Feb. 28: 'Barbie' Tops iTunes, SXSW Back On Dolly's new CD, Backwoods Barbie, did even better on its second day of release than the first. The collection topped the country downloads chart at iTunes in the U.S., Canada and U.K., going No. 1 in all three countries. There aren't indications yet of how well sales are going in physical stores, but I would expect the CD to likely debut in the top 10 country albums when the March 15 charts are released in another week.
In related news:
Dolly's March 14 appearance at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is back on, festival organizers have indicated. Although the performance falls just five weeks after doctors' orders for six-to-eight weeks of rest for a back injury were announced, the SXSW website on Wednesday returned Dolly's name to the festival's official performer roster here more than two weeks after having been removed from the list when she announced all February and March concerts were being postponed.
Los Angeles radio station Go Country 105 on Wednesday added streaming audio of Dolly's call-in radio interview from Tuesday for the release of the new album. Take a listen here. Thanks, Mike!
Seattle radio station KMPS is taking votes here for and against the CD's next single, "Jesus & Gravity." Thanks, Chad!
Digital Spy continued its Dolly coverage Wednesday with "10 Things You Never Knew About Dolly Parton," posted on the website here, although it contains a few errors, including repeating the false story that her breasts are insured for $600,000.
I've listened to the live bonus tracks for the disc and can report that they are the same as were released last year in a promotional newspaper insert CD in the U.K., but they have been re-mixed and remastered to sound considerably better than on that release.
'Better' Falls Again On Chart News wasn't so positive, though, for the CD's first single, "Better Get To Livin'." Billboard revealed Wednesday that the track is dangerously close to falling back off the country singles tally. In its 16th chart week, the song drops another five digits to No. 60 on the 60-position chart reflecting airplay for the week of Feb. 18-24. During that time, the song saw 50 spins at reporting radio stations, down from 59 the previous week, resulting in an audience of 538,000, down 131,000 from the previous week. On the PowerSource Christian country singles chart, however, it rises two places to No. 16 in its fourth week.
Latest Library Coverage The kick-off of Dolly's Imagination Library chapter in Hillsborough County, Fla., garnered two articles in The Tampa Tribunehere and here (both of which note that Dolly personally donates $1 million annually to the international literacy program) and The St. Petersburg Timeshere. In a related story, The Chicago Sun-Times interviewed her here about Dolly's Dixie Fixin's, the cookbook she wrote to benefit the program, and recent developments in her life and career.
Feb. 27: 'Barbie' Moves On Tuesday The release of Dolly's Backwoods Barbie on Tuesday gained a great deal of attention. In addition to brief mentions of its release in several newspapers, the CD brought a series of her best quotes and photos from her career on Entertainment Weekly's website here and a recap of photos over the years on Digital Spyhere. Indications were the disc was doing well. Online copies sold out from Best Buy, where it was promoted with a bonus track of "Baby I'm Burnin'." It reached the top 10 country albums on iTunes Tuesday, and the disc made the top 30 overall CDs on Amazon.com. I'm also told that Dolly called in to Los Angeles station Go Country 105 to say how excited she was about the project and looking forward to her March 28 appearance in the city to celebrate its release.
Library Coverage, Too The Birmingham News on Tuesday offered a wonderful profile of Dolly's Imagination Library international literacy program and the data behind proving its effectiveness. Take a read here.
Feb. 26: 'Backwoods Barbie' Is In Stores Fans eagerly anticipating the new Dolly masterpiece Backwoods Barbie have to wait no more, as the disc finally gets a release on Tuesday. Reviews continue to praise the collection. The New York Timeshere calls the project "ambitious" and singles out her cheating songs as its best cuts, finding "the fragile flutter in her voice and reedy strength behind it make her as convincing as ever in the power-country ballads 'Made of Stone,' in which she's the betrayed wife, and 'Cologne,' where she's the other woman." The Dallas Morning News gives the collection an "A-" this week, opining here that it's "so cool" that she's managed to capture some of the authenticity of her recent roots recordings in a commercial country release, calling her covers "sweet" and "fun" and singling out the title track, single "Better Get To Livin'" and "Cologne" as three of Dolly's "new masterpieces." He also calls her voice a "national wonder." And the Associated Press offered a mixed review, calling it a mix of her best (her nine original songs) and worst (the two "ineffective" cover tunes). Read that piece here.
In related news:
Dolly appears to be gearing up to appear at the March 28 CD release party for the collection in Los Angeles at The Roxy Theatre. I'm told sponsoring radio station Go Country 105 FM on Monday began once again promoting the event on the air after remaining silent about it for a couple of weeks after her announcement that her February and March concert dates were being postponed until April and May due to doctor's orders to rest a back injury. Thanks, Mike!
'I'll Take Dolly For $400, Alex' I'm told Dolly got another Jeopardy mention Monday. This time, contestants had to name songs that which had their titles presented in a foreign language along with the singer and date of release. Dolly's was the $400 clue for "9 To 5." Thanks, Chris!
