Dollymania: The Online Dolly Parton Newsmagazine. Your premier resource for Dolly Parton news and information
www.dollymania.net News December 2006
Dec. 29: U.S. Charts Updated Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002 inches down another spot to No. 10 for its 11th week on the Jan. 6 Billboard bluegrass albums chart, the magazine reported Thursday. Kenny Rogers Christmas Collection, featuring 1984's Once Upon A Christmas with Dolly and his solo 1981 Christmas project, falls off the 75-position country albums tally, down from No. 71 in its fourth week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring the No. 1 "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Dolly, remains steady at No. 8 country but dips two to No. 50 pop and rises two to No. 50 comprehensive in its 71st chart week. Martina McBride's Timeless, including the Dolly collaboration "I Still Miss Someone," rises nine to No. 54 country in its 62nd chart week. Rogers's 21 Number Ones, featuring "Islands In The Stream," moves up three to No. 44 country in its 48th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, which has Dolly singing on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," gains one to No. 5 bluegrass in its 31st chart week. Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways, featuring a cover of "Here You Come Again," loses 19 to No. 143 pop in its 14th week. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts remains steady at No. 1 country and rises two to No. 4 pop with 292,000 copies sold in its 58th week, while Rascal Flatts' Me & My Gang remains steady at No. 2 country and moves up three to No. 12 pop in its 38th week.
A Brief Hiatus Your webmaster will be heading out of town on Friday in observance of New Year's, and I'm not sure whether I'll have the opportunity to make any updates until returning Monday evening, so if there are no updates between now and then, please excuse the break in the normal schedule. May everyone have a safe and joyous celebration this weekend with many blessings for the new year!
Dec. 28: Paper: Burke 3rd Best Disc Of Year As the end of the year approaches, a few Dolly-related products are making the best-of-year lists. The Washington Post released its on Wednesday, choosing Solomon Burke's Nashville, with its Grammy-nominated Dolly duet on "Tomorrow Is Forever," as the third-best CD of all genres for 2006, also giving an honorable mention to Sarah Harmer's I Am A Mountain, which features a cover of Dolly's "Will He Be Waiting For Me." See the full list here.
Another U.K. Show Nearing Sell-Out Status It appears Dolly's March 24 Sheffield, England, concert may soon be added to the long list of sold out dates for next year's European tour. As of Wednesday evening, Ticketmaster was showing no seats remaining available. Another of the show's authorized sellers, See Tickets, had sold out its allocation of tickets, and the other, TicketLine, appeared to have just a handful remaining available from its allocation.
Dec. 27: Kennedy Center Lauds Dolly Dolly was the most energetic part of the Kennedy Center Honors telecast which aired on CBS Tuesday night. Shown on screen several times during the two-hour program -- bopping along to the songs of the night's other honorees, singing to Smokey Robinson's tunes, conversing with Zubin Mehta and interacting with Steven Spielberg -- she was the life of the box for the ceremonies taped earlier this month in Washington. (To answer several e-mails received from readers: Longtime producer Steve Buckingham accompanied her to the event and sat behind her in the box.) During her own segment, she chuckled along with Reba McEntire and Reese Witherspoon as they offered speeches honoring her and she sang along from her seat with those paying tribute in song: Carrie Underwood and Kenny Rogers on "Islands In The Stream" (jumping up from her seat, cheering and waving her arms when Kenny came on stage as a surprise), Alison Krauss with Suzanne Cox and Cheryl White on "Jolene" (their version of "My Tennessee Mountain Home" didn't make the broadcast), Shania Twain with Krauss on "Coat Of Many Colors" and Vince Gill with "I Will Always Love You." Nashville's NewsChannel5 posted some screencaps from the program here. In related news, Terry Morrow of The Knoxville News-Sentinel again wrote Tuesday about how bad Jessica Simpson's flubbed tribute to Dolly in the ceremony was and how good it was that producers edited her out of the telecast. Read his comments here. Image courtesy The White House.
Vote For Dolly Country Weekly is asking for reader votes to determine its list of country music's greatest love songs, and two Dolly tunes are on the list. In the 50 possible selections, Dolly's classic "I Will Always Love You" and her mega-hit duet with Kenny Rogers on "Islands In The Stream" are options for votes (of course, the former was previously selected by both CMT and VH1 as the greatest love song of all time, while the latter was selected by CMT as country's greatest duet of all time). The final list will be announced in a Valentine's themed issue dated Feb. 12 which will be on newsstands Jan. 29. Cast your ballot here!
CMT Offers More Online Videos CMT has posted a new online Dolly version of its "Stacked" show, which features a selection of an artist's best videos. Nine of Dolly's, including her three most recent ("Imagine," "When I Get Where I'm Going" and "Heartbreaker's Alibi"), are available here. In other news, Dolly's Kennedy Center Honor (and Jessica Simpson's botched "9 To 5") made the network's country music year in review, available here.
Library Tree Gets Notice The Tennessee Capitol's Imagination Library Christmas tree honoring Dolly's literacy program made a couple of the state's papers on Tuesday, with a story and photo in Columbia's Daily Heraldhere and an editorial supporting the program and the recognition provided by the tree from Kingsport's Times Newshere.
Dec. 26: Dolly Welcomes The U.K. To Christmas BBC Radio2 on Christmas Day offered an entertaining two-hour program with Dolly. She talked of her own Christmas memories, with several of her holiday tunes played during the show. It also presented an overview of her career, with selections from her first recording, "Puppy Love," all the way up to the most recent. In addition, she discussed some of her early influences and favorite music by other artists, a few selections from which were played during the show. The program should be available in the network's online "Listen Again" streaming audio here for about a week.
Final Days Of Dollywood's Season Coming It's your last few days to catch the fun at Dollywood for several months! The 2006 operating season comes to a close on Saturday at 9 p.m. with the end of the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. The park will then be closed until the 2007 season kicks off on March 31, although the official seasonal "Grand Opening" festivities won't take place until April 13-14, when Dolly will be on hand for her annual parade through Pigeon Forge and to open the new Mystery Mine roller coaster. Editor's Note: In the earlier version of this report, I had mistakenly stated the park closed for the season on Friday, but it is Saturday. I just got my days confused, although, since the 30th is your webmaster's birthday, you think I'd know which day it was on! Thanks to Jerail for pointing out the error!
Kennedy Reminder As if you would forget, remember to see the tribute to Dolly as one of this year's Kennedy Center Honors recipients when the ceremony from earlier in the month is telecast on CBS at 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday!
May you each have the most glorious of holidays and many blessings in the new year! -- Your webmaster
Holiday Radio Reminder For the site's U.K. readers, don't forget to tune in to BBC Radio2 at 1 p.m. on Christmas Day for Dolly's two-hour holiday special. The network is promoting the show by saying: "There's no star in Nashville with more tinsel and glitter than Dolly Parton, and in this Yuletide special for Radio 2, Paul Sexton travels to Tennessee for some lighthearted Christmas conversation and music with the queen of country. Dolly talks about how she spends the Christmas holiday with family and friends in Nashville and chooses songs from her own catalogue and festive favourites by other artists." Online listeners may hear the program live in streaming audio here (which will be 8 a.m. Eastern U.S. time Monday) or hear it at your leisure using that site's "Listen Again" feature after the first broadcast.
