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| 22 July 2014 | Reply

Every once in a while a legend jumps on the phone and you take the call, whether you get to have direct dialogue or just be a part of something cool for  20 minutes in the middle of your day.  Such is the case with a recent remote press conference Dolly Parton conducted from the road, as she winds down her world tour to promote Blue Smoke and the European release, Blue Smoke – The Best Of.  The former reached #2 and #6 on the Billboard Country Chart and Billboard Top 200 respectively.  The latter reached #6 on the UK charts, in addition to being certified Gold.  Having sold over 100 Million records worldwide, Dolly was recently recognized for this accomplishment in front of an amazing 100,000 fans at a recent Glastonbury Festival appearance.  With no further delay, I give you Dolly Parton…


Interviewer: I was wondering if you could talk about the background of “Lay Your Hands On Me” and “Miss You, Miss Me” and what you would say to children who are feeling broken or rejected, either because of their families or their churches.

Dolly: Well the first of all, the background on “Lay Your Hands On Me,” I just always loved that song, and when I first heard it years ago, it just sounded like a Gospel song, because I grew up in the church where people did lay hands on just to pray for the sick or just to make you feel better, just for the spiritual thing. I decided it would be a good album, or a good song to turn into a Gospel song, just having a conversation with God, and so I asked Jon Bon Jovi and Richie [Sambora] if they would consider reworking it, and working it into a Gospel tune, and they were willing to do that, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. As far as the “Miss You, Miss Me” song, I actually, I had a niece that was going through a divorce, and my little grand-niece that was part of that whole divorce was feeling like she just didn’t quite understand why there were such problems between her mom and her dad, and so that’s what inspired that particular song, and I also used it for a Movie of the Week, a Christmas movie, that had a subject about one of the little girls, the little main character in that movie, was going through a similar thing with her parents. I just think that so many children get caught up in the divorce, and the children are left to be, made to feel like they’ve done something wrong when two grown people, even if they can’t get along, should be more considerate where the children concern.

Debra Evans Price: Good morning. I heard that you had shipped your busses from Australia to Europe for this tour. What prompted you to do that?

Dolly: Well, because I love living on the bus, and we’ve been on tour so many times through the years, and I’ve found that I just love living on the bus as opposed to going in and out of hotels because I can always keep all of my things on the bus. We have two buses running all the time on these tours. If we have to fly from point A to point B, we always have one of the busses that are almost identical, that are stocked almost the same way, so it just gives me a feeling of being home all the time. I don’t have to scatter my stuff. I don’t have to carry all that luggage in and out of hotels. I’m just a gypsy. This is my caravan.

Randi Darn: Hi, Dolly. Can you update us on the status of Doggy Parton and when you’ll know if you’re taking her home?

Dolly: Yes, as a matter of fact, in the last five minutes, just before we went on, we got a call from the main people with the government, and they told us that the true owners did come forward. They had reported the dog missing. It was a language barrier. I think they were from another country, and they got the dog back. Everybody feels good about. I do not get to take her home. I was looking forward to it. I was going to rename her Glassy because of Glastonbury. I was going to say “Glassy comes home,” but they wanted her, and they feel good about that. I have been very instrumental in making sure that the dog has been taken care all the way through with the needs and the research of the owners. Now they have her back. She’s 15 years old. They thought at one time she was seven, but she’s 15, and so everybody’s happy she is back where she belongs, and I feel kind of sad because I was looking forward to taking her home, but I’m just glad she’s back where she belongs, and they feel good about. The Happy Landing shelter has a happy ending now.

TJ: Your connection to the gay community is so strong and undeniable. Is there a song or album that you over the years have always heard from your gay fans that they particularly connect with?

Dolly: I think a lot of my fans relate to different songs. A lot like the song “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.” It’s a very uplifting song. It’s really kind of a song of overcoming different things. I think they relate to just my songs in general. Hopefully, I think they relate to me more than any particular song. At some point, I would like to do a dance record, and I have several songs that are very positive toward the gay community, like I have a fun little song called “Just a Wee Bit Gay.” It’s a great little dance tune, and it’s just funny and it’s got a lot of comedy in it. Anyhow, so I do write a lot of songs along those lines of people that are different and unusual, and people that are just themselves, and people won’t allow them to be who they are.