Hazel Worries About Weight CMT.com's Hazel Smith mentions Dolly's weight in the weekly "Hot Dish" column on the cable network's website this week, noting: "Dolly Parton, who has fought the battle of the bulge for a long while, is almost as thin as the Olsen twins these days, so I hear. I do love Dolly Parton and hope she's doing fine."
Feb. 25: More Positive Spin For 'Barbie' Hitting stores on Tuesday, Dolly's new CD, Backwoods Barbie, continues to receive high marks. A very positive review graces Newsweek magazine here, singling out "Better Get To Livin'" as a stand-out and noting that her return to country "is just as sweet to my ears" as the reviewer found her bluegrass recordings, although he chides her for "Drives Me Crazy" being "a very bad idea" for her to cover. And The Winnipeg Sun gives it three out of five stars, having the opposite opinion on the Fine Young Cannibals hit, calling it an example of her picking "cool covers" and listing it and "The Lonseomes" as choice download tracks. Read that review here.
Still A Hit Overseas Across the pond, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1 slipped two places to No. 71 in its 45th week on the Irish pop albums chart, it was announced over the weekend.
In Memoriam: Dolly Irene Owens Williams Condolences to Dolly's family over the loss of Dolly Irene Owens Williams. The 86-year-old was one of the aunts after whom Dolly was reportedly named. She passed away Wednesday in Sevierville, Tenn., with services held Saturday officiated by Dolly's Aunt Dorothy Jo Parton. An obituary is available from The Mountain Presshere.
A Note Just a note to let you know that updates this week may be a little less often than usual. Your webmaster is experiencing some Internet connectivity issues that should be resolved by next weekend but may cause some delays in updates over the next few days.
Feb. 23: Report: SXSW Appearance Not Cancelled Yet Will she or won't she? The question of whether Dolly will make an appearance at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin appears to remain unanswered. As you will recall, in mid-February, she announced she was on doctor's orders to rest an injured back for six-to-eight weeks, which forced postponement of her February and March U.S. tour to April and May. Within that doctor-ordered rest period was a March 14 SXSW concert at Austin Music Hall headlining the showcase for songwriters' organization BMI with guests Shelby Lynne, Junior Brown and Reckless Kelly. Following the postponement, both Billboard and The Tennessean reported that her SXSW appearance had been cancelled, and SXSW removed her name from its official updated list of performers published on its website (she remains missing from it). However, its website continued to publish quotes from fellow artists stating their excitement over seeing her perform during the festival, and showcase host BMI has kept her performance on its website's published list of upcoming events. Now, Australian entertainment website Undercoverhere quotes BMI Nashville official Kay Clay saying "She has not cancelled so we're hopeful there will be no change."
'Barbie' Commercials Air Thanks to Bryce for alerting me that commercials for Backwoods Barbie, which hits stores on Tuesday, have begun airing. He says he caught one on CMT promoting the advance ordering on DollyPartonMusic.net with its exclusive t-shirt. In other album news:
Speaking of CMT, the network's website on Friday began offering a streaming audio preview of the CD. Listen here!
Its first single, Better Get To Livin'," holds steady at No. 18 in its third week on the PowerSource magazine Christian country singles chart, it was revealed Friday.
The CD gets a positive review from Billboard magazine, with the critic noting the project reminds the listener "of the breadth of her singing and songwriting talents." He singles out "Only Dreamin'" as the disc's best cut and notes "Drives Me Crazy" is good as "as funked-up bluegrass number." Read the full review here.
The album gets a Big Apple launch with an official release party Monday night at Angels & Kings on East 11th Street (between Avenues A and B) in New York. The club will begin playing the CD at 9 p.m. and will also give away a pair of seats for her Radio City Music Hall concert. Thanks, Mike!
Dolly appears to be unable to do any in-person promotions for the disc due to the doctor-ordered rest. No guest spots on any talk shows have been announced, and NBC has removed her name from its list of upcoming guests for the Today Concert Series, as she had been scheduled to perform on the morning program March 7.
Feb. 22: 'Biggest' Still Doing Well The March 1 Billboard charts out Thursday find the Dolly collection 16 Biggest Hits staying in the top 50, slipping three digits to No. 46 country albums in its 19th chart week. As was reported Wednesday night, her "Better Get To Livin'" falls five to No. 55 country singles in its 15th week. Across the border, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1, loses two to No. 36 on the Canadian country albums chart. I Will Always Love You: 17 Inspirational Love Songs From Today's Top Country Artists, featuring Dolly's title track, slides one to No. 40 U.S. country in its fifth week, while A Love Songs Collection by Kenny Rogers, with "Islands In The Stream," dips four to No. 67. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," moves up six to No. 9 on the country catalog albums list and rises eight on the Canadian country list to No. 37. Taylor Swift's self-titled debut remains steady at No. 1 country and gains three to No. 7 pop with 52,000 copies sold in its 69th week, while The Eagles move up two to No. 2 country and 10 places to No. 16 pop with Long Road Out Of Eden in its 16th week.
'Barbie' Earns Positive Remarks USA Today music critic Ken Barnes gives Dolly's Backwoods Barbie good marks in his "first impressions" blog this week. He praises her talent as a songwriter and the CD for its emphasis on the songs, singling out "Cologne" and the title track. Read more here.