More Coverage For Kennedy Center Honor As the hours tick down to Dolly's Kennedy Center Honors telecast Tuesday night, media coverage of the festivities continues. The Knoxville News-Sentinel on Sunday posted an entire little section on Dolly's honor. In addition to the videos previously linked here (and the paper's stories previously linked here from its parent company's wire service by the paper's Terry Morrow on Dolly and the ceremony here and about covering Dolly over the years here), Morrow offered a series of quotes about Dolly from various other entertainers here and a cute slide-show of her over the years with his voice-over commenting on her appearance here. Elsewhere, The Washington Post focused on editing down the three-and-a-half-hour ceremony into a two-hour television version (which means about an hour and a half plus commercials) here, and The Orlando Sentinel profiled the portions to be televised here, saying Dolly's is the best part.
Dec. 23: Have A Holly, DOLLY Christmas! You only have a few more chances to catch Dolly holiday fare on television. CMT airs A Smoky Mountain Christmas, which first hit the tube 20 years ago this month, at 8 p.m. Eastern Saturday (followed that night by a repeat of CMT Greatest Moments: Dolly Parton) and 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. Her other holiday film, Unlikely Angel, which first aired 10 years ago, repeats on The Hallmark Channel at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve and 12:25 a.m. Christmas morning. And although her 1984 special with Kenny Rogers, Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas To Remember, hasn't aired in years, you can catch excerpts from two songs from it in CMT's 20 Merriest Christmas Videos, which repeats at 7 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. Christmas Eve and 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Christmas Day. Finally, don't forget to see the tribute to her as one of this year's Kennedy Center Honors recipients in a telecast to be broadcast on CBS at 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday.
Coverage Leading Up To The Ceremony Speaking of the Kennedy Honors, news of Jessica Simpson's getting edited out of the televised portion of the ceremony was all over the papers on Friday, including a piece from Nashville's The Tennessean by its celebrities columnist Beverly Keel saying why she was so very glad to hear the news that Simpson's contribution had been cut. Read it here. And in promoting the program, Knoxville News-Sentinel parent company Scripps Howard has posted a couple of stories on its wire service by the paper's celebrity columnist, Terry Morrow, about Dolly. One, available here, focuses on the actual awards, her reaction to the tribute and other performers' thoughts on her work. The other, available here, details his work over the past 20 years covering Dolly for the newspaper. (In related news, his online Christmas card to his readers in his "TeleBuddy" column is a shot of him with Dolly from three years back. See it here.)
Dolly On Another CMT List There were a few additional Dolly connections to the latest best-of-the-year list from CMT. The network on Friday posted online its choices for the 10 best compilation CDs of the year and nine best sets of country music reissues. In the compilations category, 21 Number Ones from Kenny Rogers made the cut. The disc contains his and Dolly's gargantuan hit "Islands In the Stream." Her own boxed set, Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002, which re-packaged her three recent roots music albums on Sugar Hill Records with a bonus DVD, made the selections for best re-issues, as did 10 of Merle Haggard's old records that were re-issued on five two-on-one CDs earlier this year by Capitol Records. One of those, Mama Tried/Pride In What I Am, contains his cover of Dolly's classic "In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)." Read the full list here.
More Library Coverage The success of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program's chapter in southwest Minnesota is profiled The Independent in Marshall, Minn., this week. The story says that in just over a year the effort there has passed its initial goals and distributed more than 20,000 books to its more than 2,000 enrolled children. Read more here. The program, active in hundreds of communities across 42 states and several Canadian provinces, provides one free, hardcover, age-appropriate book every month from birth to age 5 for every child in a participating community whose parents register for the service.
Birthday Reminder Jennifer asked that I remind everyone of her project to create a huge birthday card for Dolly. Fans are invited to e-mail a photo of themselves, their name and a message for the card to her at email@example.com. The deadline is Jan. 12. Thanks!
Dec. 22: Simpson Bows Out Of Kennedy Show After the tremendous amount of coverage devoted in the press to her lackluster performance of Dolly's "9 to 5" at the Kennedy Center Honors earlier this month, Jessica Simpson has asked producers to edit her out of the broadcast version of the ceremony, and they have agreed to do so, it was reported Thursday. Simpson, who was allowed to re-record the song on stage for television after the audience left the festivities, apparently decided her re-take wasn't good enough to be on the show. "She really wasn't happy with her performance and she did want it to be perfect for Dolly, who she idolizes," a spokesperson told the AP. Read the story here. The two-hour program honoring Dolly, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Smokey Robinson, Steven Spielberg and Zubin Mehta premieres on CBS at 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday.
Boxed Set Moving Back Down Chart Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002 starts to slide again on the Dec. 30 Billboard charts, it was revealed Thursday. The boxed set slips three to No. 9 in its 10th week on the bluegrass albums tally, down from a peak at No. 6 the previous week. Over on the country catalog albums chart, 1984's Once Upon A Christmas with Kenny Rogers falls out of the 25-position list, down from No. 17 last week, its fourth week this year. In Canada, the CD loses three to No. 13 in its seventh week this year on the country albums chart. Kenny Rogers Christmas Collection, which contains his holiday album with Dolly as well as his solo Christmas project from three years earlier, loses nine to No. 71 country in its fourth week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, which includes his Dolly hit "When I Get Where I'm Going," inches down one to No. 8 country and two to No. 48 pop but remains steady at No. 52 comprehensive in its 70th chart week. Up north, it rises three to No. 36 Canadian country. Martina McBride's Timeless, with Dolly harmonizing on "I Still Miss Someone," dips two to No. 63 country in its 61st chart week, remaining steady at No. 27 Canadian country. Rogers's 21 Number Ones, featuring "Islands In The Stream," remains steady at No. 47 country in its 47th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," moves up one to No. 6 bluegrass in its 30th chart week. Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways, with his cover of "Here You Come Again," slips five spots to No. 124 pop in its 13th week. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts remains steady at No. 1 country and gains four to No. 6 pop with 199,000 copies sold in its 57th week, while Rascal Flatts' Me & My Gang remains steady at No. 2 country and moves up two to No. 15 pop in its 37th week.
Dec. 21: CBS Touts Dolly Honor In the first of a series of profiles of this year's Kennedy Center Honors recipients, The Early Show on CBS Wednesday morning took a look at Dolly's life and career with a nice little retrospective piece. The version that aired contained several bits of archival footage, photos and recordings as well as an interview that even featured her offering a few lines of a new song she had started writing that morning. A text version, which features most of the reporter's narration and Dolly's interview answers written in story form, is available online here. In related news, Knoxville News-Sentinel reporter Terry Morrow this week posted his first couple of videos from his travels to D.C. earlier this month to cover the festivities. Catch various celebrities on the red carpet taking about Dolly, and even a brief appearance by Dolly herself, on their website here. The ceremony, taped in Washington earlier this month, airs on CBS Tuesday night.
Another Mystery Mine Update Thanks to my pal Jason for again sending in some updated shots of the construction progress on the Mystery Mine ride at Dollywood. As has been reported previously, the $17.5 million indoor/outdoor Euro-Fighter style roller coaster will debut on Friday the 13th of April, which is the weekend set for Dolly's appearances at the park's seasonal "grand opening." Take a look at the current state of the project here. Previous installments are available from about three months ago, one month ago and three weeks ago.
Dec. 20: Dolly On Wed. 'Early Show' In one of the first lead-ins to its Kennedy Center Honors special broadcast on Dec. 26, CBS announced Tuesday that a Dolly interview will appear on the network's The Early Show Wednesday morning. The program airs at 7 a.m. local time in most markets. The network says she talks about her philanthropy and what has kept her in music for such a long career.
