There are only a handful of performers who can be referred to by a single name: Cher, Beyoncé, Madonna and Prince and of course the illustrious Dolly.
Dolly Rebecca Parton is the original single-named singer, as easily recognized by her blonde locks as her alarmingly large breasts, tiny stature and irrepressible spirit.
Returning to Australia twice in the past three years, Melbourne fans have been given the opportunity to witness the 5-foot star in all her fringed, rhinestoned glory. On both occasions Ms Parton has wowed audiences with her high-energy performances, regaling the crowd with her well versed quips and quotes.
Melbourne is the first stop on Dolly’s “Blue Smoke” Australian tour, after which she heads across to Asia and Europe on a tour that will span several months.
Ms. Parton and her band, some of whom have been travelling with her for 30 years, last visited the Aussie shores in 2011 promoting the “Better Day” album to sell out audiences.
Dolly’s humility, along with her incredible work ethic and exceptional natural ability, has drawn audiences to her since her debut in Nashville in 1964. Her career has covered every aspect of the spotlight: 42 studio albums, several feature films, a Broadway musical, television appearances, and she is the proud owner/founder of the 24th most visited theme park in the US, Dollywood.
Dolly’s philanthropic ventures through the Dollywood Foundation are just as dear to her as her professional achievements. The Melbourne press were treated to the Australian launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the singer’s literacy program inspired by her father, that ensures enrolled children receive an age appropriate book every month until they enter school. With 56 million books being sent out across 566 countries, Australia is the latest to join this remarkable program and help to ensure that future generations of Australians are literate by the time they start primary school, thereby giving them the best foundation for their education.
As Dolly says: “If a child can learn to read, even if you don’t have the money for school, or to go to college, there is a subject on everything you could want to know and you can learn about anything you want to. If you can read. But if not, that’s a very bad handicap.”
Dolly’s brassy personality, sincerity as both a performer and a person, and larger than life image continue to bring in new audiences. Her career, that has spanned country, pop, musical theatre and a myriad of other productions, is a wonderful example of her diversity and business sense. Dolly continually proves that she is no ‘dumb blonde’; as she so often states, “I know I’m not dumb and I know I’m not blonde.”
Behind the hair, big boobs and society’s stigma associated with a woman who wears stiletto heels and low cut outfits, is one of the most genuine performers and people on the planet. Her energy, quick wit, faultless vocal talent and smile are impossible to resist. I highly recommend that, should you ever be upset or worried, you sit in a room with Dolly for 30 minutes and watch as your troubles melt away under her positive gaze.