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Dolly Parton celebrating 50 years with the Grand Ole Opry

By Rachel Brooks__Telegraph Local__ See my Blog

Dolly Parton is celebrating 50 years with the famous Grand Ole Opry of Nashville, Tennessee_the one and the only Music City USA. Citing the Rolling Stone, Parton performed a 50th-anniversary tribute show which aired on NBC. At her show, she sang classic titles, such as “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors”. Her tribute show included special friends and guests who are also members of the Nashville star-studded lineup. Emmylou Harris, Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley, Margo Price, Lady Antebellum, and Chris Janson. 

Parton was admitted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 1969 when she was 23-years-old. 

The show was a 2-hour long special. Lady Antebellum opened with “Islands in the Stream”. It was followed immediately with Margo Price’s cover of “The Seeker”.  Other acts followed suit, with many of the finest numbers in modern country music. 

Yet, there is no substitute for the classic. When Dolly took the stage, it was as if we were all taken back to the days of her mentor Porter Wagner and the late-great Hank Williams Sr. With all of the gentle rendering of her original vocals, and all of the self-deprecating humor that endeared her to the world, Parton guided a younger generation through what made Nashville-music famous. The Independent calls this the “Parton Paradox”. After 5 decades, Parton continues to be alluring and relevant. 

Dolly Parton and Senator Bob Corker rededicate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park September 2009, Public Domain

Dolly Parton’s work has been married to the younger generation in ways beyond her tribute NBC show. As podcasts are quite popular among Millennials’, Parton’s podcast Dolly Parton’s America, hosted by Jad Abumrad from Radiolab, is developing quite the following. Abumrad’s podcast self-describes as “in this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton_but why?” citing NPR news. 

She has also been at the head of a recent Netflix program “Dolly Parton: Heartstrings” The Netflix show begins with the adaptation of the iconic  “Jolene” with the titular character portrayed by Julianne Hough. Other stars include Kathleen Turner, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Timothy Busfield, and Melissa Leo. True to fashion, Parton herself appears in each episode, as both opening sequence producer and cast member. The show is not fixed on any given continuous plotline but rather adapts each song into an individual timeline and plot. 

Parton seated among other greats at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala,  December 2006, Public Domain_ 

Dolly Parton was born on January 19, 1946, citing the official Dolly Parton site. She was the fourth of 12 children. Born and raised in Locust Ridge, Sevier County_which is within the vicinity of Pigeon Forge, TN_she was reared with an instilled love of music. Her Uncle Bill Owens assisted her as she got started as a performer. She first appeared on “The Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour” in Knoxville, TN and later appeared on the “Porter Wagner” show. Porter Wagner was the inspiration behind the song “I Will Always Love You” which has been immortalized across genres and regions by Whitney Houston’s cover vocals. 

Dolly Parton holds the prestigious Living Legend Award from the US Library of Congress as of 2004. She has developed the Dollywood theme park in her home county_which is a common tourism destination for Tennessee outside of Nashville. Parton is also known by younger generations as the godmother of Miley Cyrus, who has a popular cover version of the song “Jolene”.  

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