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| Saturday, 22 Jul 2017
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Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke

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Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke album       

By Nelson A. Garcia         

2014 was a very busy year for Dolly Parton. Earlier in the year, Dolly released her new album entitled ‘Blue Smoke.’ In the summer of the same year, she finished her Blue Smoke World Tour. During her tour, 55+ Magazine was given the opportunity to participate in a virtual press conference from Stockholm (Dolly was performing there) with 70 other journalists from around the globe. Our magazine was honored to be chosen to be one of the few to ask Dolly a question. We are going to open this article with this question and Dolly’s response.

55+: “We have a 55+ population of about 2 million living here in Southeast Florida and they would love to know how you maintain such an abundant positive energy over 5 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 the song is still so recognized?”

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

Dolly’s new album, ‘Blue Smoke’ was number 42 in her incredible music career. All her albums have reached Top 10 status on the country charts with 6 (so far) reaching number 1. ‘Blue Smoke’ was released in many countries during her Blue Smoke World Tour and it is her highest-charting solo album ever. Her tour covered many different regions of the world including Australia, New Zealand, the United States and several European countries. On June 29, 2014, Dolly performed for the first time at the UK Glastonbury Festival. She sang songs such as ‘Jolene’ and ‘9 to 5’ to a large crowd of over 100,000. At this event, Dolly held a press event where she received a plaque celebrating sales of 100 million albums worldwide. This great honor was bestowed by the Recording Industry Association of America. After receiving this plaque, Dolly said “I’ve been so busy making records for the past several decades, I didn’t realize I had racked up so many sales. What a great honor to know that I have so many fans that have supported me through the years. Thanks to the RIAA for the acknowledgment and the plaque…. I feel very honored and proud.”

Dolly is one of the most-honored female country performers of all time. The list would be quite lengthy if we were to mention all of the awards given to Dolly. Some of these include Grammys, American Music Awards, and Country Music Association Awards for her work in the music industry. The list would be even longer to include all of her nominations. She is very proud of the songs she has written and when asked, Dolly said, “I’ve always been a writer. My songs are the door to every dream I’ve ever had and every success I’ve ever achieved.” 

Dolly also has many nominations for her work in films. Some of her memorable performances included roles in ‘9 to 5,’ ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,’ ’ Steel Magnolias’ and ‘Joyful Noise,’ just to name a few. She received two Oscar nominations, one for writing the title tune to ’9 to 5’ and the other for ‘Travelin’ Thru’ from the film ‘Transamerica.’

Her work in television is just as impressive. Many of our readers remember Dolly closing her TV show each week with her signature song, ‘I Will Always Love You.’ We sat in front of our television sets feeling that Dolly was singing directly to us and it was very moving. In 2006, she received the ‘Kennedy Center Honors’ from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts.

Even with all these honors, she has always been a very ‘real’ person. Going to Dolly’s website you can read about the bronze statue of her, which stands on the courthouse lawn in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. Dolly says it’s her “greatest honor, because it came from the people who know me.”

Early Years

Dolly was born in Sevier County, Tennessee to Robert Lee Parton, a tobacco farmer, and his wife Avie Lee. Parton’s father paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a bag of oatmeal. She was fourth of twelve children and she has described her family as being “dirt poor”. Her early songs: ‘Coat of Many Colors’ and ‘In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)’ recalled her family’s poverty. They lived in a rustic, one-room cabin in Locust Ridge just north of the Greenbrier Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains, a predominantly Pentecostal area. Music played an important role in her early life. Dolly began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, she moved to Nashville. Her initial success in Nashville came as a songwriter. Her first country single, “Dumb Blonde” (one of the few songs that she recorded but did not write), reached #24 on the country music chart in early 1967, followed the same year with “Something Fishy”, which went to #17. The two songs were part of her first full-length album, ‘Hello, I’m Dolly.’ 

Dolly Parton has a wonderful long history of success and you can read more about it on her website www. dollypartonentertainment.com where you can also find her albums and many other gift items. •

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