced that Dolly is one of four artists selected for this year's Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, the Academy's honor equivalent to the Country Music Hall of Fame presentation on the annual Country Music Association Awards. The only other living honoree this year is Don Williams. Receiving posthumous awards are songwriter Harlan Howard and singers Waylon Jennings. In addition, the late Buck Owens will receive the Jim Reeves International Award and former Columbia/Sony executive Jack Lameier will be honored with the Mae Boran Axton Award. The six will receive recognition on the live telecast of the ACM Awards on CBS May 15 hosted by Reba McEntire, although how long of a segment has not been revealed (the actual award presentation is usually done with the pre-telecast honors). They will later be honored with a special ceremony June 20 at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville hosted by Marty Stuart. In the official ACM press release announcing the honors, it was noted: "Dolly Parton is by far one of the most popular country icons of all time. From 'I Will Always Love You' to her Oscar nominated song 'Travelin' Thru,' Parton has many hits spanning her long career. She is also known for breaking down barriers for women in country music. Parton is known as a philanthropist as well, providing books to schools across the country and scholarships to children from her home state of Tennessee." Last year's Pioneer Award recipients were Little Jimmy Dickens, Kris Kristofferson, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe. Last year, Dolly won two ACM Awards: Video of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year with Brad Paisley for "When I Get Where I'm Going." The Pioneer Award will be her eighth career ACM honor. Read coverage of the announcement from The Tennesseanhere.
Still Hot Overseas Although no longer near the top of the charts, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton continues to do quite well overseas. The album dips four to No. 13 pop in Sweden this week, it was announced Thursday, and also drops four to No. 10 in Denmark.
U.S. Chart Updates On this side of the Atlantic, the Brad Paisley disc featuring Dolly's most recent No. 1, "When I Get Where I'm Going," holds its own on the country tally. In the April 28 numbers, Time Well Wasted remains steady at No. 17 in its 87th week on the country albums chart, Billboard reported Thursday. The CD falls nine to No. 110 pop and 10 to No. 112 comprehensive while rising six to No. 28 on the Canadian country albums chart. Martina McBride's Timeless, featuring Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," dips two to No. 66 country in its 78th chart week. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, featuring "Islands In The Stream," remains steady at No. 57 country in its 65th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, including the Dolly collaboration "Heartbreaker's Alibi," falls five to No. 13 on the bluegrass albums chart in its 46th week. Tim McGraw's Let It Go remains steady at No. 1 country and No. 2 pop with 66,000 copies sold in its third week, while McBride holds on at No. 2 country and dips four to No. 8 pop with Waking Up Laughing , which sold 50,000 units in its second week.
More Re-Issue Reviews Thanks to Matt for alerting me that the influential indie rock blog Pitchfork last week reviewed the three recent expanded Dolly RCA re-issues. With the publication known for its notoriously low ratings for just about all CDs, My Tennessee Mountain Home met the usual ire of the reviewer, earning just 2.2 out of 10. Jolene fared a little better, getting a 5.8, albeit just for the album's two hits (the timeless title track and the original "I Will Always Love You"). Coat Of Many Colors, however, earned one of the few high rankings for the blog, finding itself with an impressive 7.0 and much praise. Read the full review here.
'Hannah' Heading To DVD Thanks to Anthony for alerting me that Disney last week announced that Dolly's guest appearance on the network's tween series Hannah Montana will hit DVD shelves this summer. The episode is one of four to be included in the June 26 release Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile. Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes look at the Cyrus family and a live concert performance of star Miley Cyrus performing a song. In addition to the "Good Golly Miss Dolly" show, the DVD will feature episodes "New Kid In School," "More Than A Zombie To Me" and "People Who Use People." Get your copy here!
Mag Praises Reissues Thanks to Sheldon for alerting me that the new issue of Blender magazine raves about the recent SonyBMG Dolly re-issues of some of her classic early '70s recordings. Under the headline "Hello Dolly: How a poor mountain girl with a light giggle and dark songs saved country music from the guys," the piece in the May edition gives the expanded Coat Of Many Colors and Jolene five out of five stars each and four out of five stars to My Tennessee Mountain Home.
Porter & Dolly Profiled The legendary duo of Dolly and Porter Wagoner got a profile in some of the Arkansas papers Wednesday with a piece available online from The Lonoke Democrathere.