Feb. 21: 'Better' Loses More Chart Ground "Better Get To Livin'," the first single from the upcoming CD Backwoods Barbie, continues its return toward the bottom of the country singles chart, it was revealed on Wednesday. The track will dip another five spots to No. 55 on the March 1 Billboard country singles chart in its 15th chart week. Reflecting airplay for the week of Feb. 11-17, the tune received 59 spins at reporting radio stations, garnering an audience of 669,000, down 221,000 from the previous week.
In related news:
For those catching this update early enough Wednesday night, DollyPartonMusic.net reports that comedienne Amy Sedaris will appear on Wednesday night's The Late Show With David Letterman to talk about the video and air it on the show.
Rolling Stone on Wednesday posted its review of the CD, giving it a mixed opinion. The disc got two-and-a-half out of five possible stars, with the reviewer criticizing it for sounding too much like "the overproduced twang of younger country ingénues who try to sound like Dolly Parton." Read the full review here.
Thanks to Craig for alerting me that Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine features a one-page article and photo plugging the album.
Belfast Gets Second Concert Dolly has added another stop in Northern Ireland on this summer's European leg of her Backwoods Barbie 2008-2009 World Tour. Although the date has yet to be added to the itinerary on the tour page of her official music website, DollyPartonMusic.net, it was announced Wednesday that she will play a second concert at Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The new date, added in response to the near sell-out of her June 24 engagement at the arena, will take place the following night, June 25. Seats go on sale via Ticketmaster Ireland at 9 a.m. local time Friday. Thanks, Charlene!
Another Repackaging Coming Two of Dolly's most beloved, and most re-issued, albums are getting life again as a two-for-one collection stateside, it has been announced. SonyBMG's Legacy Recordings imprint will release X2, a combination of 1971's Coat Of Many Colors and 1974's Jolene, in the U.S. on Feb. 26, the same day that her new Backwoods Barbie hits store shelves.
Dolly Jokes Around With Perez Dolly was in rare form Tuesday on VH1's What Perez Sez About Divas, which premiered that morning and repeated twice that night. The show repeats several times over the next couple of weeks. Dolly's appearance is available in streaming video from VH1.com (watch it below and see Dolly defend Jessica Simpson, discuss her tattoos and whip Perez). Check out a shot of Dolly with host Perez Hilton with her in his preview post on his blog here.
Feb. 19: Longhorns Coming To Dolly's Stampede First it was stampeding buffalo, now Dolly's chain of Dixie Stampede will add Texas longhorn steers to the mix, adding a new segment to start each performance at the equestrian-themed dinner theatres. In a press release, Dolly offered: "I can't imagine a better way to kick off my Dixie Stampede show than with a herd of amazing longhorns. It's like nothing I've ever seen before. I know the audience is going to enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience as much as I do." In addition to the 1,800-pound steers, the new segment follows settlers on their journey to the Western frontier, including a Native American medicine man calling on the "Spirit of the Bird," which introduces an aerialist suspended above the arena. The venue operates facilities in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Branson, Mo.
Perez Reminder Don't forget to catch Dolly on What Perez Sez About Divas with gossip guru Perez Hilton premiering Tuesday on VH1 and repeating many times over the next several days. Check out the TV listings on the left-hand side of the news page for times.
Dolly On The Boob Tube Dolly got a couple of mentions on TV in recent days. First, I'm told she was the topic of an exchange on ABC's Brothers And Sisters Sunday night, where siblings Kevin and Sarah are at a karaoke bar and she suggests he do a Dolly tune because he used to love her. When the gay brother says he didn't, she reminds him hers was the only woman's chest he ever noticed. Thanks, Mike! And on Monday, Dollywood's Mystery Mine was a clue in the Theme Parks category on Jeopardy, describing its 50 mph ride through an abandoned mine and requiring the contestants to ask what kind of ride it was. "What is a rollercoaster?" earned one $400. Thanks, Chris!
Feb. 18: 'Better' Gone From GAC, Pure Country Tallies After five weeks on the viewer-voted countdown, Dolly's first single from the upcoming Backwoods Barbie, "Better Get To Livin'," on Friday fell off the Great American Country (GAC) Top 20 Countdown. The video, which peaked at No. 16, had rested at No. 20 the previous week. The video also fell last week off the 12-position Pure 12-Pack countdown on CMT's digital channel, Pure Country, down from No. 7 the previous week. Vote for it on GAC here and CMT Pure Country here.
In related news:
Two additional bonus tracks have been confirmed. In addition to the Wal-Mart, Best Buy and iTunes exclusive versions, Target will have its own exclusive edition of the album with bonus live tracks of "Jolene" and "Two Doors Down."
The album got a review over the weekend in Entertainment Weekly, which gave it a "B+" and noted that it serves as a "nice middle ground between her crossover ambitions and mountain-mama classicism," although the reviewer finds the backup singers to be a little too loud for his taste. Read the complete review here.
As part of her series of back-problem-related cancellations of appearances to promote the CD, she cancelled an appearance on the revived Crook & Chase country music talk show, now on the RFD-TV network. The hosts announced on Sunday's show the cancellation of her plans to tape an upcoming episode due to her back injury and made some jokes about her famous chest, which she had joked caused the strain. Thanks, Tony and Christian!
