Nov. 29: Amazon.com has named The Grass is Blue the eighth best
country release of 1999 and has picked it as its current "Holiday Spotlight" CD
as the best possible country Christmas present. The site has also updated its
genre listings to show the CD as its biggest-selling bluegrass title. Also, on
the site's list of its 100 biggest sellers overall for the year, Trio II
came in 10th and 1987's original Trio 90th, and Emmylou was named their
country entertainer of the year.
* * * * *
Delta has just released the cover art for the re-issue of Dolly's 1972
RCA/Camden compilation Just The Way I Am. To advance order your copy, out
Dec. 14, click on the cover art at left.
* The Christian Science Monitor reported Friday that Dolly is expected to
schedule her first concert for PBS' Austin City Limits next season as
part of the series' 25th anniversary celebration. Dolly is one of only a handful
of performers producers say they've always wanted on the show but who have never
* * * * *
Nov. 25: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! At 9 p.m. Eastern tonight, CMT offers its
annual video countdown and awards show, and Trio is nominated for Vocal Event of
The Year against Lorrie and Sammy's "Maybe Not Tonight" and Garth and Trisha's
"Where Your Road Leads." Let's wish them luck!
* A recent Launch.com article on Dolly quoted her as saying CBS has
definitely purchased Heaven's to Betsy and will cast the telefilm
sometime next year for filming. Thanks, Justin!
* Did ya see Reba's Biography on A&E last night? Well, she talked
of her adoration for Dolly, and Dolly said all kinds of nice things about Reba.
In fact, Dolly was just about the most-interviewed person on the show!
Afterward, A&E featured Reba in its Live by Request concert series,
and yours truly had the opportunity to talk with her and request "You Lie!"
* Update on Just the Way I Am: LA's Delta Entertainment Corp. has been
named the exclusive distributor to re-issue selections from the RCA/Camden
catalog, and the Dec. 14 release of Just the Way I Am will be the
company's first one! The CD has been remastered with 24-bit mastering for
crystal clarity and repackaged with new art, according to the label. While it
will not likely be available in retail stores until after the new year, it may
be ordered for its Dec. 14 release from online outlets only. Thanks to Eric
at Delta for the info! Originally released in 1972, Just the Way I Am
was one of Dolly's first appearances on RCA's Camden repackaging label (they
eventually issued seven Dolly compilations). The album, being released on CD for
what is to my knowledge the first time, features the songs "Just the Way I Am,"
"Little Bird," "Mama Say a Prayer," "My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy," "In the Good
Old Days," "In the Ghetto," "Daddy Come and Get Me," "Carroll County Accident"
and "Gypsy, Joe and Me." To order your copy, click here.
* And Martina McBride this week ties Dolly and two other artists for the
second-longest time at No. 1 for a female country artist when "I Love You"
marked its fifth week atop the chart in the Nov. 27 issue of Billboard. She ties
with Shania ("Love Gets Me Every Time," 1997), Dolly ("Here You Come Again,"
1977) and Lynn Anderson ("Rose Garden," 1970). The record holder: Connie Smith
with "One a Day," which spent eight weeks at No. 1 in 1964.
* * * * *
Nov. 22: Interview magazine's December issue has what I believe
is the most poetic review yet of The Grass is Blue. Dudley Saunders
writes: "Ever since Parton went Dollywood on us, covering the Bee Gees and
turning out dance remixes, it's been easy to forget that she started off as
country music's Billy Holiday: On her ancient-sounding mountain songs, her
small, pointed voice cut the heart like a razor and left it bleeding.
Fortunately, Dolly has finally remembered, and gracefully turned her back on
mainstream country radio with a full-on bluegrass record of almost unbearable
beauty. Surrounded by classic banjo and Appalachian fiddles so keening they
sound almost Middle Eastern, Dolly's unearthly soprano sounds like a mournful
phantom, crying down the mountains."
* The New York Times' weekend magazine had a great interview with Dolly
Sunday. To read it, click here.