April 18: Just A Wee Bit Irish What's in the pot at the end of the rainbow? According to legend, it's a hoard of gold, but on Friday it was a Dollyprechaun! That was the evening that Dolly took the helm as grand marshal of the 22nd annual Dolly Parton Parade through Pigeon Forge, Tenn., where she was on hand to observe the seasonal grand opening of her theme park, Dollywood. She made several appearances for the public and the media on Friday and Saturday, sang a few songs, answered questions for the press and met the winners of her eBay charity auction at the official opening of the park's new Mystery Mine roller coaster. With the National Dance Company of Ireland headlining this year's Festival of Nations, Friday's parade took on a distinctive green hue with the theme of "Celebrate Ireland." Dolly sat on her float of the same name atop the black pot at the end of a rainbow, decked out in leprechaun-inspired attire. Your official Dollymania coverage of the weekend begins here and many, many additional photo galleries will be posted in coming days!
Additional coverage is available from:
The Mountain Press with stories on Dolly's appearance here, the new ride here, the Festival of Nations here, The Rhythm of the Dance show here and the park's "secrets" here.
Thanks to Tony to tipping me off to Coaster World News, which has a streaming video report on the weekend here.
The Tennessean offered a piece here which was also the basis for an Associated Press story which was repeated in several papers afterward.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel provides an article here and a video interviewing riders here.
Knoxville TV station WATE gives its take on the happenings here.
Overseas Chart Updates Dolly's biggest European CD ever, the compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, continues its slide across the Atlantic. In the tallies released this week, the album dips two to No. 16 on the British pop albums charts, loses three to No. 11 pop in Ireland and remains steady at No. 7 pop in Norway.
Not What Your Country Can Do For You Jeff Foxworthy got in a jab at a former president while joking about Dolly at Monday night's CMT Music Awards. The night's host offered a recap of the year in country music, including December's presentation of the Kennedy Center Honor to Dolly. Foxworthy added: "That's appropriate because if there's ever been a president who would enjoy Dolly Parton it's President Kennedy."
April 13: Geetings From Dollywood! For those who can't make it to Dollywood this weekend to see Dolly in person, you can at least catch her on TV. Fox News announced Thursday that she will do a satellite appearance on Friday morning on its Fox & Friends program, which begins at 7 a.m. Eastern. She will be making appearances in the park on both Friday and Saturday in addition to her annual parade Friday evening in Pigeon Forge. Also, don't forget the big "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party in Knoxville Saturday night. Check back here for complete coverage in coming days!
European Charts See Drops Dolly overseas compilation album The Very Best Of Dolly Parton falls a bit more this week, it was revealed Thursday. The CD falls five to No. 9 on the Swedish pop albums chart and two to No. 6 on the same chart in Denmark.
U.S. Chart Updates On the charts stateside, Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring his No. 1 duet with Dolly, "When I Get Where I'm Going," falls two to No. 17 in its 86th week on the country albums chart, Billboard revealed Thursday in the April 21 tallies. The disc dips one to No. 101 pop and 102 comprehensive while dropping 11 to No. 34 on the Canadian country albums tally. Martina McBride's Timeless, with the Dolly collaboration "I Still Miss Someone," inches down one to No. 64 country in its 77th chart week. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," falls eight to No. 57 country in its 64th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, featuring Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," gains five to No. 8 on the bluegrass albums chart in its 45th week. Tim McGraw's Let It Go remains steady at No. 1 country but slips one to No. 2 pop with 177,000 copies sold in its second week, while McBride debuts at No. 2 country and No. 3 pop with Waking Up Laughing , which moved 144,000 units in its first week, about 41,000 less than did her most recent disc, which featured Dolly, in its debut week.
Dance Tracks In Stores Although it came out a few weeks ago, I just discovered that a U.K. CD, Forever Country: Classic Country Hits Remade for the Dancefloor , is out with some dance mixes of Dolly classics. Although Dolly herself doesn't perform on the album (none of the original artists do), the collection features club versions of "Islands In The Stream," "Jolene" and "9 To 5." Get your copy here!
April 11: Lee Duets Album Is Out Gospel Duets With Treasured Friends Brenda Lee's long-anticipated spiritual album with her pals in the recording industry finally hit stores Tuesday about two years after she began the project. The CD features Dolly on "This Old House," Emmylou Harris on "Jesus Loves Me," Alison Krauss on "In The Garden," Martina McBride on "Uncloudy Day" and more. Get your copy here!