DVD Set Reviewed DVD Talk on Tuesday posted a review of the upcoming Dolly set Dolly Parton & Friends, which hits stores Feb. 27 featuring six episodes of her 1976-1977 variety series Dolly. Take a read here.
Vincent Disc Makes Top 10 CMT selected a CD with a Dolly collaboration among the best in bluegrass this year, the network revealed Tuesday. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, which features Dolly on "Heartbreaker's Alibi," made the cable channel's list of the 10 best releases in the genre for 2006. Read the full list here.
Wanna Sing And Dance? Dollywood has announced a five-city tour of auditions for performers for its 2007 season. They will be held Jan. 6 in Atlanta, Jan. 7 in Asheville, N.C. (for musicians only), Jan. 13 in Nashville (Jan. 14 for musicians only), Jan. 20 in Cincinnati and Jan. 27 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (Jan. 28 musicians only). Singers, actors, specialty performers, instrumentalists and crew members are needed for the new year. For more information, call 865-428-9553 or click here.
Dec. 19: Dolly's Program Honored In Tenn. Capitol The Tennessee Capitol's holiday decorations have a distinct Dolly connection, The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported here Monday. The 10-foot tree in the rotunda is decorated with 95 glass ornaments, each representing a county in the state participating in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library literacy program. Each ornament lists the county's sponsoring organization for the project and the number of children under 5 years of age in the county, thus representing the number eligible to receive the free monthly books it provides statewide.
Burke Makes CMT's Best-Of-Year One Dolly-related project made CMT's list of the best country albums of the year. Soul legend Solomon Burke's Nashville, on which he duets with her on a cover of Dolly's "Tomorrow Is Forever," ranks at No. 6. Editorial director Chet Flippo noted the disc "is the very essence of soul country" and that Burke "sounds fully energized" when singing with Dolly, Emmlou Harris, Patty Griffin and Gillian Welch on its various tracks. Read the full list here.
Simpson Flub On 'Time' List Time magazine is in full swing with its year in review, and Jessica Simpson's botched version of "9 To 5" at Dolly's Kennedy Center Honors tribute earlier this month topped its list of the year's seven most memorable performances. Dolly had a hand in No. 4 as well, which was Three Six Mafia's appearance at this year's Academy Awards, where they won the Best Song category that most critics had expected Dolly to take. Read the full list here.
Dolly In New 'CW' The New Year's Day issue of Country Weekly magazine is on newsstands this week, and there are two Dolly items. The issue features a couple of shots of her from the taping of the CMT Giants concert honoring pal Reba McEntire, and the magazine reveals the results of its annual Reader's Poll, which finds "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Brad Paisley barely missing a win for Favorite Inspirational Song of 2006. Brooks & Dunn's "Believe" came in first with 29.1 percent of the vote, just 0.3 percent ahead of Dolly's 28.9 percent. The others in the category were "Jesus, Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood with 19.6 percent, "If You're Going Through Hell" by Rodney Atkins with 12.1 percent and "God Only Cries" by Diamond Rio with 3.8 percent.
Another Paper Praises Dolly's Gift More kudos are coming in for Dolly's stepping up to the plate to help build a new hometown hospital, this time with Sevier County's The Mountain Press singling her out as the ultimate role model whom others may follow with their own generosity in giving back to the community. Read the article here.
Great CA Seats Still For Sale Tickets for Dolly's Feb. 15 show in Santa Barbara County, Calif., went on sale Monday and as of Monday evening, several good seats in the middle of the floor were still available. Get yours here!
Dec. 18: Tickets Reminder As of Sunday evening, the information had not been updated yet on the casino's website or the ticket dealer's, but unless something has changed, seats for Dolly's Feb. 15 concert at the Chumash Casino in Santa Barbara County, Calif., are supposed to go on sale Monday via Tickets Plus.
Dolly On Another 'Worst Dressed' List Thanks to reader Arelis for alerting me to Dolly's inclusion in the worst dressed list from MSN's Year In Review 2006. I bet Dolly still gets a kick out of being singled out for these, having boasted about making such lists in the past -- at least she's still getting folks' attention! It doesn't state if the fashion police were ranking them in order (ie. worst to best or best to worst), but her 9 To 5 DVD launch outfit from back in March was shown second of the year's 31 selections on MSN.com. The critics say they love Dolly and usually like her "cheap and tacky" wardrobe, but the white pantsuit for that appearance -- and spiky wig -- were just too much for even her. Read what they had to say here.
More Hospital Hurrahs Dolly's pledge this week to help build a new hospital in her hometown by giving $500,000 cash and $500,000 from a May 20 benefit concert earned her one of this week's good marks in the weekly kudos round-up from the editorial board of the nearby Knoxville News-Sentinelhere.
'Post' Gets Letter On Dolly Coverage Although Dolly herself very often jokes about her body and its eye-catching attributes, one reader was upset with the tone of a Washington Post profile of her in relation to her recent Kennedy Center Honor, which repeatedly made light of her body. Take a read of this weekend's letter here.
Dec. 16: Have A Holly, Dolly Christmas! Dolly makes the holidays better, at least according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. In a piece here Friday, the paper's music critics picked the best country Christmas albums of all time, and Dolly appears on three out of the 10. Her 1984 collection with Kenny Rogers, Once Upon A Christmas, made the list as did the 2002 Patty Loveless set Bluegrass and White Snow, which features Dolly harmony on the title track, and the Emmylou Harris album Light Of The Stable, which contains the amazing 1975 title track with harmony by Dolly, Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young, the first recording of the three ladies of "Trio" together. In related news, wireless carrier Verizon has announced its selection of holiday V Cast music, phone ring tones and ringback tones, and Dolly's 1990 version of "Jingle Bells" from Home For Christmas is one of the tunes available.
Dec. 15: 'Acoustic' Set Reaches Yet Another New High Entering its ninth chart week, the boxed set Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002 moves up to a new peak on the bluegrass albums chart, Billboard revealed Thursday in the Dec. 23 numbers. The set gains two to No. 6 for the week. Elsewhere on the charts, Once Upon A Christmas with Kenny Rogers from 1984 remains steady at No. 17 in its fourth week this year on the country catalog albums chart, while the album slips one to No. 10 in its sixth week this year the Canadian country albums list. Kenny Rogers Christmas Collection, a two-on-one project containing the duets album paired with a solo Rogers Christmas album from 1981, falls five to No. 62 country in its third week. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with his No. 1 Dolly duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," remains steady at No. 7 country, inching down one to No. 46 pop and No. 52 comprehensive in its 69th chart week. In Canada, it dips three to No. 39 country. Martina McBride's Timeless, featuring Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," gains three to No. 61 country in its 60th chart week, rising one to No. 27 Canadian country. Rogers's 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," moves up one to No. 47 country in its 46th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with the Dolly collaboration "Heartbreaker's Alibi," remains steady at No. 7 bluegrass in its 29th chart week. Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways, with his cover of "Here You Come Again," gains 16 places to No. 119 pop in its 12th week. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts remains steady at No. 1 country and rises three to No. 10 pop with 126,000 copies sold in its 56th week, while Rascal Flatts' Me & My Gang remains steady at No. 2 country and No. 17 pop in its 36th week.
'Angel' Also Airing On TBN For those who may not have cable network The Hallmark Channel on their systems, it is not the only channel playing Dolly's 1996 holiday classic Unlikely Angel. The film is also airing again this year on Christian network TBN. The program airs on that station at noon Eastern Dec. 19 (with a 2 a.m. repeat later that night). As has been previously reported, Hallmark is broadcasting it throughout the month, with Dec. 20, 24 and 25 airings remaining.