* * * * *
Nov. 20: More press on Dolly's water park and 2000 Dollywood
expansions! The Knoxville News-Sentinel had a great article Friday here. The Nashville
Tennessean looked at what impact, if any, the development could have on
Nashville tourism here Friday.
* Camden/RCA/BMG is set to re-issue a digitally remastered edition of Just
The Way I Am, although I haven't obtained a track listing yet, it will
apparently be a reissue of her 1972 compilation album of the same name. It will
come out Dec. 14 and can be advanced ordered here.
* The holiday 1999 issue of Country Music magazine has named Kenny
& Dolly's Once Upon a Christmas as one of the 10 "essential" country
Christmas albums of all time! They note that Dolly's voice sounds just like
Christmas bells, and Kenny looks just like Santa, so the duo is an unstoppable
holiday favorite. To order your copy of their double-platinum 1984 hit CD for
the holidays, click here!
* Crook & Chase's "1999 Rewind" show this week noted at its top
Shania winning Entertainer of the Year and Dolly's reaction to Shania in her
acceptance speech calling Dolly her idol and saying she had to meet her. "We
went ahead and left the CMA Awards 'cause we wanted to not get caught in
traffic," Dolly said. "And I sent Shania a telegram and I will make a point to
visit with her!" She added that she had no idea Shania thought so much of her
and, " I hope we can work together and write some songs." Thanks Robert!
* * * * *
Nov. 19: While at Dollywood today for its annual Christmasfest, Dolly
announced several items about the park and its projects. As previously reported,
the park will add an interactive treehouse next season. Also, Dolly will open a
new, $20 million waterpark in Pigeon Forge in May. Also, she is taking the
Dollywood Foundation's literacy programs nationwide! Busy, isn't she! For the
full press release from Dollywood, click here.
* The Nashville Scene's Michael McCall gave The Grass is Blue a rave
review Thursday, noting, "Dolly Parton recently released her best album in 20
years . . . captures the soaring glory and dark mysteries of Appalachian music .
. . gives her a chance to show how truly brilliant she can be as a conceptualist
and an arranger . . . reveals the innate musical strengths she initially flashed
as a young woman." To read the full review, click here.
* * * * *
Nov. 17: CountryCool.com gave its lead feature spot Tuesday to Dolly
and The Grass is Bluehere!
* * * * *
Nov. 15: The Los Angeles Times Syndicate gave a great review this
weekend of The Grass is Blue, noting: "The Grass Is Blue is not
just a good bluegrass CD. It's one of the best albums done in that style in
recent years - and one of the most pleasurable CDs of any kind released during
1999." To read the full review, click here.
* CNN on Friday even gave Dolly a note on a story about the resurgence of
bluegrass, "From Bill Monroe to Dolly Parton, bluegrass holds its own," saying:
"Alison Krauss mixes it with folk; Dolly Parton used it to return to her roots
with her latest album, The Grass Is Blue. But attendees of the recent
International Bluegrass Music Awards in Louisville's Palace Theater don't need
these high-profile country singers to tell them that bluegrass, a country-music
offshoot that traces its origins to before World War II, is cooler than ever."
To read the full story, click here.
* There was a funny story about Dolly in an article Friday on Seattle theatre
* * * * *
Nov. 12: Dolly's bluegrass CD The Grass is Blue debuts on the
Billboard country album charts Nov. 13 edition at No. 28.
* Dollywood on Thursday opened its annual Christmasfest, which runs through
Dec. 30 with several new holiday shows and more than 2 million Christmas lights!
And Dolly will be there Nov. 18! For the press release on the season, click here. For
information, visit the Dollywood website here.
* * * * *
Nov. 10: Country.com on Tuesday issued its list of the 50 best albums
in the history of country music to recognize the 50th anniversary of the genre's
first million-seller. Dolly's entry? Coat of Many Colors, recently
reissued on Buddha Records (order here).
Surprises? Several rock albums are included such as ones by REM and Bob Dylan.