New Survey On Possible Upcoming Releases Stephen Munns, the guy who headed up the project to re-issue several of Dolly's most popular albums on CD for the first time last month in the U.K. (Burlap & Satin/Real Love, Great Balls Of Fire/Dolly, Dolly, Dolly and All I Can Do/New Harvest . . . First Gathering) has teamed up with British fans Joe Skelly and Mike Creed to launch the Dolly fan message board Dolly Part'ners UK, the first project of which is a survey of which albums fans most want to see re-issued next to give some ammunition to attempts to convince SonyBMG to release more out-of-print Dolly. Visit the site here and choose "Polls and Voting" to access the surveys.
Another Review Online music magazine Angry Country this week offers a review of the re-issued edition of Dolly's classic Jolene. Take a read here.
Dollywood, Here I Come! Your webmaster leaves Wednesday for Tennessee to cover Dolly's appearances over the weekend at the annual season opening of Dollywood. Although I'm supposed to have Internet access while there, I'm not sure how often in coming days I will have the opportunity to update the site. So I wanted to let everyone know and remind you of the various activities going on. In an appearance not open to the public, Dolly will with the media on Friday morning celebrate the official opening of the new $17.5 million Mystery Mine roller coaster and meet the recent charity auction winners who will be taking the first official ride on the coaster. She is expected to make additional public appearances on the park grounds on both Friday and Saturday, although details of when and where are not expected to be released in advance. Friday evening, though, features the 22nd Annual Dolly Parton Parade down the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, kicking off at 6 p.m. Check back here in the days after the festivities for complete coverage.
'Laughing, & Drinking, & Having A Party!' Also this weekend, fans will be treated to the "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party. Advance tickets are available here (the event is currently listed under the headliners' names, "Jenna & The Joneses," but that's the correct item to choose if you want to get tickets ahead of time). Things start at the venue, The World Grotto at 16 Market Square in Knoxville, with a silent auction of Dolly-related memorabilia to benefit the Knox County Chapter Imagination Library beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, during which time you will also be able to view the exhibit of Dolly-inspired artwork currently on display through April. Local blues/funk/jam band Jenna & The Joneses take the stage at 9 p.m., followed by the main event kicking off at 11 p.m. with an array of singers performing Dolly's music (including her niece Rebecca Seaver) and a rambunctious Dolly look-a-like contest, which will be judged by several of Dolly's kin (nieces Jennifer, Jada and Heidi with cousin Jamie). After that, Jenna & The Joneses will return to the stage to entertain for the remainder of the night. In addition to the advance tickets, tickets will be sold at the door including a special $25 VIP pass which allows access to the Zen Room, where the performers and Dolly's kin will be hanging out. In addition, for those on the computer or around their radios at noon on Friday, event organizer Christopher Hamblin will be on The Blue Plate Special on WDVX performing Dolly music to promote the party. Look for a report and photos from the event here in the days afterward!
April 10: 'Country Weekly' Features Some Dolly Dolly shows up in several places in the April 23 issue of Country Weekly on newsstands this week. A photo of her meeting with American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler appears, and she's one of the choices in a new poll for country music's most beautiful woman (you may vote for that online here). The issue features a review of the re-issue of her classic Coat Of Many Colors, giving it four-and-a-half out of five stars, and she is included in several questions in the annual readers' survey for which artists, stories, etc. people want more of in future issues (that survey should also be available online, but I didn't see it yet on their website).
Dancing With Dolly Thanks to Dennis, Dana and Doug for alerting me that Dolly's "Sandy's Song" made a repeat appearance Monday on Dancing With The Stars. The song was used for a waltz by Heather Mills and Jonathan Roberts. The reality series had previously used the song for a dance either last season or the season before.
A Marked Woman Dolly gets a mention from London's The Sunday Times as one of several female celebrities to have been "inked." Read more about the ladies and their tattoos here.
Fan On TV British uberfan Joe Skelly of DOLLY PART'NERS UK gets a national audience on Tuesday with a spot on U.K. breakfast channel GMTV with a feature on him and his Dolly collection. See some shots here.
Latest Library Expansions Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program continues to expand, with new chapters in Fayette County, Pa., and Middlebury, Vt., profiled in their local papers, The Uniontown Herald Standardhere and Burlington Free Presshere.