CMT.com on Friday posted word here of Dolly's re-scheduled concerts, also noting that the March 14 stop at Austin's South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival was still on the itinerary. However, the article doesn't state where that information came from, so it may be incorrect. The date remains listed on the tour schedule of her official music website, DollyPartonMusic.net, but since launching, the tour page of that site has published many errors, not all of which have been corrected on it, so its inclusion there may be inaccurate. Billboard had previously reported it was cancelled, the official SXSW band listing currently available on the SXSW website no longer includes Dolly, her concert schedule on PollStar (which only lists dates that have been confirmed with each artist's management) also no longer lists the performance, and it would occur just four-and-a-half weeks after her doctors ordered her to take six-to-eight weeks off from performing to rest her back, so her appearing there appears questionable.
Feb. 15: Postponed Concerts Back On Just three days after announcing her February and March U.S. tour dates would be placed on hold due to back problems, Dolly's team announced the rescheduled shows on Thursday. "Hey, thanks for being patient," she said in a statement. "I'm mending very nicely and will be fit as a fiddle soon. And I'll not only have the fiddle, but the rest of the band as well. We can't wait to hit the road for our 'Backwoods Barbie' tour. We're anxious for you to see our new show and play you some of the new songs. Look forward to seeing you soon." The tour now kicks off on April 22, giving Dolly 10 weeks of rest before the first show. The tour page on her official music site, however, DollyPartonMusic.net, still shows her earlier scheduled March 14 appearance at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, although it's just four weeks away, and she said her doctors ordered six-to-eight weeks of rest. No official announcement has been made saying whether or not she will appear at the event, although Billboard had reported it was among the cancelled dates. Also unknown at this time is whether she will be at the March 28 CD launch party in Los Angeles. It is six weeks away. That particular event has yet to be mentioned on DollyPartonMusic.net, but the radio station hosting it, Go Country 105 FM, is still promoting it on its website, so no announcement has been made yet for that one either noting whether she will be there or not. The re-scheduled dates are:
• April 22 - Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.
• April 23 - Hershey Theatre, Hershey, Pa.
• April 25 - Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn.
• April 28 - Patriot Center, Fairfax, Va.
• April 29 - Fox Theater, Atlanta, Ga.
• May 1 - Radio City Music Hall, New York, N.Y.
• May 3 - Borgata, Atlantic City, N.J.
• May 5 - Opera House, Boston, Mass.
• May 7 - Northrup Auditorium, Minneapolis, Minn.
• May 8 - Chicago Theater, Chicago, Ill.
• May 9 - Chicago Theater, Chicago, Ill.
• May 11 - Nokia Live, Dallas, Texas
'16 Biggest' Gets Yet Another Peak Continuing its ride up the charts, the Dolly compilation disc 16 Biggest Hits hits yet another peak position as it enters its 18th week on the country albums chart. The CD gains seven to advance to No. 43 in the Feb. 23 numbers, for the second week in the row garnering the "Pacesetter" designation signifying the greatest leap in position of all albums on the tally this week. As was previously reported, her single "Better Get To Livin'" dips one to No. 50 country singles in its 14th week. Up north, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1, slips one to No. 34 on the Canadian country albums chart. I Will Always Love You: 17 Inspirational Love Songs From Today's Top Country Artists, with Dolly and Vince Gill on the title track, falls three to No. 39 U.S. country in its fourth week, while A Love Songs Collection by pal Kenny Rogers, featuring "Islands In The Stream," drops four to No. 63. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," falls five to No. 15 on the country catalog albums list and moves up five on the Canadian country tally to No. 45. Taylor Swift's self-titled debut holds on to No. 1 country and loses one to No. 10 pop with 39,000 copies sold in its 68th week, while Garth Brooks holds on at No. 2 country and falls four to No. 16 pop with the 14th week of The Ultimate Hits.
Re-Issues Get New Life Five classic Dolly albums that have been re-mastered and re-issued over the past handful of years will be combined into one collection overseas, it has been announced. SonyBMG label RCA will produce Five Original Album Classics, which will contain Just Because I'm A Woman, Coat Of Many Colors, My Tennessee Mountain Home, Jolene and 9 To 5 and Odd Jobs. The collection will come in a "high-quality, rigid cardboard slipcase" and contain five "vinyl replica sleeves" The five-CD set comes out March 31 in the U.K. Thanks, Steve!
Another Preview Provided Thanks to readers Tim and Mikaël, who keep up with Dollymania all the way over in Paris, France, for pointing out that Best Buy now has joined the exclusive full-length streaming album preview of Backwoods Barbie by providing visitors with a link to the songs available on DollyPartonMusic.net.
Park Additions Profiled Northeast Tennessee's TriCities Blogs this week posted a television report from News Channel 11 on the new walkway and ride construction at Dollywood. Watch it here. Thanks, Chris!