Christy [from People]: I’m going to go back to the Doggy Parton thing for just five seconds, but you mentioned being disappointed about not being able to take her home with you. Do you think that you’ll find a new dog to adopt from the Happy Landing shelter to maybe bring back to America?

Dolly: Well, no, I don’t believe we’ll be looking for one. I have a big responsibility at home. I just really, my heart went out to this poor dog because of the way … I just thought it was just meant to be somehow. It was just so touching to me that she got lost there at the festival where we were, and I’m most definitely was going to make sure, when we all became aware that this dog was lost and found like that, just really broke our hearts that someone could abandon it. I’m not looking to adopt another dog. This one was the one I was definitely going to make sure that she was okay, no matter what. I would’ve taken her, raised her. I would’ve changed her name to Glassy for Glastonbury. I couldn’t very well call her Dolly. I already called her Glassy Doggy Parton. I was kind of disappointed I didn’t get to take her, but I’m very happy that she’s back where she’ll be comfortable and safe. They told me also at the end that she would’ve been too old to have traveled. I would not have been able to take her had they not found the owner, because she was not in great health and 15 years old, and they thought it was going to be … It would’ve traumatized her to have traveled, so I guess God knows what He’s doing and everything’s back in order, and I’m just thankful that everybody played their part, and I was not going to drop the ball nor the dog. Now she’s safe, and everything’s good.

Bob Paxman: I wanted to ask you, since you’re in the midst of this world tour, if there is a, maybe a significant difference between overseas audiences and American audiences, perhaps in the way they react or respond to certain songs?

Dolly: Yeah, I think that … The main difference is, I think in America people know that they can … They’re great, I mean, I love all my audiences, and they’re all wonderful, but I think in America, they know that they’re going to get to see you because you’re there are all the time, but the main difference is when you’re overseas, you don’t get to come that often, and they really, really, really go all the way to let you know how much they love you, how happy they are to see you. If they don’t see you again, they just want you to remember that they appreciated you being there, so it’s really, there’s an excitement that you can hardly describe. It’s really just the time and space of “I don’t know when I’ll see you but here you are, so let’s just make the absolute most of this.” That’s how I respond to them as well, so I’ll try to give them everything I possibly can in case I don’t get a chance to come back for years and years or ever. They’re a wonderful audience, and I love them all. Don’t take nothing from my American audience. I love them also.

Ned Hepburn: I’m doing an article on heartbreak, and I was basically wondering how you, Dolly Parton, would get over heartbreak.

Dolly: The way that everybody else does. You have to just … You just have time enough to heal all wounds, as they say, and I’m one of those people that I wound easy but I heal fast. You just have to … I always thought about a broken heart is like a broken bone. I even wrote about that in a song. It’s like it has to … A broken heart is like a broken wing. It must have it time to mend. It’s like any other injury, and it’s usually a terrible, terrible heartache usually takes about a year to really, really heal, but some of you can heal a little faster, but you just got to look at it like an injury, and you just try to think positive, try to live above it, try to live beyond it. You got to wallow with that sorrow while it lasts. You can’t outrun it. You’ve got to roll with the sorrow too.


Nelson Garcia: I’m with 55 Plus magazine in Southeast Florida. We have a 55 plus population of about two million in this area, and they would love to know how you maintain such an abundant positive energy over almost five decades of your career, and secondly, you just performed “Jolene” at the Glastonbury Festival 40 years after its release in 1974. How does it make you feel that this song is still so recognized?