A Real Fan Birthday Treat My friend Paul Richmond sent in some shots from his recent birthday celebration, where his pal Maria Fanning surprised him with a sculpted cake in the shape of Dolly. Take a look here!
April 9: 'Very Best' Back Down Again After a return to the top 10 for a second week in Britain, the compilation album The Very Best Of Dolly Parton falls back out of the single-digits this week. The CD, which was her first-ever top 10 album on the U.K. pop tally, dips six to No. 14.
Contest Winners Announced Thanks to those who entered the Dollymania contest for free tickets to Saturday night's "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party at The World Grotto in Knoxville. The winners selected Sunday night are Jonathan Robinson and Randy Trout. Each will receive two free tickets for the big party, which promises to be a blast!
'Details' Praises Dolly I'm told that the re-issue of Dolly's classic Jolene gets a review in the April edition of Details magazine, noting: "Dolly Parton has a big heart and a big ol' bosom, two qualities that often eclipse the fact that she's also a gifted songwriter. Her big hit, 'I Will Always Love You' - a twangy country ballad later disemboweled by Whitney Houston - came off 'Jolene.' But the album's real magnum opus is the title cut. The White Stripes, Reba McEntire, and countless others have recorded versions of Parton's teary plea. None rings quite like the first." Thanks, Jay!
Doing Better Than Jessica Simpson Came across this clip and thought I'd pass it along. Apparently, Fergie was a recent guest on The Charlotte Church Show and joined its hostess in a fairly good cover of Dolly's "9 To 5" as that episode's finale. See it here. Several of the reader comments on the video recalled Jessica Simpson's flubbed attempt at the song during Dolly's Kennedy Center Honors a few months back, with some suggesting Fergie should have been the one picked to belt out the tune.
More From The Mine Thanks to Tony for sending in another YouTube link for video from the new Mystery Mine ride at Dollywood. These girls snuck their video camera on for one of the preview rides given off and on in recent days to work out any final kinks before the massive roller coaster permanently opens Friday with its first "official" riders. You can't see much of the inside workings, but you get a feel for what goes on in the outside portions here.
April 7: Scottish Pics Posted Thanks to Amanda from Scotland for sending in a few images from one of Dolly's recent sold-out Glasgow concerts. They've been added to that section of the site here.
Even though she was in the country performing in recent days, sales dropped slightly for the compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton in Ireland. The album dips two this week to No. 8 on the Irish pop albums chart.
Contest Reminder Don't forget to enter here through Sunday for free tickets to the April 14 "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party at The World Grotto in Knoxville. There haven't been many entries, so odds are very, very good for winning!
April 6: 'Very Best' Still Hot The Dolly compilation CD The Very Best Of Dolly Parton continues to drop in northern Europe but still remains quite high. The disc, which had peaked at No. 1 on the Swedish pop chart, falls two to No. 4, it was announced Thursday. Over in Denmark, where it had peaked at No. 2 pop, the collection also drops two to No. 4 for the week.
Another Set Of Concert Pics Thanks to Rachel for sending in some of her photos of Dolly from the recent Dublin stop on her now-completed European tour. View them with the other galleries from the tour in that section of the site here.
U.S. Chart Updates On the charts stateside, Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring his No. 1 duet with Dolly, "When I Get Where I'm Going," dips three to No. 15 in its 85th week on the country albums chart, Billboard revealed Thursday in the April 14 numbers. The disc falls 13 to No. 100 pop and 101 comprehensive while inching up one to No. 23 on the Canadian country albums tally. Martina McBride's Timeless, with the Dolly collaboration "I Still Miss Someone," remains steady at No. 63 country in its 76th chart week. Kenny Rogers's 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," is down two to No. 49 country in its 63rd week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, featuring Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," returns to the bluegrass albums chart for a 44th week, re-entering the 15-position list at No. 13 after sitting out one week. Tim McGraw's Let It Go debuts at No. 1 pop and country with 325,000 copies sold in its first week, while Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts dips one to No. 2 country and two to No. 17 pop in its 72nd chart week.
