Entertainment » Music

Dolly Parton Wraps Up Blue Smoke World Tour

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Jul 11, 2014

Country music icon and gay favorite Dolly Parton finishes up her eleventh concert tour, the Blue Smoke World Tour, with a wildly successful concert at the Glastonbury Festival, finishing up with concerts in Stockholm and Locarno, Switzerland.

She took time from her hectic traveling schedule to share some of the highlights of her life with the press, including the success of her "Blue Smoke" and "An Evening With Dolly Parton" albums, allegations of lip-syncing at the Festival and her promise to adopt "Doggy Parton," a hound she found after the Glastonbury Festival, if the owners weren't located.

Q: Talk about the background of songs like "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "Miss You, Miss Me" and what you'd say to children who are broken or rejected?

A: When I first heard that song years ago, I thought it sounded like a gospel song from a church where people actually did lay hands on people. So I asked Jon Bon Jovi about reworking it into a gospel song. As far as "Miss You, Miss Me," I had a niece who was going through a divorce, and my grandniece was feeling like she didn't quite understand the problems between her mom and dad. It inspired that song, which was used for a Christmas movie. Too many children are caught up in divorce and made to feel they've done something wrong.

Q: You shipped tour buses from Australia to Europe for this tour. What prompted that?

A: I love living on the bus as opposed to being in and out of hotels, so we have two buses all the time. If we have to fly, we send ahead one of the buses. They are both stocked almost identical, and it gives me a feeling of home. I'm a gypsy, and that's my caravan.

Q: Update us on the status of 'Doggy Parton?'

A: I just got a call from the main government letting me know that the true owners who had reported the dog missing got their dog back, and everyone feels good about it. I was going to rename her Glassie, after the Glastonbury Festival, so I could yell, 'Glassie, come home!' I was sad because I was looking forward to taking him home.

Q: That's disappointing. Are you going to find another dog from Happy Landings Animal Shelter?

A: My heart went out to this dog because it was lost at the festival, but I have a lot of obligations at home. I'm not looking to adopt another dog. This one I was going to make sure she was okay no matter what. I'm kind of disappointed I couldn't take her but they said she wasn't able to travel; she too old and traumatized. I guess God knows what he's doing. But I was not going to drop the ball, nor the dog.

Q: Your connection to the gay community is so strong; is there a song these fans really connect with?

A: A lot of them like "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," because it's uplifting and about overcoming things. But I think they relate in general to me and my music. I would like to do a dance record and several of those songs are very positive toward the community. The song "Just a Wee Bit Gay" is real funny, and I do write a lot of songs along that line that appeal to people who are unusual or different.

Q: You've said the town tramp was a fashion inspiration for you. Do you have any style icons today?

A: Anything that glitters and shines, anything colorful I love. I buy clothes two sizes too small, then I have them taken in. I like clothes to fit me real good, like the town tramp growing up. She had lots of flair -- nails, hair, she showed her ribs and boobs; I just felt she was absolutely beautiful... and it fit my style. I don't know even if she knew she was the town tramp. But those who catch my eye is anybody bold enough to do something different. The biggest crock is that less is more -- more is more, and I always want more!

Q: You've been crossing over into pop for decades. How do you straddle the line between pop and country, conservative vs. liberal?

A: I don't usually get into political stuff, I'm just Dolly all the way through, an accepting American girl. I write songs, do my thing, say what I say and people accept it or not. I've been around so long people think of me as a family member. I'm just a human being trying to do the best I can.

Q: In the midst of your world tour, do you notice any significant differences between overseas audiences and American audiences?

A: The main difference is that in America, they know that they're going to get to see you because you're there all the time. When you're overseas, they let you know how glad they are to see you. They are so appreciative, there's an excitement you can't hardly describe. We make the absolute most of this! I give them everything I've got, in case don't get to come back for years and years.

Q: How was it to play before a staggering 100,000 people at Glastonbury?

A: It was a sea of people, but I enjoyed it. It didn't scare me. But looking out, it was more people than I've ever seen at one time. It turned into something real special, and made me feel real good that people accepted me.

Q: How do you feel about all that nonsense there about whether you were lip-syncing or not?

A: My boobs are fake, my hair's fake, but I'm Dolly and I'm right there singing. Someone is always going to have something negative to say, but I just roll with the punches. They even talked about 'Doggy Parton,' asking was she barking or lip-synching. We just took it in stride.

Q: You sang "Jolene" there, and 40 years after you wrote it, it's still so recognized.

A: I'm just so proud of that little song. It's been recorded by more artists than any of my others. It's bouncy, and lots of people relate to it. As for me, I just keep a good attitude, stay busy and be creative -- I don't think the years matter so much if you make yourself busy. You see yourself getting older as the years go by, but you take care of it with good doctors, good makeup and a good attitude.

Q: Do you have future plans for touring any new music?

A: I'm going to take off a little while. I'm doing my life story as a musical and as a movie with a lot of music, and possibly TV and producing. I've done this world tour and I'm winding it up soon, but as the years go by I'll be doing other things.

Q: Your music was featured in "From Hollywood to Dollywood," but you haven't acted since "A Joyful Noise." Will you get back into it?

A: Only if I get good scripts. I would like to do movies and TV movies of the week; I'm always looking for a good script.

Q: You are about to go platinum with your Cracker Barrel exclusive, "An Evening with Dolly Parton." How does it feel at this point in your career to still be recording gold and platinum albums?

A: Anything good that happens to me I'm always grateful for. The fact that people still love my music is great, but I would still be doing it even if I had to sell CDs out of the trunk of my car.

Q: You're about to go to Switzerland for your final European shows. What's the tour been like?

A: It's been an absolutely wonderful tour! The audiences have been great, and we're closing in Switzerland at one of the most beautiful vineyards, so it couldn't end on a better note. It's a great way to head home and I hope to give my best show yet!

For more information, visit www.dollypartonentertainment.com/

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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