April 17: Ice Cream Sells Out On Second Try Jeni's ice cream on Thursday tried again to sell Dolly's special Strawberry Pretzel Pie flavor to benefit her Imagination Library charity after their website famously failed the previous week, preventing more than half of the limited edition pints from being sold before the site became completely unusable after multiple crashes over a two-hour period. With technical improvements, the rebuilt website on Thursday still had trouble handling the massive traffic, giving many users error messages that prevented them from being able to complete checking out with their orders before the 5,000 remaining pints sold out in about two minutes. Then later in the day the store accepted pre-orders for 15,000 additional pints to be made over coming months and shipped in August, and those sold out in about two hours. Announcing the sell out, the store said on social media: "Someday, someone will write a country song about the ice cream that broke the internet."
Carlile Book No. 1, Audiobook With Dolly Cover Coming Brandi Carlile's memoir Broken Horses, which features a couple of stories about Dolly and for which she held an online conversation with Dolly as part of her "virtual book tour," debuts this week as the No. 1 nonfiction entry on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Also, Random House Audio has announced that an audiobook reading of the book will be released here Tuesday that features Carlile not only reading the text but singing "stripped-down, solo renditions" of 30 songs she references in the book including covers of Dolly's "Coat Of Many Colors," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Elton John's "Your Song," Tanya Tucker's "Bring My Flowers Now" and many of her own songs, including "The Story," which Dolly performed on Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story – An Album to Benefit War Child .
PBS Profiles Dolly Among Trailblazing Women Friday The PBS Newshour series Beyond The Canvas this weekend profiles five "trailblazing women" with segments on the half-hour program about Dolly, Loretta Lynn, Julie Andrews, actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith and artist Carrie Mae Weems. Most stations premiered the show Friday night with scheduled repeats in off hours on Saturday, Sunday, and/or Monday, so check local listings for times and channels.
Dolly's Actors Fund Dress Is From 2019 CMA Red Carpet Doyle Auctions has issued its catalog for its Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square star Christine Baranski's upcoming charity auction to benefit The Actors Fund, revealing what Dolly's contribution is. She has gifted the silver beaded Jackson Lowell gown she wore on the red carpet when she co-hosted the 2019 CMA Awards. The dress is estimated to sell for between $2,000 and $3,000. The auction starts at 10 a.m. Eastern April 28. View the item here.
ACM Adds Dolly As Presenter Sunday Dolly on Friday was announced as a presenter for Sunday night's ACM Awards, airing at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS and Paramount+. Other presenters are Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Amy Grant, Leslie Jordan, Martina McBride, Darius Rucker and Clay Walker.
Dolly Helps Out Covenant House In Second Year Covenant House has announced its second annual virtual Night of Covenant House Stars at 8 p.m. May 17 and that it once again will be headlined by Dolly alongside other stars including Rachel Brosnahan, Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep. Register here.
U.K. Chart Updates Overseas, Greenfields: The Gibbs Brothers Songbook (Vol. 1) slips 13 spots to No. 87 overall sales in its 14th week in the U.K. and 14 places to No. 81 physical sales, dipping two at No. 8 Americana. On the U.K. top 100 pop albums tally, Very Best Of Dolly Parton Vol. 1 declines nine to No. 95, while dropping 16 to No. 92 streaming and sliding three to No. 10 on the British country compilations chart. Elsewhere on the country compilation tally, The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe gains two to No. 4, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) rises five to No. 6, The Essential Dolly Parton loses five to No. 20, Linda Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) inches down one to No. 13, and Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) inches up four No. 12.
Dollywood Eases Mask Policy Dollywood last week quietly changed its Covid policies to allow maskless guests outdoors as long as six-feet social distancing can be maintained between groups. Masks will continue to be required at all times for employees and for guests at the entry gates, in queue lines, and when indoors except while eating and drinking. In addition, while health questions will still be asked at entry, temperature checks will no longer be done. The park's guidelines state the changes are in line with current CDC guidance. Read more about the revised policy at WBIR here.