Feb. 14: 'Better' Down Another Notch Dolly's first single from the upcoming CD Backwoods Barbie, "Better Get To Livin'," will lose one additional digit in the Feb. 23 country singles chart, Billboard revealed Wednesday. The track will fall to No. 50 in its 14th week on the tally, which reflects airplay at reporting radio stations for the week of Feb. 4-10. The song saw 95 spins at radio that week, compared to 99 the previous week, but still registered an increase of 49,000 listeners to a total of 890,000 for the week.
Who's Bed Have Those Boots Been Under? A national hoaxer who places false classified advertisements claiming to have celebrity items for sale struck in Dolly's name in Staunton, Va., The News Leader reports. He put an ad in the paper claming to have several of Dolly's personal belongings, including a pair of rhinestone-studded boots. Why did he choose Dolly? "Everybody loves Dolly Parton," he told the newspaper. Read more here.
Dolly In Print Thanks to Jeff for alerting me to some Dolly in the country-themed issue of People Extra magazine on newsstands now. Her "I Will Always Love You" takes first place in the publication's list of the top 25 country songs of all time, and the Clorox ad supporting her Imagination Library literacy program also makes an appearance in the edition.
In Praise Of Parton A letter to the editor to The Chattanoogan on Wednesday lauded Dolly as a Tennessee treasure. Read it here.
Feb. 13: iTunes Adds Bonus Tracks iTunes on Tuesday began accepting pre-orders for its exclusive version of Dolly's Backwoods Barbie. It features bonus live tracks of "I Will Always Love You" and "The Grass Is Blue." In addition, those who advance order the digital version also get immediate access to download the album's second single, "Jesus & Gravity." The set will also include a digital CD booklet. Reserve your copy here! Thanks, Tony and Chad! In related news:
The album's first single, "Better Get To Livin'," gains two spots to No. 18 in its second week on the PowerSource magazine weekly chart of the top Christian country songs.
Dolly's official MySpace page here is promoting a new contest on her official music website, DollyPartonMusic.net, where as part of the promotions for the new album, one winner will get a personalized video message from Dolly for their MySpace page. Enter here.
Check Out These Pics Ladies Home Journal's website has added a slideshow gallery of Dolly's photo shoot for her recent cover story in the magazine. See them here! Thanks, Barbara!
Another Canadian Community For Library Dolly's Imagination Library literacy program is coming to Moosonee, Canada, The Timmins Daily Press reported this week. Take a look here.
Congratulations, Emmy! Dolly pal Emmylou Harris, one-third of her award-winning Trio, will join her this year as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, it was announced Tuesday. Others on the roster this year are Tom T. Hall, The Statler Brothers and the late Earnest "Pop" Stoneman. Read the press release from the Hall here.
Feb. 12: Announcement Gets Tons Of Press Dolly's tour postponement Monday due to back problems – and the interest in her joking that the medical issue was caused by her famous chest – has garnered more coverage than just about any attempt at publicity over the tour and upcoming album. Dozens and dozens of stories from newspapers, websites, magazines and wire services circulated Monday afternoon and Monday night about the development. Read samples from Country Standard Timehere, OK magazine here, Reuters here and Billboardhere. A spokesperson for Dollywood says as of now that the schedule will have no impact on her planned appearances for the park's seasonal "Grand Opening" April 11 and 12. The complete text from the announcement is as follows:
DOLLY PARTON has been forced to postpone her upcoming U.S. tour due to a back condition. Doctors have advised the iconic American singer, songwriter, film star and entrepreneur to take six to eight weeks off in order to recover properly.
The tour--in support of DOLLY's BACKWOODS BARBIE album, due out February 26 on Dolly Records--was set to kick off February 28 in Minneapolis, MN. DOLLY apologizes to all her fans for this inconvenience and hopes that her fans will be patient until the dates can be rescheduled for late April through May. Tickets will be honored for the new dates.
In a statement, DOLLY said: "I know I have been breaking my neck and bending over backwards trying to get my new Backwoods Barbie CD and world tour together, but I didn't mean to hurt myself doing it! But hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems. Seriously though, the doctors said I will be good as new in a few weeks, and I can't wait to get back out there. See you soon, Dolly."
For all the latest news on DOLLY, check out her first official music website: www.dollypartonmusic.net.
Dolly Singing Contest On Again The Chamber of Commerce in Dolly's hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., is readying for the fourth annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition, its event honoring native daughter Dolly as a songwriter, as part of its Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival. Contestants may only sing songs that Dolly wrote (see a list here, although her signature tune, "I Will Always Love You," is off limits again this year). Entries must be postmarked by April 11, and the top contestants will be asked to attend the May 16-17 event for a chance at winning some great prizes, including Dolly autographed guitars, a recording session in Nashville, Dollywood passes and cash. For the second year, a 12-and-under category will also be offered. Check out the rules here and access the entry forms here.