Dolly also has a quote in an album notation of Connie Smith, "There's really
only three female singers in the world: Streisand, Ronstadt and Connie Smith.
The rest of us are just pretending." What they said about Coat of Many
Colors: " In addition to being country music's most conspicuous star, Parton
is one of country's most prolific tunesmiths. Inspiration from her songs often
comes from childhood experiences, her signature song being a prime example.
'Mama sewed the rags together, sewed every piece with love, she made my coat of
many colors that I was so proud of...' You know the autobiographical hit, but
you ought to also know the rest of the excellent 1971 album." To see all 50, in
alphabetical order, click here.
* Buddha's long-awaited re-issues of Jolene and Heartbreaker
came yesterday. 1974's Jolene was Dolly's country breakthrough album,
spawning the No. 1 title cut and her original (and in my opinion, best) version
of the twice-No. 1 "I Will Always Love You" 18 years before Whitney Houston
recorded it. It also includes the best song Porter Wagoner ever wrote, the
haunting "Lonely Coming Down;" as well as the beautiful "Early Morning Breeze"
and sad "When Someone Wants to Leave," both Dolly originals. Dolly's most
successful pre-pop album with about 100,000 copies sold, it reached No. 6 on the
country album charts. Heartbreaker, released in 1978, spawned the country
No. 1 title song (No. 37 pop) and No. 1 "I Really Got the Feeling" as well as
pop No. 25 disco tune "Baby I'm Burnin'." It became her third gold album and
topped the country album charts for nine weeks (No. 27 pop). It is really the
only Dolly album which meshes country with easy listening, pop and disco.
Biographer Alanna Nash said it was the closest Dolly came to sounding like
Barbara Streisand. To order Heartbreaker click here,
for Jolene click here.
* * * * *
Nov. 8: Dolly was reportedly spectacular Thursday with her CD signing
at Wal-Mart outside of Nashville! One fan who attended, Debbie "Pink Butterfly"
Poole, submitted the following report: Fans started lining up around 5:30 a.m.,
and the line keep growing til the end of signing. The Wal-Mart personnel was
just so very nice to all of them, and everything went so great. We received word
from a manager at Wal-Mart that they had sold more than 2,000 copies of the CD
and 100 cassettes. Also that they had counted people in line to have things
signed, and it came out to be 1,128 people. Dolly started at 5:35 p.m. that day
and did not give up til the last one in line got a sign CD. She also didn't
leave from the table until 7:45p.m. (She was scheduled to appear only until 7
p.m.) She was just a doll. She was smiling all the way thru the signing and she
looked very nice in her red dress and gold short coat, with matching shoes. She
was just so great to everyone that went through the line. All the people that
went through the line got their picture made with Dolly at the table too with
the CD sign and at they gave out Dolly badges too. It was a trip that was so
much fun, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Love that Dolly Parton!
* Country.com posted its own recap of the event Saturday in which she also
talked about her duet with Boy George, which she said may be released as a
single in the U.S. next spring. You can read it here.
* The London Evening Standard also weighed in with its review of The Grass
is Blue Friday, noting: "The lady from Locust Ridge can sometimes seem like
a caricature of a self-parody, but when Dolly drops the production-line schmaltz
she reminds us of the beauty of her take on authentic bluegrass. Utilising
Alison Krauss' band rather than a bunch of hired hats, Parton cuts to the chase
on a set that echoes 'My Tennessee Mountain Home' and her part in the Trio
recordings. If Appalachian fever with a large slug of Jack Daniels grabs your
goat then DP has the necessary cure."
* And People
Weekly named the CD its Album of the Week with this review: "Parton is 53 now,
but on her last two albums she has sounded a lot like her old girlish self:
chipper, emotionally engaging and unfailingly melodious. This new one is full of
splendid bluegrass music, with Parton's backup band including Jerry Douglas on
dobro, Sam Bush on mandolin, Jim Mills on banjo and Stuart Duncan on fiddle.