April 14: Dolly Ice Cream Returns Thursday, Additional Run Coming Jeni's on Tuesday announced that Dolly's Strawberry Pretzel Pie ice cream will return online for sales at noon Eastern Thursday on the company's website, which presumably has been rebuilt and upgraded to withstand the traffic. The site crashed last week when the limited edition flavor was first released, leaving fans upset and their online store unavailable for several days. The boutique chain sent less than 1,000 pints to its 40 stores nationwide, which quickly sold out, and intended to sell the remaining more than 9,000 pints online for national shipping. With the website issues, less than 4,000 were sold before the site became completely unavailable. The remaining 5,000 pints will be offered online beginning at noon Thursday – with a two-pint limit on this flavor and four-pint minimum purchase, meaning you will need to choose two additional pints of other flavors in order for them to be mailed to you. Then at 3 p.m. Thursday, with the currently-available Dolly pints presumably sold out, the site will begin taking pre-orders for a second run of 15,000 pints that will be shipped in August. The company said the delay in a second run is because "our limited flavors always include ingredients that are custom-made, hard to find, or time-consuming to make. For Strawberry Pretzel Pie, we made as much as we could at the time, and we'll be spending the coming months making gluten-free pretzel streusel from scratch and sourcing high-quality strawberries so that the next batch will be every bit as delicious as the first. And we'll be making as much as we possibly can." Proceeds from the special ice cream benefit Dolly's Imagination Library charity.
'Christmas On The Square' Wins Dolly Fourth Christopher Award Dolly on Tuesday was announced as the recipient of her fourth Christopher Award, which since 1949 has celebrated artists whose work "affirms the highest values of the human spirit" and reflects the Christopher motto: "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." In the television, cable, and streaming category, Netflix's Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square was one of six honorees alongside ABC News and Nightline: The Children of Auschwitz, Kareen Abdul-Jabbar's Black Patriots: Heroes of the American Revolution on History Channel, CBS News for the Covid special Bravery and Hope: 7 Days on the Front Line, and PBS for Broken Places and extraORDINARY: The Bill Atkinson Story. Dolly had previously been honored in the same category for Netflix's Dolly Parton's Heartstrings: These Old Bones last year and NBC's Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors and Dolly Parton's Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love.
Leslie Jordan Album Debuts On U.S. Charts Leslie Jordan's Company's Comin', featuring a Dolly duet, debuts on the April 17 Billboard charts at No. 35 current albums, No. 68 overall sales, and No. 13 Christian albums, it was revealed Tuesday. Ultimate Dolly Parton slips two to No. 47 country albums, while Dolly and Zach Williams' "There Was Jesus" dips three to No. 16 Christian streaming songs and one to No. 18 Christian digital song sales.
P.E.I. Takes Library Provincewide In Canada Dolly welcomed Prince Edward Island this week as the first province in Canada to take her Imagination Library early childhood literacy program province-wide with a video. The program is statewide in several U.S. states. Learn more from the CBC here.
Dolly Comes In Third In Presidential Poll A poll listed Dolly in third place among female celebrities Americans would support running for President of the United States. Angelina Jolie came in first with 30 percent, followed by Oprah Winfrey at 27 percent, then Dolly at 12 percent. For men, Dewayne Johnson was first with 46 percent, followed by Tom Hanks at 22 percent and Will Smith at 21 percent. Read more here.