Feb. 11: UPDATE: First Leg Of Tour On Hold Citing doctor's orders for rest due to complications from back problems, Dolly late Monday afternoon unexpectedly cancelled the first North American leg of her 2008-2009 Backwoods Barbie World Tour. The concerts, which were to run from late February through March, will be re-scheduled for late April and May in advance of the European leg of the tour in June and July. Tickets sold for the cancelled dates will still be honored for the rescheduled shows. (She is also expected to schedule additional dates for a second North American leg of the tour in fall and/or winter 2008.) She will rest for six-to-eight weeks, although the press release did not elaborate as to whether any promotional appearances for the CD, such as the concert performance on Today in March which was reported here Sunday night, will take place or not, but I would presume that those performances will also be cancelled. In a press release, Dolly used her trademark humor to poke fun at her iconic bosom as the cause of her distress, offering:
"I know I have been breaking my neck and bending over backwards trying to get my new Backwoods Barbie CD and world tour together, but I didn't mean to hurt myself doing it! But hey, you try wagging these puppies around a while and see if you don't have back problems. Seriously though, the doctors said I will be good as new in a few weeks, and I can't wait to get back out there. See you soon, Dolly." Look for more coverage in tonight's regular update.
Dolly To Do 'Today' March 7 While in New York for next month's Radio City Music Hall concert during her 2008-2009 Backwoods Barbie World Tour, Dolly will also perform on Today, NBC has announced. She will be in studio on Friday, March 7, as part of the network's "Today Concert Series." Thanks, Dawn! In other news:
Thanks to Stan for alerting me that the CD's cover gets a nearly-hitting-the-bull's-eye remark in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly.
And thanks to Mike for letting me know that the DJs at Los Angeles station Go Country 105 remarked that they thought it was big when Garth Brooks sold out his recent shows in LA, but the frenzy over those concerts was nothing compared with what they've seen with interest in an intimate Dolly concert in town on March 28 to launch the new album. The station quickly gave away its few promotional seats and now has announced a contest which allows its members to register to win four seats at the concert plus a limo ride there. Enter here!
CMT Canada Shows Dolly Meeting Canada's Belleville Intelligencer posted a nice letter over the weekend here reacting to a story of a local woman who was taken by CMT Canada to Dollywood to meet Dolly.
Dollywood Facelifts Continue Thanks to Jason for writing in with some changes to Dollywood's front area in advance of the new season. He reports that the floral butterfly at the main entrance has been removed completely (bricks, dirt, everything), and the season pass entrance is gone, apparently to be replaced with a new location. In addition, the trees and dirt at the former trolley turn-around have been removed, indicating a possible change to that site as well.
Feb. 9: 'Better' Falls Again On GAC Dolly's video for "Better Get To Livin'" from Backwoods Barbie could soon fall off the top 20 countdown on Great American Country (GAC). The track slipped another spot to No. 20 in Friday's tally, its fifth week on the list. The song makes it at No. 7 on this week's Pure 12-Pack Countdown on CMT's digital channel, Pure Country. Vote for it on GAC here and CMT Pure Country here. In other news, gossip guru Perez Hilton on Friday began offering his readers a link to listen to the streaming album online through Dolly's official music website, DollyPartonMusic.net. The posting, however, wasn't completely accurate, because it claimed that his readers could hear the CD before anyone else listens to it, and of course her music website has had it available for streaming audio to members of her Dolly-ites fan club since Wednesday. See what Perez put up here. Thanks, Craig! And Country Stars Central has a review of the CD here.
More From Magazine GAC also on Friday plugged Dolly's interview in the Ladies Home Journal, specifically her comments about former duet partner Porter Wagoner's death. Read more here.
Randy Addresses Theatre Dolly's brother Randy on Friday made his promised first public comments about the controversy over the theatre in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., which formerly bore his name. He read a prepared statement, and he and his representatives took a few questions. Read the complete statement here, see coverage from television station News 14 (complete with footage from the press conference) here, and read a story from the Raleigh News Observerhere.
Feb. 8: 'Biggest' Gets New Peak Position The CD keeps falling then shooting back up, and it does it again this week. Dolly's installment in the SonyBMG 16 Biggest Hits series this week jumps eight spots to a new peak position at No. 50 on the Feb. 16 country albums chart, Billboard's numbers showed Thursday. In its 17th week, the disc also earned the chart's "Pacesetter" designation for moving up the greatest number of spots for the week. As was previously reported, her single "Better Get To Livin'" holds steady at No. 49 country singles in its 13th week. Up north, The Very Best Of Dolly Parton, Vol. 1, slips four to No. 33 on the Canadian county albums chart. I Will Always Love You: 17 Inspirational Love Songs From Today's Top Country Artists, featuring Dolly's Vince Gill duet of the title track, inches up one to No. 36 U.S. country in its third week, while A Love Songs Collection by pal Kenny Rogers, which includes their "Islands In The Stream," drops six to No. 59. Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country, with Dolly's "9 to 5," falls off the top 75 albums chart, down from one week at No. 72 country. Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted, with Dolly on "When I Get Where I'm Going," moves up three to No. 10 on the country catalog albums list and falls four on the Canadian country to No. 50. Taylor Swift's self-titled debut holds on to No. 1 country and loses three to No. 9 pop with 36,000 copies sold in its 67th week, while Garth Brooks holds on at No. 2 country and falls three to No. 12 pop with the 13th week of The Ultimate Hits.