Dec. 14: Dolly Gift Receives Press Dolly's generous pledge Tuesday of $500,000 from Dollywood Foundation and Dixie Stampede for her hometown's new $100 million hospital and agreement to perform a May 20 benefit concert expected to raise an additional $500,000 for the facility garnered a great deal of coverage on Wednesday. See footage here from WBIR and here from WATE of Dolly's surprise appearance Tuesday evening at the Ft. Sanders Sevier Medical Center's event celebrating recent state approval for them to relocate their hospital. She spoke at the event of her father's own treatment at the hospital following a stroke and her love for Dr. Robert F. Thomas, the doctor who delivered in 1946 and was paid with a sack of cornmeal. Also, it was revealed that the new facility, to open in 2009, will cost owner Covenant Health $90 million, not the earlier-announced $78.7 million, and on top of that an additional $10 million (of which Dolly's efforts are expected to cover 10 percent) is being raised by the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation for additional amenities for a total price tag of $100 million. Read a story about the event from the hospital's website here, more coverage from The Knoxville News-Sentinelhere, TV station WLVT here and an Associated Press story picked up by newspaper websites around the world Wednesday evening here. And to answer the question of several readers who wrote in after reading the item here Tuesday night, the date for ticket sales for the May 20 benefit show at Smokies Stadium has yet to be announced.
Review: Dolly Biography A Good Read By Duane Gordon Dollymania British publisher Omnibus Press last month released the first new Dolly biography in more than a decade, and while the results of writer Stephen Miller's efforts are a bit mixed, the work is certainly one which Dolly fans will want to take in. (Currently just available in Europe, it is expected to be released in the U.S. in March.) Smart Blonde travels much of the same territory quite familiar to longtime fans, but they should still find the journey enjoyable.
Although the book borrows heavily from previous accounts (most notably Steve Eng's 1992 Porter Wagoner biography A Satisfied Mind and sister Wiladeene Parton's writings in addition to numerous magazine interviews and television appearances), Miller successfully weaves that somewhat disparate material into a coherent story for Dolly's childhood and first 25 years or so of her career. Toward the end of the book, however, he tends to revert to what frequently reads as more of a laundry list of Dolly's accomplishments and occurrences rather than a cohesive narrative of the most recent several years of her career.
Also, as unfortunately often happens when covering any artist with such a long and varied career, the book contains numerous, albeit often somewhat minor, factual errors. For example, he misidentifies "Release Me," "Making Believe" and "Letter To Heaven" as recordings for Monument Records (1965-1967) when they were part of her 1962 recordings for the Somerset label and confuses the film soundtrack for 9 To 5 with Dolly's studio album 9 To 5 And Odd Jobs. Such mistakes, which pepper the book, will cause annoyance for any longtime fan reading it, but those not familiar with her career won't notice them.
The book's biggest draws for longtime fans are insights provided by two individuals closely associated with Dolly: her sister Stella Parton and longtime producer Steve Buckingham, both of whom give what appears to be perhaps their most in-depth interviews ever about Dolly. The most engaging passages are when either of these two figures offers extended commentary. (Dolly herself declined to be interviewed, citing the possibility she may soon write a second autobiography, and those who worked for her were unable to participate due to confidentiality agreements, Miller complains in the introduction. Wagoner also did not respond to a request for an interview, he notes.) And while the dust jacket touts its exploration of Dolly's enigmatic relationships with husband Carl Dean and best friend Judy Ogle, the few pages devoted to them really just contain information already well-known to her fans.
Problems which fans may have are an assertion repeated several times that Dolly skirts the truth in interviews to shape her image in the public eye to what she wants it to be, strongly suggesting a much greater disconnect between her public persona and personal person than I suspect actually exists, and some unkind observations about her appearance changes as a result of cosmetic surgery. Even given its flaws, though, the tome's fairly comprehensive nature and the important contributions of Buckingham help rank it as one of the best books ever released about Dolly, surpassed only by Dolly's own autobiography and perhaps Alanna Nash's original 1978 authorized biography.
As a matter of disclosure, I must tell you that the author was kind enough to publish a very nice thank you to your webmaster in the book's acknowledgements for assisting in his research. However, I have to admit that my involvement was limited to just a series of about nine or 10 e-mails over the course of a couple of months. Each e-mail generally would ask one historical question about Dolly which I was pleased to answer or direct him to where an answer would most likely be found, a service I happily provide to any journalist or researcher and ordinary fans who write daily with such questions.
Dec. 13: $500,000 Gift, Charity Concert Coming Ever the philanthropist, Dolly announced on Tuesday that her businesses would donate $500,000 and she would perform a benefit concert to help build a new hospital in her hometown. The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported here Tuesday evening that Dolly had made the financial pledge and agreed to hold the concert on May 20 at nearby Smokies Stadium. The stadium is located on Highway 66 North immediately north of its intersection with I-40, the "Dollywood Exit" in Sevier County, Tenn. The Ft. Sanders Sevier Medical Center in Sevierville was approved by the state in November to relocate its hospital in a new $78.7 million center to be constructed across the street from the existing Middle Creek facility. In 1998, Dolly opened the hospital's birthing center, which bears her name and for which she had made the lead gift of $100,000. The hospital is also home to the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation, named after the doctor who birthed Dolly. She is a regular supporter of the Foundation's annual fund-raising auction, often offering auctions of dinner with herself to benefit the charity.
Kudos For Dolly The Mountain Press in Sevier County, Tenn., this week gives Dolly one of its editorial "Cheers" in recognition of her recent Kennedy Center Honors. Read here why they say she completely deserved the award.
Ky. Library Covered The work of Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program's chapter in Scott County, Ky., are profiled in the local Georgetown News-Graphichere this week offering a nice description of how the program works in a small community.
Dec. 12: Porter: Radio Not Friendly To Newcomers Today Dolly's former duet partner Porter Wagoner this week used her as an example of the type of artist who could be frozen out of the music industry if she were starting out today. Wagoner was one of several performers who testified in Nashville Monday before the Federal Communications Commission criticizing the agency's plans to loosen media ownership restrictions which would make it easier for entertainment conglomerates such as Clear Channel to become larger through additional consolidation. "Not only did I have the freedom and control to introduce Dolly as a regular performer on my television show, but back then, radio was much friendlier to new recording artists," he told commissioners. In today's media landscape, he complained, it would be nearly impossible for a newcomer to follow her career path. Others who spoke against further consolidation included Naomi Judd, Big & Rich and George Jones, who lamented how one of the results of radio consolidation is a refusal by corporate radio to play new material by older artists. Read coverage from Broadcasting and Cablehere, Varietyhere, The Hollywood Reporterhere and the Associated Press here. (Read Porter's complete statement here.)
Dolly Rose To Be In Parade Dolly will be one of several celebrities to have their roses featured on a special float by Bayer Advanced in this year's New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., The Detroit Press reports here. The "Red Carpet Of Roses" float will feature breeds of rose that have been named in honor of Dolly, Della Reese, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Bing Crosby, Princess Diana, Cary Grant, Queen Elizabeth, Amy Grant, Chris Evert, George Burns and others.