Parade Theme Revealed There will certainly be lots o' green around next week when the 22nd Annual Dolly Parton Parade hits Pigeon Forge, Tenn., in observance of the annual season opening of Dollywood. The parade theme has been announced as "Celebrate Ireland," in recognition of the Irish headliners for the park's Festival of Nations this year. The parade begins at 6 p.m. Friday, April 13, near traffic light No. 7 on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, ending near traffic light No. 3. For more information, visit the city's tourism bureau here.
Dove Performances Getting Repeat Dolly will be making at least one, and possibly two, appearances later this month on the Gospel Music Channel. The cable and satellite channel will feature a 20-hour The Best Of The Doves Marathon starting at 7 a.m. April 22 highlighting 200 performances from 37 years of the Dove Awards for Christian music, including Dolly. She has performed on the ceremony twice: performing "He's Alive" in 1990 and providing harmony vocals for hostess Kathy Lee Gifford in 2000, although the network didn't reveal whether just one or both of the songs will be included in the marathon.
Fan's Poetry Gets Noticed Dolly fan Stephen Powers, who has chronicled his travels to Dollywood in the soon-to-be-published book of poetry The Followers Tale, is profiled in The Advance Titan, the student newspaper at The University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, his alma mater. Read it here.
Contest Clue Offered There hasn't been much response to the contest to win tickets to the "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party in Knoxville a week from Saturday, so maybe the questions asked were too hard :) So here's a clue: The answers to the first two questions are easily found in Dolly's 1994 autobiography, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, while the answer to the third is available on this site's "Awards" page. Enter here for a chance to win a pair of complimentary tickets to the April 14 event at The World Grotto which will feature a silent auction of Dolly memorabilia, a night of wonderful performances of Dolly music, a Dolly look-a-like contest, a Dolly-themed art exhibit (which opens this Friday) and more! Entries will be accepted through Sunday.
April 5: New Dublin Shots Available Thanks to Diana from The Netherlands, who sent in some gorgeous shots from Dolly's Monday concert in Dublin, including the image at left. (She tells me she missed Dolly's stop in her own nation earlier on the European tour because she was out of the country, so she decided to go to Ireland to see her. That's a dedicated fan!) See her images in that section of the site here.
The reviews started coming out on Wednesday from the tour closer Tuesday in Belfast. The Irish Independent pointed out her songwriting prowess and ability on a variety of instruments, adding that her best instrument is her stellar voice, although she "has a tendency to over-egg her vocals." It repeated the complaint that many critics have offered during the tour that she talks too much between songs, telling stories focusing mostly on her upbringing in Tennessee, but concluded that the songs are good enough "to excuse the chatter." The reviewer added about her sometimes-outrageous appearance: "Parton proves that dressing as a human lampshade is forgivable if you've got songs that could give a marble statue goose-bumps." Read the complete review here. The Belfast Telegraphhere focused more on audience reaction than an actual review of the show, offering several quotes collected from fans in attendance before the show.
And Dolly's compilation disc The Very Best Of Dolly Parton slides one digit this week in Norway, falling to No. 4 on the pop albums chart, down from its peak at No. 3.
'Rhinestone' Director Dies Rhinestone director Robert "Bob" Clark, best known for directing the holiday film A Christmas Carol, was killed in an automobile accident in California on Wednesday, according to reports. He was 67. The crash, which also took the life of his 22-year-old son, was caused by a drunk driver who struck their vehicle, according to authorities. In addition to the Christmas classic and Dolly's film with Sylvester Stallone (which has achieved something of cult classic status), Clark directed such movies as Porky's, Black Christmas, Baby Geniuses and Loose Cannons. Read more from the Associated Press here.
Charlie's Book With Dolly Is Out Dolly's classic CD re-issues weren't the only projects released Tuesday featuring her. Charlie Daniels saw his book Growing Up Country: What Makes Country Life Country hit shelves as well this week. Daniels edited the collection of essays about rural life from 60 celebrities including Dolly, President Jimmy Carter, Toby Keith and more. Get your copy here!
More On Mercer Honor The Associated Press on Wednesday picked up the story about Dolly's selection for the Johnny Mercer Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Read their version here.