Dolly On 'Cas Walker' Celebrated Dolly's start on WBIR's Cas Walker Show is profiled in the "50 Years of East Tennessee History" series on the television station this week. In addition to talking with a couple of crew members who worked with her on the program as a child, the piece features some rare footage of Dolly on a return visit to the show around 1967 after her first success with Monument Records in Nashville. Watch it here.
Dolly In Print Beverly Keel's celebrities column in Thursday's The Tennessean recaps Dolly's interview in the current issue of Ladies Home Journal. Read the piece here. Also on newsstands, I'm told a shot from Dolly's 2006 Kennedy Center Honors is in the 2007 annual year in review in Time magazine. Thanks, Ray!
Louisiana Eyes Dolly's Library A woman in Eunice, La., is working to bring the first chapter of Dolly's international Imagination Library literacy program to her state, according to The Opelousas Daily World. Read about her efforts here.
Work At Dolly's Park Dollywood will host three job fairs this year to staff the Tennessee theme park and its adjacent water park, it has been announced. The events will be held Feb. 23, March 29 and May 3. Interview appointments are required and may be scheduled the week before each job fair at 865-HAVE-FUN.
Feb. 7: 'Better' Holds Its Own This Week "Better Get To Livin'," Dolly's first single off of the upcoming CD Backwoods Barbie, holds on in its 13th week on the Billboard country singles chart, the magazine announced Wednesday. The track remains steady at No. 49 in the Feb. 16 tally reflecting airplay for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3. In that period, the song saw 99 spins at reporting radio stations, up from 80 the previous week, reflecting an increase in 88,000 listeners to 841,000 total.
In related news:
E! Online gossip columnist Marc Malkin, who has sung Dolly's praises many times in recent months in his column, snagged an interview this week with the song's video director, Steve Lippman, to talk about the video. The conversation revealed that it has become a YouTube smash, garnering 172,000 hits (add to it by watching it below or clicking here). He also discussed how he worked on the idea for the video and why it was the most fun one he has done in his career. Read more here. Thanks, Aaron!
Dolly's official music website, DollyPartonMusic.net, on Wednesday made available to her Dolly-ites fan club members streaming audio preview access to the entire CD. If you're a member, just click on the Dolly-ites tab on the site's menu to visit the main members page and take a listen!
Online Dolly On CMT Dolly on Tuesday presented the CMT Online Award for No. 1 Digitally Active Male. The awards program was broadcast online on CMT.com (see Dolly's appearance here) and will air on the regular CMT cable channel next Tuesday.
Feb. 6: 'Touch Your Woman' Cover On CD One of the most soulful covers of a Dolly track is getting new life with a series of re-issues by Collectors Choice Music. The label is putting on CD all of Margie Joseph's Atlantic recordings from the 1970s. Joseph's first single for the label was an erotically R&B take on "Touch Your Woman" which comes pretty close to besting Dolly's original, recorded just a few months earlier. The track was on Joseph's self-titled debut album for the label, one of six records hitting stores March 11. Learn more about the singer here.
Dolly On Film Dolly's version of "If" has made it into a French film, according to Variety. The song appears in a scene from 57000 km entre nous. Read more here, although the reviewer thought the song, and the entire scene, were out of place.
Across The Pond Thanks to Joe Skelly of British fan group Dolly Part'ners U.K. for alerting me that U.K. Country Radio will devote an hour to Dolly at 11 a.m. British time Sunday morning including playing " Better Get To Livin'." Even Skelly himself will be one of their guests talking about the upcoming album.
Dollywood Updates Special thanks to Jason for sending in another set of shots showing the progress on Dollywood's new additions for 2008: River Battle and the connector to Craftsman's Valley. Also, Mystery Mine and Blazing Fury (which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year) get facelifts by way of having backs added to them (since you didn't see the "backs" of these rides before, they didn't have facades back there), In addition, the lye soap shop has been removed from next to the Wings of America exhibit and taken to the wilderness path area. In its place is now a home for the show's birds, which previously were taken to an off-park location each evening. Visitors will be able to walk up and see into the birds' house. See galleries here, here, here and here.
Feb. 5: Best Buy Gets Bonus Cut, Too It was reported here earlier that Wal-Mart was offering an exclusive live recording bonus track of "9 To 5" with its version of Dolly's Backwoods Barbie, and now another store has gotten in on the act. Best Buy will be selling the disc with an exclusive bonus track of "Baby I'm Burning" while supplies last, according to the store. Thanks, Tony! Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky University's student newspaper, The Eastern Star, this week posted its Jan. 31 edition of the paper online to reveal that 19 students from the Richmond school have been selected to appear in Dolly's next music video, to shoot later this month. The story, however, gives what I suspect is an incorrect release date for the video of Sept. 4. (Presumably, the video would be for the second single, "Jesus & Gravity," which should be sent to radio several months before September, as promotional material to come out when the album hits stores shows "in stores now . . . with the hit singles 'Better Get To Livin'' and 'Jesus & Gravity,'" which normally would suggest that the single will go to radio close to the release date of the CD. Of course, the video could be for the CD's third single instead of second one, which would make a September release appropriate.) The story notes that the connection between Dolly and the students was made by the local priest who arranged the upcoming October Dolly benefit concert in the same town which was previously reported by Dollymania. Read more here. Ed. Note: Father Jim, the local priest cited in the newspaper's story as having matched Dolly with the students, asked to clarify that neither he nor the church had any input into the article, which he said contained several errors, including incorrectly reporting that the students will be filming the video on Feb. 19. To his knowledge, he added, any video shoot with the students has yet to be rescheduled.