April 10: Brandi Carlile Talks 'Songteller,' Uncle Bill, God With Dolly
Musician Brandi Carlile on Thursday night hosted an insightful, inspirational, and moving conversation with Dolly, which will remain available for streaming rental for two weeks here. She focused mostly on stories from Dolly's recent book Songteller, but Dolly asked a few questions about Brandi's upbringing and her new memoir Broken Horses. The discussion also ventured into remembrances of Dolly's Uncle Bill Owens, who passed away on Wednesday, and faith and spirituality, which prompted Brandi to thank Dolly on behalf of many of her LGBTQIA+ fans for helping reconnect them to their faith, explaining in a clip she shared on social media afterward here and in the media player above: "I wanted to tell you that like one of the things I've learned since writing this book is how many other LGBTQIA people, how many other queer people, are coming to me and telling me that they have such a similar trauma around religion. A lot of the fear and the imagery and that kind of dark stuff you're talking about has traumatized so many of us because we've always been told you know from a really young age about eternal damnation and stuff. And I mean, I think to say it's a turn-off is been it's an understatement because a turn-off means you can ignore it, you know, you can walk away from it, but there's something about faith, there's something about God that you know innately is there. I always say it's how we know we're not algae, you know. It's, I don't know how to name it half the time but I know it's there and other people do so a lot of people who are sort of prejudged by something about us that's innate, it's unsettling. And what's beautiful about that is when you are unsettled by something, the only way to overcome it is to come closer to it. And I've really felt that doubt has led me to faith just like questions lead me to answers, you know. And my spiritual trauma and my past around faith rejection has allowed me to be close to God in a way that I now see as definitely a gift and not a burden. And the way that you see and the way that you talk about the Lord, the way you talk about faith is, inspires me more than any Sunday School class I ever took. And I just want you to know that. And also I'm not alone. There's a lot of people like me that are drawn to you and love you with all their hearts because you have been quite a light at the end of a lot of our tunnels. So, let me just speak on everyone's behalf and say thank you for that."
Dolly's Ice Cream Flavor Breaks The Internet The release of Dolly's Strawberry Pretzel Pie ice cream limited edition from Jeni's on Thursday broke the retailer's website. Fans tried for two and a half hours to purchase the ice cream online faced with crashing pages and multiple reloads and error messages. Some orders went through but most attempts were unsuccessful. Finally, after two and a half hours, the retailer shut down its online ordering system. Its 40 local stores saw lines out of the door when they opened from fans buying the few pints shipped to them for in-person sales but also received free square posters for the flavor when they went in person. Initially expecting to have the website issues resolved later in the day, the retailer apologized for the failure, explaining it was not sold out and they would get the site back up and running soon. By the end of the day they conceded it would not be back up that day and promised 48-hour notice via email and social media to fans before it is offered for sale again in coming days. That notice included a disclosure that they had tested their website for significantly increased traffic and thought it would be able to handle it, but when it hit 50 times their normal orders it collapsed. On Friday, they updated fans that the revised online ordering system won't be back up yet this weekend so they will have to wait longer. The snafu garnered significant media attention from national outlets including FOX News and USA Today. Read the recap from NBC's Todayhere.
U.K. Chart Updates Overseas, Greenfields: The Gibbs Brothers Songbook (Vol. 1) gains 13 places to No. 74 overall sales in its 13th week in the U.K. and eight spots to No. 67 physical sales, holding steady at No. 6 Americana. On the U.K. top 100 pop albums tally, Very Best Of Dolly Parton Vol. 1 re-enters the top 100 at No. 86, while gaining 11 to No. 77 streaming and sliding three to No. 7 on the British country compilations chart. Elsewhere on the country compilation tally, The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe holds steady at No. 5, Emmylou Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 1 (with two Dolly covers, one track with Dolly harmony and one track with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) rises two to No. 11, The Essential Dolly Parton loses four to No. 15, Linda Ronstadt's Original Album Series (featuring one Dolly cover and one track with Dolly harmony) inches down two to No. 12, and Harris's Original Album Series: Volume 2 (featuring one track with Dolly harmony and two tracks with Trio harmony by Dolly and Linda Ronstadt) re-enters the top 20 at No. 16.
April 8: In Memoriam: Uncle Bill Owens
I've lost my beloved Uncle Bill Owens. I knew my heart would break when he passed, and it did. I'll start this eulogy...
