MusicRow Chats With Country Legend Dolly Parton (Part 1)

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• April 11, 2012

Dolly Parton just released her two-disc DVD/CD collection An Evening With…Dolly exclusively to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations, and it features performances from Dolly’s sold-out O2 Arena concert in London. The two-disc DVD and CD set also includes personal stories and backstage footage showing the inner workings of her show. Included are performances of her hits including “Coat of Many Colors,” “9 to 5,”  “Jolene,” “Here You Come Again,” and “I Will Always Love You,” along with live bonus tracks “Shattered Image” and “My Tennessee Mountain Home.”

The iconic country performer also has several upcoming media appearances to promote the release. Today (4/11), Dolly will appear on the syndicated mid-day program The Better Show. This  Saturday (4/14), she will appear on CMT Insider as well as Fox News Channel’s Huckabee. Both shows re-air Sunday (4/15).

Next week, Dolly will join GAC’s On The Streets on Tuesday (4/17). She will also spend time with ABC’s The Revolution with Tim Gunn for a two-part piece scheduled to air 4/26 and 4/27. Other upcoming appearances include The Dr. Steve Show and The Balancing Act.

MusicRow recently sat down with Dolly to discuss An Evening with… Dolly, how Whitney Houston affected her life, the new Water and Snow Park venture in Nashville, her future plans and more. Part one of the chat appears below.

Given the number of songs you’ve written, how did you go about choosing the ones you put on this compilation?

It’s not an easy job. You just figure out what you think they’ll enjoy the most and what you can entertain them with the most, what your best stories would be about this song, or how that song came to be. You have to leave out so much stuff, it breaks your heart! I think this album has something for everybody, all the hits with stories about them. People like to hear me talk and I never know when to hush! I think the eleven songs and the two bonus tracks are a good showing. Plus, what was great about this DVD, is that we did a lot of behind the scenes footage. People like that too.

How are your fans different in the United States compared to Europe?

We have wonderful fans and I appreciate them all. But here, they know they can see you the next time you perform. You’re not out of reach. Since I don’t get there that often, when I go overseas, they’re glad to get to see you. And they want to be over excited because they want you to come back. Sometimes they get a little rowdier, only because they’re excited and they want you to know they love you so.

How did your partnership with Cracker Barrel come about?

Cracker Barrel’s a country store; I’m a country girl. We worked with them before on “Backwoods Barbie.” They do great selling gospel, bluegrass, and country. We’re a perfect team. For me to sit on the front porch and rock is nothing unusual for me! The fact that we did the show overseas is kind of a plus ‘cause it’s like country people getting to go on a trip.

On the DVD, you talk about a song you wrote in New York, called “Only Dreamin’.” I love the unique arrangement. Could you comment on what influenced that particular arrangement?

That song influenced that arrangement. I was in New York and we were doing rehearsals for the Broadway musical 9 to 5. It was my birthday. I usually try to write something on my birthday every year. So I was just riding in the limousine looking out at the skyline and thinking, “Lord, here I am in New York City all the way from the Smoky Mountains.” And I was just singing in the back of the car, “Oh, I know I’m only dreaming…”  just to take myself back home. I thought, “Wow! This is kinda an usual feeling being in the big city writing something that mountain-ish!” I got out of the car and was writing it on the back of my 9 to 5 script because I didn’t have paper. A woman said, “Do you need anything?” I said, “No, I am writing a song and I need to get somewhere I can…”  She said, “Do you need a piano?” I said, “No, you don’t have a dulcimer, do you?” After I got back from New York, I went into the studio with Kent Wells and said, “Kent, I wrote a song that I really think is good but I didn’t put it down with any music. So I was standing in the studio and I just starting singing the whole song a cappella. Kent said, “God, I love that!” So he just started putting instruments on it. He started adding what he felt was that old-timey sound and tuned his guitar down into that old mountain sound. So it was all based on my original emotion singing it a cappella. And that’s one of my favorites too, by the way. I love to sing it cause I love those honking, pitiful sounds.

• • • •

Visit here for Part 2 of MusicRow’s chat with Dolly Parton.

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About the Author

Sherod Robertson is President and Owner of MusicRow Enterprises. He oversees all operations and develops strategic initiatives for MusicRow magazine, RowFax, and MusicRow's CountryBreakout chart. Robertson previously served as Director of Finance of Arista Records after beginning his career as Vice President of Finance and CFO at Reunion Records.

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