Dec. 11: Six '70s, '80s Albums Coming To CD In '07 Six of Dolly's most-loved out-of-print albums from the 1970s and 1980s will be hitting store shelves on CD next year, five of which will be available on disc for the first time ever, it has been announced. The titles will be collected into three "2-on-1" CDs, similar to how BMG packaged her classic My Tennessee Mountain Home with Jolene and Joshua with Coat Of Many Colors in 2001. Stephen Munns, project coordinator, tells Dollymania that Sony BMG will release 1983's Burlap & Satin with 1985's Real Love, 1979's Great Balls Of Fire with 1980's Dolly, Dolly, Dolly and 1976's All I Can Do with 1977's New Harvest . . . First Gathering. Of these, only Real Love was previously available on CD but has been out of print for nearly two decades now. Munns, who has been pitching the project off and on for about four years after contacting several folks (including your webmaster) to gauge what discs fans would most like to be re-issued, says the albums are currently being digitally re-mastered in the U.S. and should be released in Europe around March (alongside the label's previously-reported upcoming career retrospective compilation CD) to coincide with her March 6-April 3 European tour. (While I have heard of no plans to release the sets in the U.S., they should be available from large retailers stateside as imports very quickly after they come out overseas, as is the norm with all major U.K. releases.) Thanks!
Latest On Dolly's Library Two efforts to expand Dolly's Imagination Library in Michigan made the news over the weekend. The Lansing State Journal noted the project's work in Clinton County and the St. John's community here, while The Battle Creek Enquirer covered the kick-off of the program in Albion here.
Dec. 9: D.C.'s Dog-And-Dolly Show Dolly is a featured celebrity in the new holiday video for the president's dog. Filmed while she was in D.C. for the Kennedy Center Honors, Dolly makes a red carpet appearance at "Barney's Holiday Extravaganza," available online here. (To watch it, click on one of the three viewing options under "Barney Cam V" on the right-hand column of the page.) Thanks to Andrea and Chad! In related news, Kennedy coverage continued Friday, with Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist Terry Morrow offering additional notes here from his trip to Washington for the festivities and CMT.com columnist Hazel Smith providing her recap of the events in a rare Friday posting of her weekly wrap-up available here.
CA Show Sells Out Likely thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign using television, radio and newspaper ads, tickets sold out four hours after being offered to the general public Friday for Dolly's Valentine's Day show in Santa Rosa, Calif. However, the sell-out wasn't quite as dramatic as it sounds, since a great deal of seats appeared to have been sold in advance over the previous three days during a pre-sale open to Wells Fargo Center members rather than in Friday's sales to non-members (which was a bit unusual because the pre-sale was not really promoted). Although it had been reported that tickets sold out two hours after going on sale, unsold seats remained available for online purchase from Tickets.com until just over four hours after the for-sale time, Dollymania confirmed. By contrast, tickets are selling much more slowly for her other February concerts in the region that appear to have not been as heavily promoted in the local press with floor seats still remaining open for each.
Talbot Leaves The Grascals The Grascals' loss is Dolly's gain, CMT.com reported Friday, saying that banjo picker David Talbot had resigned from the band that had served as Dolly's opening act and backing group on her 2004 tour and opening act on several dates in 2005. His reason for leaving: to work full-time in Dolly's band. Aaron McDaris was hired as his replacement. The group's sophomore set, Long List Of Heartaches, was nominated Thursday for a Best Bluegrass Album Grammy.
Getting A Hand From Dolly Dolly is helping promote a new bluegrass group for Sugar Hill Records. The label is stirring interest for the Feb. 13 release Fork In The Road by The Infamous Stringdusters with the following Dolly endorsement: "I guarantee you will love this CD if you love bluegrass. I have listened to it over and over. … You will be hearing more from The Infamous Stringdusters." The band features Andy Hall, who has played Dobro for Dolly.
Grammy Coverage Peter Cooper of The Tennessean on Friday offered his analysis of this week's Grammy nominations, focusing on how artistic excellence is rewarded by the Academy even if radio airplay is absent, pointing out nods for the Dixie Chicks and Dolly, among others, and calling her nominated duet with Solomon Burke "superlative." Read more here. (Dolly is also up for best song from a film with "Travelin' Thru.")
More Kellie Talk About Dolly Former American Idol hopeful Kellie Picker wants to tour with Dolly, cable channel Great American Country (GAC) reports. Read more here.
Dec. 8: 'Travelin',' 'Tomorrow' Up For Grammy Honors She may have lost out to the "Pimp" at the Oscars, but Dolly still has a chance to bring home a golden statuette for her spiritual ode to a transgender character's journey, as "Travelin' Thru," her Academy Award-nominated contribution to the film TransAmerica, picked up one of Dolly's two Grammy nominations on Thursday. Her other recognized performance is a cover of her classic "Tomorrow Is Forever" with soul legend Solomon Burke from his first-ever country CD, Nashville. Nominated in the songwriter's category of Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media, "Travelin' Thru" faces off against "Can't Take It In" by Imogen Heap from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, "I Need To Wake Up" by Melissa Etheridge from An Inconvenient Truth, "Our Town" by Randy Newman from Cars and "There's Nothing Like A Show On Broadway" by Mel Brooks from The Producers. It marks Dolly's first nod in the category since it was created in 1987. Last year's winners were Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri for the Josh Groban hit "Believe" from The Polar Express. None of this year's nominees was a radio hit, however, leaving the field quite open, although Newman has won it twice in the past.
She and Solomon are up for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, competing against "Who Says You Can't Go Home" by Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles, "Calling Me" by Kenny Rogers and Don Henley, "Midnight Angel" by Rhonda Vincent and Bobby Osborne and "Love Will Always Win" by Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks. It is her seventh nomination in the category, which she has won once in 1999. This year's honors mark her 43rd and 44th Grammy nods, respectively. She has won seven.
Some other Dolly-related nominations are Martina McBride for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for their recording, "I Still Miss Someone" (which, although it was promoted to radio as a collaboration "with Dolly Parton," her record label chose to submit it to the Grammies for a "solo" honor), Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl for Best Bluegrass Album (it features Dolly duetting on "Heartbreaker's Alibi") and One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found for Best Historical Album (it features Dolly's 1965 single "Don't Drop Out"). Many fans expected "When I Get Where I'm Going" to snag a nomination, however it was released very near the end last year's award eligibility period but had yet to become a hit when nominations were considered and ended up without a nod that year. It was ineligible for consideration this year. Winners of the 49th Annual Grammy Awards will be revealed live on CBS Feb. 11.
In related news, the charity auction to benefit the Grammy Foundation's MusicCares program featuring an autographed dulcimer and photograph from Dolly ended Thursday afternoon with an impressive closing bid of $910. Congratulations to the winner!
'Acoustic' Set Hits New Chart Peak Eight weeks after debuting on the charts, Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002 reaches a new high on the Dec. 16 bluegrass albums tally, Billboard announced Thursday, rising two spots to No. 8 for the week and passing its previous peak of No. 9. Her 1984 holiday CD with Kenny Rogers, Once Upon A Christmas, gains six to No. 17 in its third week this year on the country catalog albums chart, while it sees a three-point climb to No. 9 for its fifth week this year the Canadian country albums list. A combination re-issue of it and a 1981 solo Rogers holiday album under the title Kenny Rogers Christmas Collection moves up 11 spots to No. 57 country in its second week.
Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, featuring "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Dolly, inches up one to No. 7 country, nine to No. 45 pop and six to No. 51 comprehensive in its 68th chart week. Up north, it slips two to No. 36 Canadian country. Martina McBride's Timeless, with "I Still Miss Someone" featuring Dolly, remains steady at No. 64 country in its 59th chart week, falling three to No. 28 Canadian country. Rogers's 21 Number Ones, featuring "Islands In The Stream," dips one to No. 48 country in its 45th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, featuring the Dolly duet "Heartbreaker's Alibi," gains one to No. 7 bluegrass in its 28th chart week. Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways, with his cover of "Here You Come Again," regains 20 points to No. 135 pop in its 11th week. Carrie Underwood recaptures the top country spot with Some Hearts rising one to No. 1 country, also gaining six to No. 13 pop in its 55th week, while Rascal Flatts' Me & My Gang moves up two to No. 2 country and six to No. 17 pop in its 35th week.
Dolly Defends Simpson The story that seems it just won't die, Jessica Simpson's less-than-stellar take on "9 To 5" at Dolly's Kennedy Center Honors tribute over the weekend, saw a couple of additional developments Thursday. First, Dolly released a statement about the incident to People magazine (here) that brushed off what happened with her trademark humor. "Jessica is so talented that I'm sure that someday they will be paying tribute to her and I would be honored to perform for her," she said. "But I'll probably be so nervous that I'll forget my wig!" The other news came courtesy celebrity news site TMZ (which most recently dominated headlines as the outlet which broke the Michael Richards racial slur controversy). It reported here that Simpson's mother reportedly berated her after the performance, but her father had the opposite reaction, thinking it "cute" and hesitating to agree to producers' requests that she re-record the tune or be cut out of the upcoming Dec. 26 broadcast of the festivities.
Another Boxed Set Review After many glowing reviews, Dolly's recent boxed set got what appears to be its first mixed critique. The writer for Ohio's Columbus Dispatch says the three CDs contained in Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002 are all "good" (conceding Dolly "is incapable of making a bad album"), but claims upon further reflection he feels they fall short of "great" and that the collection would have benefited from being cut to a greatest hits selection on two CDs and the bonus DVD instead of all three full-length records. Read his full comments here.
Ticket Reminder Don't forget that tickets for Dolly's Valentine's night concert in Santa Rosa, Calif., go on sale to the public at noon Pacific time Friday via Tickets.com after several days of pre-sales for Wells Fargo Center members. As has previously been reported, this is one of four February shows which will be her last in the States before heading over to Europe for a month-long tour (although a full American tour is expected for the summer). Plenty of seats remain for the other two West Coast dates currently on sale, Feb. 16 in Indo, Calif., (also at Tickets.com) and Feb. 17 near Las Vegas (via Ticketmaster). Tickets for the other remaining show, Feb. 15 in Santa Barbara County, Calif., will go on sale Dec. 18.
Suggest Some Dolly! Let's get Dolly up for another honor while we're at it! Performing Songwriter magazine is accepting reader recommendations for their list to name the 99 greatest songs of all time. You may submit as many songs as you like here by noon on Dec. 15!
Dec. 7: Cooper: Simpson Was Bad Before Mistakes Nashville's The Tennessean newspaper's celebrities columnist asked its music critic, Peter Cooper, to offer his take on the whole Jessica Simpson fiasco from her Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Dolly, and he wasn't very kind to the young starlet. Read his comments here. And as a gauge of the story's popularity, Yahoo reports here that following initial coverage of the event, searches dramatically increased for several terms related to the boo-boo. The favorite of the site's critic: searches for the phrase "Jessica Simpson runs off stage."
Sly Slips Dolly Some Acclaim Dolly's Rhinestone co-star Sylvester Stallone had some great things to say about her in answering fan questions on Ain't It Cool.com recently. In addition to a very eloquent reply of what a wonderful and talented person she is ("[W]hat you see is only a subtle representative of what she is . . . She's the kind of woman that 100 years ago would've been strong enough to cross the country in a wagon train, fight off Indians if necessary, give birth without any help and then find time to strung a guitar and sing around the campfire."), he reveals that their film was originally expected to be headed up by famed director Mike Nichols, been more serious and less comedic and used a greater variety of music (he had spoken with Whitesnake representatives about providing some rock tunes to be used in contrast to Dolly's songs). Read his full responses here.
Chorus Offers 'With Bells On' There's another Dolly cover available, Chicago Pride reports. In recognition of its 25th anniversary, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus has released its third CD, a holiday collection titled Favorite Things which features their live version of Dolly's "With Bells On." Read more here, and order the CD here.
Canadian Library Profiled The Georgian in Bay St. George, Newfoundland, reports here Wednesday on the recently-launched Canadian efforts for her Imagination Library literacy program.
Stella Coming Back To Atlanta After a smashing success with an appearance there earlier this year, Dolly's little sis Stella will return to Atlanta's Pergola this weekend, I'm told. She'll be at the Piedmont Avenue store from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday to perform her music mixed with some holiday favorites. She'll meet-and-greet fans afterward and sign CDs, while appetizers and "Stellatini" drinks are provided. Thanks!
Dec. 6: Latest On Kennedy Center Kudos Coverage continued on Tuesday following the weekend's Kennedy Center Honors festivities in Washington honoring Dolly and four other legendary artists, but for a second day most of the reports focused on one guest's mistakes of the evening: Jessica Simpson. USA Today offered a slightly longer story here about Simpson's re-shoot of her "9 To 5" performance after the audience went home, saying Dolly watched if backstage and hugged her when it was over. However, E! Online reports here and here that even the second filming of the song found her relying heavily on cue cards and missing at least one line. And Dolly pal Terry Morrow at The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports in his blog here that the show's producers are debating whether to use the second version or just cut Simpson entirely from the edited broadcast of the ceremony, to air on CBS Dec. 26. However, MSNBC provided a clip with audio (the ones I had seen online earlier all had the audio removed), and while anyone familiar with the lyrics would know she messed up, it's not as bad as the reports made it. She looks uncomfortable, but she doesn't sound too horrible. Also, she did receive sizeable applause after her performance, the video showed. The big "silence" everyone touted instead was a few hands hesitantly clapping seconds later, as she walked off stage immediately following her comment about Dolly making her nervous (not appearing to be holding back tears, either). View the video, which is followed by some catty commentary from Michael Musto, here. In other coverage, The Washington Post also focused on the Simpson miscues but in addition provided a few backstage tid-bits as well here, and Knoxville's WBIR gave viewers an opinion piece here on why Dolly was a most deserving recipient of this year's prize.
Dolly Dish Gets Online 'CW' Treatment Although there's nothing but a little photo plug for the recipe in the print issue of Country Weekly, the magazine is offering a special "Jolly Cheesecake Pudding" recipe from Dolly in its online version in celebration of the holidays. "Memories of Christmas are made even sweeter when you share my cheesecake pudding with family and friends," Dolly is quoted as saying. See the formula for Dolly's puddin' here.
Review: 'Acoustic' Set Certainly 'Worth It' Another Associated Press review this week praises the boxed set Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002, saying: "It's Parton's ability to spin love and heartache . . . that make this box set worth it." Read more here.
'Nashville Star' Talent Cites Dolly Influence Nashville Star winner Chris Young cites Dolly as his prime female influence. Asked what women inspired him, he told CMT.com: "I think a lot of people say this, especially as a songwriter -- Dolly Parton is such a talented writer. She's written arguably the biggest love song in history, so I was inspired by that." Read the full interview here.
Charity Auction Nearing End Don't forget to place your bid on the Dolly autographed dulcimer to benefit the Grammy Foundation's MusicCares program providing health and human services to musicians in need. Part of the GRAMMY® Charity Holiday Auction, the offering ends at 4 p.m. Eastern Thursday, and as of Tuesday evening bids had passed $430. Click here to access the auction.