Dolly's beloved maternal uncle Bill E. Owens, who encouraged and enabled her early music career and with whom she co-wrote dozens of songs during her first several years in Nashville, died Wednesday at age 85, she revealed on social media that day. He will be buried in the Catons Chapel Cemetery in Sevierville, Tenn., where most of Dolly's family is interred.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Tammy Styles, and is survived by his wife, Sandra Madden; son, Kim Owens; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brother, Alden Owens; and numerous nieces and nephews. Condolences may be left at Bolton Funeral Home's website here.
During their early years in Nashville, Dolly co-wrote most of her songs with Bill including 1966 BMI Song Award winner "Put It Off Until Tomorrow," which was a top 10 hit for Bill Phillips with uncredited harmony by Dolly and quickly became a country standard, as well as Phillips' follow-up "Friends Tell Friends," also with uncredited harmony from Dolly. Some of the tracks they co-wrote include the Skeeter Davis hit "Fuel To The Flame" and "Burning" from the film Straight Talk as well as most of her Monument recordings and several of her early RCA songs.
He appeared in the Wild Possums Band in Dolly's film Rhinestone and performed for many years at Dollywood in her kinfolks show until he retired in after the 2012 season. In 2009, Dolly singled out his efforts to restore the American Chestnut Tree to Appalachia at the 75th anniversary re-dedication of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and when asked later by this website what that recognition meant to him, he answered simply: "Best day of my life . . . I was speechless." Dolly then interjected: "Bill is kind of shy. He can talk a lot if he's performing, when he's singing. But he gets all flustered when somebody wants to acknowledge him and pay him any kind of accolades. But anyhow I'm proud of you and think it's wonderful work that you've done."
A couple of days after that ceremony, Dolly recognized him again at the theme park and they participated in a tree planting ceremony together. Video from that event is available here or in the media player below.
Dolly remembered Bill in her social media posting here:
"I've lost my beloved Uncle Bill Owens. I knew my heart would break when he passed, and it did. I'll start this eulogy by saying I wouldn't be here if he hadn't been there. He was there... there in my young years to encourage me to keep playing my guitar, to keep writing my songs, to keep practicing my singing. And he was there to help build my confidence standing on stage where he was always standing behind me or close beside me with his big ol' red Gretch guitar.
"He was there to take me around to all of the local shows, got me my first job on the "Cas Walker Show." He took me back-&-forth to Nashville through the years, walked up-&-down the streets with me, knocking on doors to get me signed up to labels or publishing companies.
"It's really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success. But I can tell you for sure that I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot.
"Uncle Bill was so many things. He loved the music, loved to play, loved his guitar and loved to write and sing. He wrote great songs, at least 800 of them through the years. We wrote several songs together, the biggest one being "Put It Off Until Tomorrow." We won our first big award on that one back in 1966. It was the BMI Song of the Year.
"He wrote songs that were recorded by Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs, Kris Kristofferson and many others. He also traveled the road with many big artists playing his guitar, including playing on stage with me in my early years in Nashville.
"Uncle Bill worked at Dollywood from the time we opened in the family show for many years. He was funny, friendly and generous. He always had a kind word for everybody and gave good advice to young people starting in the business.
"He joined forces with Dollywood, The American Chestnut Foundation, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and The American Eagle Foundation to bring back the endangered chestnut tree to the Great Smoky Mountain area. That was his passion.
"He also championed the cause of protecting the natural environment at Dollywood in 1986. During that time, he took it upon himself, with his wife Sandy, to plant 70,000 trees on the Park property.
"I bet a lot of our own relatives don't even know all of the great things that Uncle Bill did behind the scenes through his life. But the greatest thing he ever did for me was to help me see my dreams come true and for that I will be forever grateful. I'm sure that Uncle Bill's friends, fans, his wife Sandy, his kids, grandkids and great grandkids will join me when I say that we will always love you. Rest in peace, Uncle Bill.
New Dolly Duet Coming April 21 With Janelle Arthur American Idol Top Five Finalist Janelle Arthur, who got her start as a child performer portraying Dolly in her life story musical at Dollywood, announced Wednesday she will release a new single April 21 as a duet with Dolly called "Hand Me Downs." She posted a video from Dolly to social media here revealing the collaboration and a contest open through May 5 here to sign up for the song in your Spotify stream and be entered to win two nights at DreamMore Resort, two tickets to Dollywood, a $50 UberEats voucher, a $100 Frontier Airlines gift card and breakfast with Janelle herself.