April 4: Dolly To Receive Top Songwriting Honor Dolly will receive this year's prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from The Songwriters Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday. The award each year recognizes a songwriter who has previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame and whose body of work has been deemed "of such high quality and impact that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer," founder of the Hall of Fame. Previous recipients of the honor have included Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Paul Simon, Stephen Sondheim and Sammy Cahn. In the official announcement of the honor, the Hall of Fame stated: "Dolly Parton exemplifies the term 'songwriter's songwriter.' She is greatly respected and admired by her peers and fans alike, both for her talent and her famously witty personality. Her songs have a straight-from -the-heart appeal combined with homespun poetry. The Songwriters Hall of Fame is proud to bestow this prestigious award upon this one-of-a-kind songwriter." Dolly will accept the award at the Hall's 2007 awards dinner, scheduled for June 7 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York. Tickets, which begin $1,000 each, are available from 212-573-6933. Dolly was inducted into the national Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. Read a UPI story on the announcement here and a piece from E! Online here.
Dolly: Safety Forced Cancellation Thanks to Dolly's staff for providing her complete comments regarding the recent cancellation of her concert in County Cork, Ireland, which provide the greatest amount of detail released thus far on why technical difficulties with the rigging forced her to miss the show: The problems presented a major safety hazard which could not be corrected quickly enough to allow the show to go on, she explained. Here is what she had to say in its entirety:
"To my dear fans in the County Cork area. I was here, ready and excited to do the show but was advised late in the day that there were mechanical and technical problems too severe to be solved in time to get the show up safely. Safety is the most important for the audience as well as the performers as I am sure you would agree. I was not able to stay in Cork because of prior commitments and obligations and shows in Dublin and Belfast. No one could be more disappointed and hurt than I am. I promise to try to make it up to you somehow someday.
Just know that 'I will always love you.'
Dolly" I'm told Dolly again apologized for the cancellation during Tuesday night's tour closer in Belfast, reiterating that she hopes she can make it up to the fans somehow. The Belfast Telegraph also printed part of her statement in its story here previewing Tuesday's concert there.
Tour Ends On High Note After a slew of sold out shows across several countries, Dolly's European tour came to an end Tuesday night with her second show in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which I'm told was spectacular. "Smoky Mountain Memories" returned to the set list, as did "We Irish," which she used to close out the first half of the show. After "I Dreamed About Elvis," glittery confetti fell from the ceiling, which she didn't appear to expect. With a shocked expression, she plucked pieces of it from her hair and cleavage. Introducing "Coat Of Many Colors," she again spoke of how she thinks of her late mother every time she performs the song and how much she misses her. And after "Shine" she mentioned how much the song reminded her of "This Little Light Of Mine," which the audience spontaneously began to sing, prompting her to join in for a chorus. She said she was certainly looking forward to heading back home and seeing her husband again for the first time in over a month. Some fans, though, were certain to have been disappointed that she did not acquiesce to the very public pleas in recent days for her to use the venue's big screens during the concert. Thanks, Ryan and Gerard!
After two weeks back on the chart, Dolly's 2002 CD Halos & Horns falls off the 30-position British independent labels albums chart this week, down from No. 21 the past couple of weeks.
If you missed out on getting some Dolly gear at the concerts, tour merchandise has been added to the BandMad store here, although they're quite pricey.
Library Show Performs In NE Tenn. If you're in the area around Blountville, Tenn., check out the performance of My Lucky Day by The Penguin Players with Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program. The troupe performs a stage musical based on the book from Dolly's library project featuring original songs written by Dolly for the show. The performances will be held April 9-11 at the auditorium on the main campus of Northeast State Community College, The Kingsport Times-News reports here.
Win Tickets To 'Night Of 1,000 Dollies' Are you planning to enjoy the "Night Of 1,000 Dollies" party April 14 in Knoxville? Want to come without paying the $10 admission ($8 for those dressed in Dolly or Dolly-related costume)? Well, thanks to the party organizers and Dollymania, you have a chance to come for free! Click here for the contest page to learn how you can win! Entries will be accepted through Sunday. Following a 9 p.m. concert by Jenna and the Joneses, the party, which starts at 10 p.m. that Saturday night at the World Grotto in Knoxville's Market Square, will feature many Dolly impersonators competing for prizes and performances of Dolly songs by Christina Horn, mezzo-soprano Candra Marshall and Dolly's niece Rebecca Seaver, among others, plus some appearances by some other members of "Dolly kin." There will be a silent auction at 8 p.m. of donated Dolly items to benefit the Knox County chapter of her Imagination Library. A related exhibit of art devoted to Dolly opens at the World Grotto this Friday and remains up for the month (including some pieces by your own webmaster). Learn more about the event here.