(Alison Krauss is present, too, though only as a harmony singer.) Parton wrote
three of the songs herself, and if they don't have the exuberant na´vetÚ of her
more youthful compositions, their imagery does still reflect her Appalachian
roots. She also rounded up a lively set of songs by others: Billy Joel's
'Travelin' Prayer,' Lester Flatt's tribute to suspicion 'I'm Gonna Sleep With
One Eye Open,' the Louvin Brothers' 'Cash On The Barrelhead' and, most
affectingly, Johnny Cash's poignant 'I Still Miss Someone.' Bottom Line: A
unique singer shows why she's a Hall of Famer."
* I don't have a quote from the review, but Entertainment Weekly gave it the
lowest rating I've seen so far on the new CD with a B+.
* The end of last month, the Atlanta Constitution-Journal released its
reader-voted list of the most influential Southerners of the century, and Dolly
made it at No. 49. Just above her: Willie Nelson at No. 47 and President Bill
Clinton at No. 48. Martin Luther King Jr. was named No. 1.
* As reported here several months ago, Dolly is included on the
recently-released Rhino Records millennium compilation R-E-S-P-E-C-T: A
Centry of Women in Music. The song they chose to include, why "I Will Always
Love You," of course. The five-CD set also features female legends from many
genres including Trio pals Linda and Emmylou. To order it, click here.
* * * * *
Nov. 5: Dolly shot up last night to the No. 1 sales spot of all genres
at Amazon.com! Way to go for The Grass is Blue! (And if you haven't read
the Dollymania review and the Sugar Hill interview transcript or want to order
this amazing CD, click here.)
* From The Boston Phoenix's Grant Alden review this week: "...an astounding
performance, rippling with risk and sheer, soaring exuberance...The performance
is louder and more emotionally direct than anything rock and roll has offered
since the early part of this decade...The Grass Is Blue conveys all the
hunger and yearning missing from the well-fed suburbs that country radio now
caters to. Read it here.
* Valley Media Co., whose Independent Distribution Group distributed the CD
for Sugar Hill Records, is expecting awesome sales, too. In its second fiscal
quarter report released this week, CEO Rob Cain said the division, which posted
record sales figures for the last quarter, should do even better in the third
quarter due to the release of Dolly's The Grass is Blue and a new Cowboy
* * * * *
Nov. 3: Dolly's Blue Valley Songbird, was spectacular! This was
some of her best acting ever, and it featured lots of great music. She played
LeAnn Taylor, a struggling singer who has never made it big and constantly reads
a magazine called Peoples' Digest. Her manager/boyfriend Hank (John
Terry) is holding her back, pushing her into the arms of her guitarist, Bobby
(Billy Dean). Meanwhile, her father, who used to mentally abuse her as a child
and physically abuse her mother prompting her mother to send her away as a
teen-ager, dies, dragging back up the painful memories of her childhood. She
must deal with that and break free from her destructive relationships to find
success both personally and professionally. Dolly original songs included the
title cut (Hungry Again), "I Hope You're Never Happy" (Rhinestone
and Real Love), "Wildflowers" (Trio), "We Might Be in Love" (new
duet with Dean), "My Blue Tears" (Coat of Many Colors, Heartsongs
and Trio on Linda Ronstadt's Get Closer) and "Runaway Feeling" (Eagle
When She Flies). Dolly also hummed "Amazing Grace" and performed the
traditional "Angel Band."
* The New York Times Syndicate on Monday published a story on the film. Read
* Sugar Hill Records passed this link along of radio stations' request lines
here. Call all in your area to ask
they play "A Few Old Memories" from The Grass is Blue!
* * * * *
1: MSNBC posted a great article over the weekend about Blue Valley
* CNN's Worldbeat noted the release of The Grass is Blue with
the following on Saturday: "With so many artists returning to their roots, it is
perhaps especially gratifying that Parton has decided to join their number via
this brilliant bluegrass album."