Jeni's Ice Cream Reminder For Thursday Don't forget Dolly's Strawberry Pretzel Pie ice cream is released Thursday morning at Jeni's stores and at noon Eastern Thursday online for nationwide mail delivery. Company officials confirmed that although the purchase limit on Dolly's flavor, which benefits Imagination Library, is two pints, the minimum four-pint order for shipping will remain in effect, which means you will have to buy two additional pints of other flavors to order. The 10,000-pint limited edition is expected to sell out quickly. And Thursday night her streaming interview with Brandi Carlile is scheduled at 8 p.m. Eastern to promote Carlile's new memoir. Tickets are available here.
Dolly Covid Treatment Gets U.S. Government Order The U.S. government has announced an order for 700,000 doses of a Covid treatment created at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that was initially funded with Dolly's $1 million contribution. The monoclonal antibody cocktail further developed commercially by AstraZeneca is a treatment for serious hospitalizations due to Covid-19 and joins two other antibody cocktails currently being used in treatments in the U.S. The new treatment is in late-stage clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe and the purchase was made anticipating emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration in coming months. Dolly's gift also funded initial research into the vaccine that became the Moderna shot and several other potential Covid treatments studied at the facility.
RuPaul Added To Dolly Mural In N.C. A popular Dolly mural near Beauty Parade Hair Salon in West Asheville, N.C., got a makeover this week with the addition of drag icon RuPaul to the painting. Check it out here.
Tennessee Assembly Recognizes Dolly The Tennessee House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution honoring Dolly as a Tennessee icon (although not to erect a statue of her on the Capitol grounds as had previously been proposed since she asked them not to do that) as well as a bill that would add Dolly's recording of "Amazing Grace" as one of the official Tennessee State Songs. The song bill still needs Senate approval before being submitted to the Governor to become law.
U.S. Chart Updates The April 10 Billboard: charts released Tuesday see Ultimate Dolly Parton inch back up one to No. 45 country albums, while Dolly and Zach Williams' "There Was Jesus" loses three to No. 13 Christian streaming songs and seven to No. 17 Christian digital song sales.
In Memoriam: Walter Olkewicz Character actor Walter Olkewicz, who played the recurring Bubba character in the Dixie's Diner skits on Dolly's 1987-88 variety show and was best known as the bartender in Twin Peaks and oil refinery worker on Grace Under Fire, died this week. He was 72. Here is a clip of him acting with Dolly and Barbara Mandrell in a skit from Dolly's show.
April 5: Dolly Gets Second Covid Vaccine Shot
Dolly gets a (second) dose of her own medicine.
Thank you Dr. Naji Abumrad, Andrea Calhoun and Heather O'Dell of Vanderbilt Health ??
Dolly on Friday took her second dose of the Moderna vaccine she helped fund with her $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, so she should have maximum immunity to Covid-19 in about two weeks. As pictured on her social media here or embedded above, Dr. Naji Abumrad, who administered her first shot, oversaw administration of this one with Andrea Calhoun and Heather O'Dell of Vanderbilt Health.
Dolly Wins Movieguide's Grace Prize Dolly on Sunday won the Grace Prize for Most Inspiring Performance from Movieguide for her role as Angel in Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square. She accepted the award via Zoom during the ceremony broadcast on Reelz and thanked everyone involved in the Netflix film. The Grace Price was won by Alyvia Alyn Lind in 2016 for playing young Dolly. Dolly had previously won the Movieguide Epiphany Prize for Most Inspiring TV Program of the Year in 2016 and 2017 for two autobiographical NBC movies and the Faith and Freedom Award for Television in 2020 for the "These Old Bones" episode of Dolly Parton's Heartstrings.