Dec. 5: Kennedy Center Loves Dolly Coverage continued on Monday of Dolly's Kennedy Center Honors, and here's a wrap-up. First, I'd like to offer a recap of the evening thanks to Dollymania reader Rich who was in attendance at the ceremony (which he says ran three-and-half hours with one 15-minute intermission, so a little more than half of it will have to be cut to fit into the two-hour television broadcast on CBS Dec. 26). Following the tributes to Smokey Robinson, Zubin Mehta and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dolly got the next-to-last segment (Steven Spielberg's closed out the program).
Reba McEntire was first up, introducing and narrating a video homage which began with Dolly's home movies from her childhood, several scenes from The Porter Wagoner Show (including a verse of "I Will Always Love You") and The Grand Ole Opry, awards show performances of "Here You Come Again" and "Islands In The Stream," a few clips from 9 To 5 and ending with clips from her recent roots music performances.
Next, Reese Witherspoon took to the stage, talking about watching Dolly's ABC variety series as a child and how she wanted to "be" Dolly, adding how thrilled she was to finally meet her as a surprise during a photo shoot at Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash's home and even more surprised to become friends with her immediately afterward. As she recited her favorite Dolly lines, "I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb and I know I'm not blonde" and "It costs a lot to make a person look so cheap," Dolly mouthed the words "It's true" over the audience's laughter.
Then Carrie Underwood entered singing "Islands In The Stream," soon joined by Kenny Rogers -- although Carrie sang all of Kenny's lines and he sang all of Dolly's. The duet was followed by a trio of Alison Krauss, Suzanne Cox and Cheryl White (with Alison on lead) for "My Tennessee Mountain Home" and "Jolene," Shania Twain on a stool with a guitar for "Coat of Many Colors," Jessica Simpson with the orchestra from "Nine To Five" (more on that later) and Vince Gill with a larger orchestra for "I Will Always Love You." I'm told Dolly was playfully singing along with several of the other performances, but she appeared genuinely moved at Gill's performance, which was apparently one of the best of the evening.
Seated next to Spielberg, I'm told she was seen cracking up repeatedly -- and even slapping him on the back in laughter -- during the tribute to the famed director. Thanks, again, Rich! In other news from the ceremonies:
OK, the big thing everyone was talking about on Monday was Jessica Simpson. The news media and blogs were all a-buzz of her flubbing one of Dolly's best-known songs, "9 to 5" (see a sample story here). Apparently, she was nervous at having to sing in front of her ultimate idol, Dolly, and couldn't remember the words. Relying heavily on cue cards, she still managed to mangle several lines. She finished the song standing completely frozen in place, resulting in no applause from the audience. Reports say she then mumbled that she was so nervous in front of Dolly that she couldn't perform and ran off stage in tears, still crying when all of the artists who paid tribute to Dolly returned to the stage after Gill's performance. However, her nerves may not have been the only cause of her stage fright. Later on Monday, some television stations began posting footage from the performance (see a sample here) saying she was suffering from a wardrobe problem and was holding her dress in place to keep it from falling off. According to published reports, including one from USA Todayhere, Simpson re-shot her performance late Sunday night so a better version may be included in the televised broadcast later this month.
Some of Dolly's guests at the White House and other festivities, in addition to her previously-announced date, producer Steve Buckingham, included sister Stella Parton and son, Tim Rauhoff; lifetime best friend Judy Ogle and former road manager Don Warden.
The Secretary of State's Office on Monday released Condoleezza Rice's statements from Saturday's dinner where the actual awards were presented to the five honorees, and here's what she had to say about Dolly: "Dolly Parton, what a talent. This little girl from Tennessee hills, who became a businesswoman, a movie star, a philanthropist, and of course, the songstress who put country music into the popular ear and on the popular radio and she did it all with unique charm and wonderful wit. She once said, 'I'm not offended by all those dumb blonde jokes, because I know I'm not dumb and I know I'm not blonde.' Well, Dolly, we know you're plenty smart. And as to hair color, every woman in this room will agree that that should be a matter of classified State secrets."
See some photos from the events on Dollymaniahere.
Additional shots are accessible from Getty Images here, here and here.
Other coverage is available from The Knoxville News-Sentinel (Terry Morrow's hilarious blog) here, The Washington Posthere, Nashville's WKRN here, Knoxville's WBIR here, The Tennesseanhere and People magazine here.
Images courtesy The White House.
Ticket Update Overseas Another date on Dolly's European tour may be getting close to joining the "sold out" list. As of Monday, it appeared her March 9 concert in Bergen, Norway, was down to just a handful of seats, suggesting it could sell out in a very short time. Those seats are available from Ticketmaster's Norwegian arm here. And speaking of tickets, don't forget members of the Wells Fargo Center (click here for information on membership) will be able to access pre-sale tickets on Tuesday for her Valentine's night concert in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Dolly Track To Raise Cancer Funds A Dolly guest spot released a year ago with Southern rocker Eric Lee Beddingfield has been included in a project the singer has initiated to raise funds for cancer. Called "Rock The Cure," several of Beddingfield's recordings are now available for 99-cent downloads here, with 49 cents of each download going to the American Cancer Society. Among the songs offered is his cover of "Train, Train," which features guest vocals by Dolly and rifts by Lynard Skynard's lead guitarist Ricky Medlock.
Hazel Lauds Dolly CMT.com columnist Hazel Smith this week opines on country stars gone Hollywood, noting how Dolly was able to stay true to her roots even after moving her career West. Take a read here.
Dec. 4: Dolly Receives Nation's Highest Arts Award Dolly was aglow in the flashbulbs for reporters' lenses -- and a few seats down from the President -- Sunday night accepting her honor as one of this year's five Kennedy Center Honors recipients. Those who attended the ceremony to honor Dolly included Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Simpson (who sang "9 To 5"), Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Kenny Rogers (who performed "Islands In The Stream"), Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and Shania Twain. Check out Sunday night coverage of the honors from USA Todayhere, The Knoxville-News Sentinelhere, The New York Timeshere, The Washington Timeshere (and here) and The Washington Posthere. In recognition of her honor, The Tennessean on Sunday ran a fairly lengthy profile here, with a sidebar on her previously-reported nomination for the newspaper's Tennessean of the Year award here for her literacy efforts and a slideshow of images of her through the years here. The actual honor was bestowed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Saturday night, where Dolly joked: "This is like hillbillies in the city." The honorees were then recognized in a White House reception with the president and first lady on Sunday before moving to the ceremony at the Kennedy Center. See stories on Saturday's events from Reuters here and the Associated Press here and here. There are also numerous photos from the news wire services from Saturday and Sunday available from Yahoo here, and Opera News offered a great overview of how the honorees are chosen here. Dolly's fellow recipients this year were composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, R&B legend Smokey Robinson, director Steven Spielberg and conductor Zubin Mehta. The complete ceremony will air Dec. 26 on CBS.
Canadian Photos Posted Special thanks to reader Solomon for sharing some images he clandestinely snapped at one of Dolly's recent Toronto-area concerts. (Cameras weren't allowed, but many fans slip them in anyway.) Take a peek here. Thanks!
More Praise For Boxed Set The Dallas Morning News over the weekend gave high marks to the recent boxed set Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002 in a look at several roots music collections. Giving it "super high" ratings in "acoustic worth," the reviewer said the package is a splendid collection, although he noted fans who already have all three CDs may find the price a bit steep if all they want is the bonus DVD. Read more here.