Dolly: First of all, “Jolene,” I’m just so proud of that little song. A lot of people don’t realize that that’s the song that I’ve written that has been recorded more than any other song by other artists throughout the world, and I still enjoy singing it, and it makes me feel great that that song … I think it’s just so easy to sing. It’s just got that bouncy little feeling. I think a lot of people relate to it. I’m very proud of “Jolene” and glad people are still liking it. As far as the other stuff, well, I just work … I have a good attitude. I love my work. I think it’s important that people be busy, stay busy, try to be creative, and I don’t think the years matter so much if you really let yourself be. Of course, you see yourself getting older, you notice little things as the years go by, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop. You just need to take care of those things as they come along, but keep a good attitude about everything else. I try to keep myself busy and creative. I have good doctors, good makeup, and good attitude, and whatever it takes to keep myself looking better and feeling better. That’s what I’m going to try to do from now on.

Annie [from CBS]: Yes, I’m here. Hi Dolly. I wanted to know if you had any future plans for touring after this summer and if you’re working on any new music as well?

Dolly: Well, I’m going to take off a little while. I’m working on some new music. I’m doing my life story as a musical. I’m also doing my life story as a movie, which also has a lot of music, and I might possibly do some television and some producing, so I’ve got a lot of other business thoughts in mind, but I do not plan to do any more touring in the near future. We’ve done this world tour, and we’re winding that up pretty soon. I’m sure as years go by, we’ll be doing other things, but for now I’m going to concentrate more on more of the business end of the things and the creative stuff, like I said, the musical and the movies and the TV.

Stephen Betz: Dolly, since you talked about the movie, I’m wondering … Obviously, you had a presence in the movie from Hollywood to Dollywood, but we haven’t seen you act in a film since Joyful Noise. Is acting something that you are likely to get back into soon?

Dolly: Only if I get good scripts. I’m not opposed to it. I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to do, but I do hope to do some more movies. I would like to do, as I mentioned, some TV things as well, maybe some TV movies of the week, and do some … If I get a great script for a movie, I’m certainly not opposed to ding it, but for now we, actually after Joyful Noise, we went right into working on our world tour, so I got back into the music and recording our new Blue Smoke CD, which we have out now, and we’ve been promoting that along with the world tour. If the movies come in, yes, we’ll do it, and always looking for a good script, though.

Tommy Garrett: Dolly, you just played Glastonbury in the United Kingdom. I’d like to know how it felt to play for a crowd of a staggering 100,000 people at this point in your career.

Dolly: Well, there were a lot of people that I’ll tell you it’s a sea of people, but to me, I enjoyed it. It didn’t scare me. I’ve worked in front of a lot of people, but that was a lot of people, but to me, I look at those fans. I just love them all. They can be 100,000, they can be 10,000, but I still just play to them all the same. Looking out, I have to say in Glastonbury, it was more people than I’ve ever seen at one time just looking out it. We had a really good time. They seemed to enjoy it. Got a lot of great positive press. I was really shocked and surprised that we did as well as we did. I wasn’t really expecting anything other than just to go out and do my show, but it’s turned into something really special, and it makes me feel real good that people accepted me that well.

Winnie McCrory: Hi, Dolly. I’m calling because you’re about to go platinum with your Cracker Barrel exclusive, An Evening with Dolly Parton, and I wanted to ask you, how does it feel at this point, decades into your career, to still be putting out these gold and platinum albums?

Dolly: Well, you know what? It’s just, anything good that ever happens to me, I’m always grateful for it. I don’t care how old I get. Any little award or any kind of acknowledgement. The fact that people still love my music and the fact that I still want to do it. I always say that I would still be doing my music even if I had to sell it out of the trunk of my car, so it makes feel good. My relationship with Cracker Barrel has been great. They’re absolutely wonderful. We make a great team, so we’re very proud of all the success, of all the records. Blue Smoke is doing great right now; we’re very excited that it’s doing so great.

Mickey Boardman: Hi, Dolly. I love how you’ve always said that the town tramp was the fashion inspiration for you as a young girl. You’ve become such a fashion icon for so many people, and I’m wondering if you could talk about what it was about the town tramp that you liked so much and if you have any fashion icons today, who you are always excited about, see how they’re dressing.

