Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton could very well be enjoying the busiest year of her life. And that makes sense because she’s not about finding a comfortable chair, putting her feet up and sitting anything out. She has way too much energy for that and has that unique larger-than-life quality that only a few possess.

Dolly Parton is busy because she is a multi-layered individual. She is not only a famous country singer, but also a songwriter, actress, author, producer, collaborator, business woman, humanitarian.

The past year has been extra busy because of an old release and a new release in her career.

Full box of crayons…

It was Parton’s memories of home and faith that inspired her signature hit, “Coat Of Many Colors.” This song has taken on new life and meaning due to the December release of a made-for-television film for NBC called “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors. Alyvia Alyn Lind starred in the role of Parton as a nine-year old who was given a patchwork coat made by her mother, played by Jennifer Nettles formerly of Sugarland. Rick Schroder portrayed Parton’s father and Gerald McRaney portrayed her grandfather.

The film drew a record-breaking audience of nearly 16 million viewers and became available on DVD in May of this year. Dolly Parton received the Tex Ritter Award for the film at the Academy of Country Music Awards this year.

“I knew Tex Ritter,” stated Parton. “I loved him, so that makes this award twice as special to me. This is a great honor to be able to accept something that’s so personal to me like The Coat of Many Colors, a true story from my childhood.”

Parton was also one of the honorees at the annual Christopher Awards held in May of this year for the film, which earned the Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspiring TV Program from the Movieguide Awards.

“I love the Christopher Award slogan, ‘Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,’” she stated. “I personally believe that with all my heart. I think the movie “Coat of Many Colors” does throw a light on a lot of things like family, hope, love, kindness, understanding and acceptance. It really spoke to the issue of bullying. I am very proud at how God works through me to shine a light, and to help heal a lot of hurt in a lot of people, and I am very proud of this award.”

The song itself has been a reoccurring theme in her life this year because Parton will publish a children’s book, Coat of Many Colors, with all-new illustrations created by Brooke Boynton-Hughes on October 18. The book will feature “Making Fun Ain’t Funny,” a downloadable exclusive original song written by Parton.

Following the publication of the book, NBC will air the sequel Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. All of the original actors will reprise their roles for this film.

Keeping it simple...

The new release that came out  in August and keeps Dolly Parton in the forefront is her 43rd studio album, Pure & Simple. It is the first release of her joint venture—Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville—and one on which she wrote and produced all of the 10 songs, each dealing with the theme of love. During its very first week, the album reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart with a first-week sales of 20,000 units. It also landed in the No. 11 slot on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.

Walmart’s version of Pure & Simple includes a bonus disc, featuring Parton’s greatest hits and exclusive tracks. The Cracker Barrel version contains the album complemented by two tracks, the smash hits “Jolene” and “9 To 5” recorded live at Glastonbury Festival, along with a 48-page ZinePak magazine filled with photos and interviews highlighting memorable stories from Parton.

She first recorded two of the songs on Pure & Simple back in the ’70s, and one is from her Dollywood show “My People.” But the rest are new and recorded just for the album. She premiered the lyric video only a few days ago for her new single “Head Over High Heels,” and it’s just as pink as you’d expect a Dolly Parton lyric video to be — pink flowers, pink letters, pink dresses, pink lipstick, pink shoes, and a bedazzled pink T-shirt bearing the name of the song.

The album coincides with her 50th wedding anniversary this year and she says her relationship with her husband, Carl Dean, still inspires a lot of her music.

“When I did this whole album, I thought of him a lot, because I thought of all the feelings and all the things we’d been through in our life,” she stated. “I often think of Carl when I’m writing songs, even funny songs, because he’s got a great sense of humor, which is one of the reasons we’ve stayed together for so long. He’s pleasant and fun to be around.”

Besides, she said, “this was just a good year to write an album of love songs.”

“I actually get ideas from Carl’s people, my people, friends—things that people are going through that I think would make a good story,” she explains. “I can pull off of their emotions because what they’re going through touches me deep, if they’re sad or things have gone awry. It gives me a chance to write for them.”

This summer, Parton embarked on her “Pure & Simple” tour traveling to 60 cities across North America and Laughlin is lucky enough to be part of that tour.

But there is still more…

While the movie and the album have kept her busy, Dolly Parton has other items on her itinerary for this year.

For one, she stars as Noleen the singing chicken in a new preschool series “Lily’s Driftwood Bay.”

For another, a first-of-its-kind, mashup music video called “Forever Country” features Dolly Parton along with Willie Nelson and the late John Denver, and several legendary and current country music artists. The songs are, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “On the Road Again” and “I Will Always Love You.”  The music hit radio airwaves on Fri, Sept. 16, and the video debuted on Tues, Sept 20.

Proceeds from the sale of “Forever Country” benefit the CMA Foundation, which donates millions to support music education in schools.

And yet one more Parton related release is the one by the Grammy winning a capella group, Pentatonix, on which they feature the single “Jolene” with Parton singing on the song she wrote back in 1973.

For a listen to both the Pentatonix “Jolene” and the “Forever Country” go to YouTube. You’ll be impressed.

By the numbers…

While new is good, Dolly Parton has the credits for her body of work that are country Mount Rushmore status. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career Top 10 country albums—a record for any artist—and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, and digital downloads during her career have topped 100 million worldwide. She has garnered eight Grammy Awards, two Academy Award nominations, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 7 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards, and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Parton has received 46 Grammy nominations, tying her with Bruce Springsteen for the most Grammy nominations and placing her in tenth place overall. In 1999, Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

She has composed over 3,000 songs and is one of the few to have received at least one nomination from the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards and Emmy Awards.

Dolly Parton has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress presented her with their Living Legend Award for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the United States.

But most importantly, she is Dolly just being Dolly, an iconic celebrity of the first degree.



Laughlin Event Center

Friday, September 30. 8 p.m.; doors open 6:30 p.m. (See Showtimes for tickets)