Perez Interview Features A Whip You may recall a few months back it was announced that Dolly had filmed an interview for blogger Perez Hilton's VH1 series of specials. Well, the air date has been announced for the program along with a few details that promise you'll see Dolly as you never have before. The interview is included as part of What Perez Sez About Divas, set to premiere at 10 p.m. Eastern Feb. 19. Those on the program include his "all-time favorite divas" (Dolly, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Stevie Nicks and Tori Amos) and male divas (Elton John, George Michael, Robbie Williams and Rufus Wainwright – who arranged the cover of Dolly's "My Blue Tears" on pal Teddy Thompson's recent Upfront & Down Low). He also seeks advise for "divas in distress" (Britney Spears, Beyonce, Hilary Duff and Dolly devotees Amy Winehouse and Jessica Simpson) and highlights "future divas" (Leona Lewis, Regina Spektor and opera and film star Emmy Rossum, who duetted with Dolly on the Songcatcher soundtrack). Promotional materials say that Perez dons a rhinestone cowboy outfit to talk to Dolly and convinces her to throw her first-ever "diva fit" on camera, complete with an S&M whip! Thanks, David!
More U.K. Coverage Read about one of the first children to benefit from Dolly's Imagination Library's British expansion from The Starhere.
Feb. 4: LA Date Confirmed For March Dolly's private CD launch concert in Los Angeles for Backwoods Barbie has been rescheduled for a month after the CD hits stores, it has been confirmed. The concert is one of three that had been planned for early February to celebrate the project's release – one each in LA, Chicago and New York to which tickets would only be available to her Dolly-ite fan club members and radio station contest winners – but they were all cancelled when the CD's release date was postponed three weeks. The LA show will still take place at The Roxy on the Sunset Strip but will now be on March 28. Go Country 105 will be the local station giving away tickets and is promoting the show here, which is also where the station's members may register for an autographed guitar to be given away and sign up to find out exactly when tickets will be given out. Thanks, Mike!
Down On GAC Meanwhile, the video for the album's first single, "Better Get To Livin'," dipped three to fall back to No. 19 in its fourth week on the Great American Country (GAC) top 20 countdown. Vote for it on GAC here and the Pure 12-Pack Countdown on CMT's digital channel, Pure Country, here.
Library Happenings Dolly's Imagination Library got a super kick-off in Cayuga County, N.Y., this weekend with a sports-themed celebration timed with the Super Bowl, according to The Post-Standard in Syracuse. Read more here. And over in England, a member of parliament, David Heath of Somerton, is beaming over having gotten to meet Dolly while she was there to launch the first British chapter of the program, which he hopes to expand to serve his constituency in Somerset. See that story here. And efforts are also underway to bring it to Brown County, Ohio, according to The Georgetown News Democrathere.
'Ladies' Says Hello Dolly Dolly graces the cover of the new March issue of Ladies Home Journal in a story which promises: "Dolly Parton – Power, Prayer, Plastic Surgery . . . The Queen of Country Pours Her Heart Out." The magazine began hitting newsstands in some cities on Thursday evening and should be available from most retailers nationwide in the next week or so. Thanks, Scott!
Dolly Gets Second MySpace Page Although Dolly's first authorized MySpace page launched last year here to promote her European tour, it appears her first general official MySpace page has premiered, this time one associated with her official music website, DollyPartonMusic.net. Take a look at it here. Thanks, Teddy!
Dolly In Print I'm told there's a Dolly mention in the February issue of OUT magazine. Reviewers offer "Your Music Library's Essential Nashville Divas," which includes Dolly's 1971 masterpiece Coat Of Many Colors, about which they opine: "A heavenly singer and ace storyteller, Parton has a narrative flair that's built more cohesive albums than those of her Music Row peers." Thanks, Lance!
Randy To Speak On Theatre Dolly's brother Randy Parton announced on Friday that he will hold a press conference next Friday to offer his first public comments about the debacle over his former theatre in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., according to the Associated Press. Read the story here.
Simpson Talking Dolly Duet Jessica Simpson, the pop diva who butchered Dolly's "9 To 5" do badly during her Kennedy Center Honors program that the performance was cut from the final broadcast, hopes now to have her idol Dolly duet with her on the country album she is recording in Nashville. Simpson told FOX News Thursday that she plans to meet with Dolly next week to discuss a duet appearance on the CD. Read more here. Thanks, Aaron!
'I Will Always Loathe You' Diane Duffin, the 36-year-old English mother who was slapped with a court order in Leeds last year for playing her country music – and Dolly in particular – so loud as to terrorize her neighbors, is being evicted for continuing to violate city orders that she silence her stereo. Check out reports from The Yorkshire Posthere and BBC here.