Dolly: Well, I actually love anything that glitters and shines. I love a lot of color. I love close-fitting clothes. You know me. I always say I buy clothes two sizes two small, and then I have them taken in a little bit. I just really like my clothes to fit me good, and that was one of the things about the town tramp. She had a lot of color, a lot of flair. She showed her legs, she showed her boobs, she showed her waistline. She had on the nails. She had her hair all piled up. She just was really … I just thought she was absolutely beautiful. That’s the way I felt inside. I’m not a natural beauty. I wasn’t born with all of that stuff, so I kind of have to paint and powder and put it all on. The way I dress just kind of fits the way I feel, and I’ve always been very comfortable with that. It honestly is the truth that I pattern my look after that because I was impressed. To me, that was what beauty was, and that just fit my style right down. I just, anybody now, you said do I have any … I just always … it catches my eye, if anybody’s bold enough to do something a little different, and I still love all the flair and the gaud.

Mickey: Did you ever keep in touch with the town tramp? Does she know how she inspired you?

Dolly: Oh, absolutely not. I didn’t … I knew her name, but I would never, ever, ever use it because I don’t know if her folks knew she was the town tramp. I don’t know if she knew she was the town tramp. She probably wasn’t a tramp. She may have been very much like me, just somebody that wanted to do more. They always say that less is more. I always thought that was the biggest crock I ever heard. More is more. Less is less.

Ray Rose: First of all, congratulations at Glastonbury. I’ve never seen anything quite so engaging. What a tremendous performance. I wondered, how did you feel about all that nonsense about whether you were miming or not?

Dolly: Oh I, you know what? Every time I go on tour, I hear that. I just … I like people to just come and watch, see what I do, and then you tell me what you think. They say that about every artist, and I’m not getting into that. I’m right there. I’m Dolly, and I’m singing, and I don’t think … Somebody’s always got to have something negative to say, and so I just roll with the punches.

Ray: I must admit, I felt exactly the same. I thought, just take the performance for what it was, world class performance, and something incredibly engaging, and then there was that negativity.


Dolly: They even talked about the dog. There was a cute thing on one of the stories about the dog, the Dolly Dog. Was she barking or was she lip-syncing. I think that was pretty funny. Was the dog barking or was she lip-syncing. Anyway, me and the dog, we just took it in stride.

David Leftkowitz: You’ve been crossing over into pop for decades, but how do you still straddle this country music kind of image problem where media portrays them as kind of conservative, right wing, anti-Obama, anti-abortion, kind of “Honk if you love America” versus liberal left-wing Hollywood. How do you straddle that line, and how do you suggest other country artists do the same?

Dolly: Well, I don’t usually get into any of the political stuff. I’ve been Dolly all the way through. People know who I am. They know I’m very open and loving of all people, excepting of all things. I’m an American girl. I’ve got the freedom to do whatever, and I’ve been always blessed with that. I just write my songs. I do my thing my own way. I say what I say, and people either accept it or don’t. I think people, I’ve been around so long, people just kind of think of me as a family member, and I think they know I’m not out to do any harm nor to get too political on anything. I’m just a … I’m just a living human being trying to the best I can.

Interviewer: All right, thank you, everyone, for joining the call today. Dolly, just one more question. You’re about to go to Switzerland, and it’ll be your last shows, and there’s some people on the call from Switzerland, so just wanted to get your viewpoint on wrapping up the European tour and just a quick recap of your feelings of what it’s like over here in Europe and closing it out in Switzerland before going home.

Dolly: First of all, we’ve had an absolute wonderful, absolute wonderful tour. The whole European tour, everywhere we’ve been, the audiences have been great, and the fact that we are closing out in Switzerland is absolutely great, and they say it’s one of the most beautiful venues that we’ll play. It’s an outdoor show. We’re looking forward to that, and we couldn’t end on a better note, so I’m so looking forward to that, and so that’s going to be a great way to end it, and great way to head home, and hopefully, that’ll be our best show yet.

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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