'Opry' Special Heading To Stores Next Month The Dolly 50th anniversary special at the Grand Ole Opry DVD currently on sale via the PBS website after it repeated on PBS a few weeks ago will be released to general retail stores May 11 for the same $25 price currently available on the PBS website. You may reserve your copy at Amazon here.
Lots Of Dolly Stuff This Week Don't forget Dolly's 2019 MusiCares tribute hits Netflix on Wednesday, her limited edition Jeni's ice cream flavor (Strawberry Pretzel Pie) is released at noon Eastern Thursday for national delivery online, and her interview with Brandi Carlile online premieres Thursday evening here. Leslie Jordan, whose gospel album Company's Comin' featuring a Dolly duet came out Friday, posted a video over the weekend promoting both the album and the ice cream here and in the media player below, and was interviewed about the music project by Billboardhere.
April 2: Dolly Is Tickled 'Pinch' With New Signature Color
Dolly created her own color, a "perfect" combination of pink and peach she calls "pinch," and colored her perfume that unique shade, the packaging designer who worked on her Scent from Above perfume said in a video interview with Beauty Packaging available here or in the media player above. The designer said while the final release date for the full-sized bottles of the perfume has yet to be finalized, it is still expected to be out sometime this summer as sample sizes continue to be sold at dollyfragrance.com.
Carlile To Chat With Dolly Online Next Week Brandi Carlile is releasing a memoir on Tuesday titled Broken Horses and will conduct a series of remote conversations as a "virtual book tour" to promote it, including one with Dolly from Nashville at 8 p.m. next Thursday. Tickets to watch it live, and access it for two weeks afterward plus receive a copy of the book, are available for $33 in the U.S. and $58 international here. Each interview has a limited number of autographed books available, although as of press time the autographed books for Dolly's interview were sold out. The book features several mentions of Dolly, including her 2017 recording of Carlile's "The Story" (which your webmaster considers one of Dolly's all-time greatest recordings ever) and Carlile's curating an all-women segment of the Newport Folk Festival in 2019 with Dolly as the surprise headliner.
Leslie Jordan Album Released Today Don't forget Leslie Jordan's gospel album Company's Comin', featuring a duet with Dolly on "Where The Soul Never Dies" as well as collaborations with Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker, among others, was released Friday.
Dolly Nominated For Movieguide Award Sunday Dolly is nominated for this year's Grace Prize for Most Inspiring Performance for Television from Movieguide for her turn as "Angel" in Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square on Netflix. She competes against Richard Roundtree in Family Reunion, Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods and Michael Weatherly in Bull. Dolly previously won Movieguide's Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspiring TV Program of the Year in 2016 and 2017 for Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors and Dolly Parton's Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love, respectively, while the films' star Alyvia Alyn Lind won the Grace Prize in 2016 for the role of young Dolly. Dolly Parton's Heartstrings: These Old Bones won Movieguide's Faith & Freedom Award for Television in 2020 and was nominated for the Epiphany Prize that year while its star, Kathleen Turner, was up for the Grace Prize that year, but also lost. Winners will be revealed on REELZ at 4 p.m. Eastern Sunday.
Dress Donated By Dolly For Actors Charity Auction Dolly is donating a dress to be auctioned off this month to benefit The Actors Fund being organized by Dolly Parton's Christmas On The Square star Christine Baranski. Other items have been contributed by Cher, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Bruce Springsteen and more. The auction starts at Doyle Auctions at 10 a.m. April 28, with more details about the items to be released before then.
Facebook Partnership Gets 'Forbes' Attention Dolly spoke this week with Forbes magazine about her promotional partnership with Facebook last year for her Christmas album, including releasing several animated music videos from the project via the online network. Read more here.
PBS Selling Stand-Alone DVD For Opry Special PBS has added the network-exclusive U.S. DVD from Dolly's 50th anniversary Grand Ole Opry special to its online store for $25 each. A month ago, the DVD debuted as a thank you gift available in exchange for contributions of about $100 to local stations. It is now available as a stand-alone purchase nationwide here.