Dec. 2: Final Calif. Concert Revealed Dolly's fourth West Coast concert has been set for Feb. 15 at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Barbara County, Calif., it was announced Friday. Casino officials confirm tickets, which will go on sale Dec. 18, will run $85 to $195 each. As was noted here Thursday night, tickets went on sale Friday for Dolly's Feb. 17 concert at Buffalo Bill's Star of the Desert Arena at Primm Valley Resorts outside of Las Vegas. As of Friday evening, seats remained available about half-way back on the main floor. Get yours from Ticketmaster! Also, tickets remain available for her Feb. 16 engagement at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indo, Calif., from Tickets.com, and members of the Wells Fargo Center (click here for information on joining) will be able to buy advance tickets on Tuesday for her Feb. 14 Santa Rosa, Calif., show before they go on sale to the public Dec. 8. These should be the final U.S. shows prior to her European tour in the spring and a three-month U.S. tour, likely in the summer.
Dolly Does D.C.! Dolly's getting some ink in the Washington press in advance of her arrival for this weekend's festivities associated with the Kennedy Center Honors. The Washington Post on Friday offered a gorgeous photo accompanying a gushingly descriptive profile of the legend here featuring interviews with pals Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell as well as Dolly herself, in her Dollywood dressing room to open the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival last month. Its rival paper, The Washington Times, provided a little more toned down story and interview here, although it contained a couple of inaccuracies: It notes she has published more than 600 songs, when in actuality she's published well over 3,000 -- BMI's online database only lists her songs that have been recorded, resulting in a little over 600 results on the publishing clearinghouse's website -- and it says The Porter Wagoner Show had a weekly audience of 45 million viewers when it was actually watched by about 4 million viewers a week. Even Great American Country (GAC) noted this weekend's events in a brief here. The actual awards will be presented to honorees Dolly, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, R&B legend Smokey Robinson, director Steven Spielberg and conductor Zubin Mehta in a private state dinner Saturday night hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will receive them on Sunday at The White House, immediately followed by a gala ceremony and concert at the Kennedy Center's Opera House, which will be videotaped for a Dec. 26 broadcast on CBS. Dolly is just the fifth country artist, and second female country artist, to be selected for the honor. As Dolly has previously said, she will be accompanied by longtime producer Steve Buckingham and will wear a specially-designed Robert Behar white, flowing gown with a train. Although organizers attempt to keep the list of tribute participants secret until the night of the gala, word leaked a while back that Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Simpson will be featured in Dolly's segment.
Vote For Dolly! Don't forget to visit Great American Country (GAC) daily through Monday to vote for your favorite videos of the year, including Dolly's "Imagine," her duet of "When I Get Where I'm Going" with Brad Paisley and her duet of "Heartbreaker's Alibi" with Rhonda Vincent. The top 50 vote-getters will be counted down on the cable network starting 8 p.m. Eastern Dec. 25, and votes are accepted here or on the logo at left, where you also have the opportunity to enter for several great prizes!
Another Mich. Town Joining Library Efforts to bring Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program to Albion, Mich., are covered in Friday's The Jackson Citizen Patriot. The story here details that a fund-raiser held this week kicked off the work there.
George And Dolly? 'CW' Asks Country Weekly is asking in its current cyber poll with whom fans would most like to see George Strait duet. As of Friday evening, Carrie Underwood was leading with 54 percent, compared to Dolly's 35 and Gretchen Wilson's 11. Vote here. Thanks, Solomon!
Another Mystery Mine Update Thanks to Jason for sending in another set of recent shots documenting the construction of next year's major addition at Dollywood, the $17.5 million Mystery Mine coaster. My apologies for the delay in posting them. Take a look here.
Dec. 1: Vegas-Area Date Added For Feb. Tickets will go on sale Friday for another Western U.S. Dolly engagement as she prepares for next year's European tour, it was announced Thursday. She will play Buffalo Bill's Star of the Desert Arena at Primm Valley Resorts, a collection of casinos about 35 south of Las Vegas near the California border, on Feb. 17. Tickets, which run $51.70-$77 each, will be offered via Ticketmaster starting at noon local time Friday.
Have A Holly, Dolly Christmas On The Charts There are actually two versions of Once Upon A Christmas, the 1984 holiday collection by Dolly and Kenny Rogers, on the Dec. 9 Billboard charts, it was revealed Thursday, although Dolly only gets credit for one of them. The latest re-issue of the original album slips one to No. 23 in its second week for this holiday season on the country catalog albums chart, which tracks sales of CDs too old to be allowed on the regular album chart. However, on the main country chart, Kenny Rogers Christmas Collection debuts at No. 68. That CD is actually just a combination of Rogers's 1981 solo album, Christmas, and his Dolly duet album, although it's just listed in his name only ("Featuring Dolly Parton" is noted on the front of the disc, though). In Canada, Kenny & Dolly's original CD gains five to No. 12 in its fourth week on the country albums chart there this year. On the other charts, Dolly Parton: The Acoustic Collection, 1999-2002, rises two to No. 10 in its seventh week on the bluegrass albums chart. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, including their chart-topping and award-winning duet "When I Get Where I'm Going," slips one to No. 8 country, eight to No. 53 pop and 10 to No. 57 comprehensive in its 67th chart week. In Canada, it remains steady at No. 34 country. Martina McBride's Timeless, featuring Dolly on "I Still Miss Someone," inches down one to No. 64 country in its 58th chart week, losing three to No. 25 Canadian country. Rogers's 21 Number Ones, with "Islands In The Stream," moves up one to No. 47 country in its 44th week. Rhonda Vincent's All American Bluegrass Girl, with "Heartbreaker's Alibi" featuring Dolly, rises one to No. 8 bluegrass in its 27th chart week. Clay Aiken's A Thousand Different Ways, with a cover of "Here You Come Again," falls eight to No. 155 pop in its 10th week. Keith Urban's Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing stays at No. 1 country for a third week, dipping four to No. 10 pop by moving 157,000 copies, while Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts moves up one to No. 2 country but drops six to No. 19 pop in its 54th week.
Vincent Disc Still Tops For 'Unlimited' Chart In another magazine, Bluegrass Unlimited, Vincent's album continues to reign. All American Bluegrass Girl holds onto the December list's top album position for a fourth month, while the album's Dolly duet, "Heartbreaker's Alibi," rises three to No. 22 in its fourth month on the tally.
Young Singer Honors Dolly In Song The winner of this year's Dolly singing contest in Sevierville, Tenn., has put out a tribute CD of her idol's music, according to a review in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. The publication gives the collection of Dolly cover tunes, titled Parton Me, great marks for young singer Laura Leigh Jones. Read the review here, and get your copy of the disc from the website for her family band, the Cana Ramblers, here.
'Tele-Buddy' Follows Dolly Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist Terry Morrow, the newspaper's television and celebrities critic who often covers Dolly and Dollywood, announced on his "Tele-Buddy's Tinseltown Tales" blog on the paper's website Thursday that he's off to D.C. to cover Dolly's Kennedy Center honors this weekend, so he invites all to check out his blog here to see what happens!
Dollywood Requiring Tickets For Shows For visitors to the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival at Dollywood through the park's Dec. 30 year-end, starting on Saturday you'll have to pick up free show tickets to watch "Babes in Toyland," "Christmas in the Smokies," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs," it has been announced.