April 3: Beautiful In Belfast, Apologizes For Cancellation I'm told Dolly put on an "absolutely brilliant" show Monday night in Dublin, Erie, giving a "flawless" performance with highlights including "The Grass Is Blue" and "Little Sparrow." A special thanks to Darren for sending in a set of photos from the concert which have been added to that section of the site here including the image at left! Dolly's wildly successful European tour comes to a close Tuesday in Belfast with her second sold out show there.
The tour is ending with a bit of controversy, though, as many fans who've attended the recent shows have been complaining about the lack of using the large screens available at the venues during Dolly's concerts, saying those seated in the back of the venues cannot see her on stage without the screens. Although one Belfast newspaper, Belfast Today, gushed over Friday's show in a glowingly positive review here Monday, another paper in the city, The Belfast Telegraph, focused on the fan complaints here. And one of BBC Radio Ulster's top-rated programs, The Stephen Nolan Show, on Monday devoted nearly a full half-hour on the air to calls from irate fans expressing their displeasure at the screen situation. Listen to it here (fast-forward to about an hour and 10 minutes into the program). Thanks, Suzanne.
Meanwhile, a few more details have come to light regarding yet another controversy on the tour, the abrupt cancellation of Saturday's County Cork, Erie, engagement. According to Tuesday's The Irish Independenthere, Dolly on Monday issued a statement apologizing to her fans for the cancellation, which took place just a few hours before the curtain was to have risen on the show. She told her Irish fans "I will always love you," and "I will make it up to you somehow, someday." Although very little information has been released about the cancellation other than the promoter's assertion that it was "technical difficulties" with the rigging, the newspaper adds that the promoters reportedly hired an outside company to set up the stage rigging and they apparently encountered problems setting it up which resulted in the cancellation.
Several clips from her U.K. concerts have been added to video sharing site YouTube by fans who recorded them (albeit illegally) during her recent shows. View them here.
Speaking of the U.K., new fan site Extreme Dolly asked me to let everyone know they are in the process of setting up a printed newsletter on Dolly that they're describing as an unofficial fan club for British fans only. Visit here for more information.
Discs Come Out Tuesday Don't forget three of Dolly's greatest classics hit stores on Tuesday in the U.S., a month after their release in Europe. Each disc features special bonus tracks in addition to the original, digitally remastered albums. They are Coat Of Many Colors (with bonus songs Dolly's original acoustic demo recording of "My Blue Tears," B-side single "Just As Good As Gone," the previously unreleased "The Tender Touch Of Love" and a previously unreleased 1971 recording of "My Heart Started Breaking," which she re-recorded four years later for Dolly), My Tennessee Mountain Home (with the bonus track of "Sacred Memories" from Love Is Like A Butterfly) and Jolene (with previously unreleased tracks "Cracker Jack," "Last Night's Lovin'," "Another Woman's Man" and "Barbara On Your Mind," the latter of which is a 1974 version of a song she would re-record in 1982 for Heartbreak Express).
April 2: Dolly Cancels Irish Show In what must have been a blow to Dolly's Irish fans, her concert in County Cork, Erie, was cancelled Saturday just hours before she was to have taken the stage. The concert promoter blamed the problem on "technical difficulties" with the show's rigging without releasing further details. See a report here. The rigging has worked without problem at all other venues on the tour thus far and no such problems are anticipated at the final two venues on the tour this week, so the technical problems were limited to something only at this one venue. Refunds will be given to ticket holders at their points of purchase. Dolly's sold out European tour concludes with concerts in Dublin on Monday and Belfast on Tuesday.
Special thanks to Jonathan for sending in some shots from her recent Birmingham, England, concert and Lisa for images from Manchester which have been added to the tour galleries here.
'Very Best' Back In Top 10 Likely thanks to the publicity surrounding her concerts across the U.K., Dolly's first-ever top 10 pop album in Britain has returned to its peak position this week. The Very Best Of Dolly Parton returns to No. 8 on the U.K. pop albums tally in Monday's numbers, it was announced.
2 Million Strong And Growing Thanks to your readership, the front page of Dollymania over the weekend welcomed its 2 millionth visitor since it launched in October 1998. Presently, the site welcomes about 40,000 visitors each month who in March accessed a total of more than 400,000 pages on the site.