Preview: Dolly Parton at UCCU Center

Dolly Parton will perform Tuesday at the UCCU Center at Utah Valley University in Orem as part of her Pure & Simple Tour.

Dolly Parton in the 1970s.

To summarize Dolly Parton’s life and career is an attempt to sum up decades of music, film, philanthropy work from a woman who has proven that humility, in spite of incredible success, never goes out of style.

Dolly’s sound and style has remained timeless throughout several decades of the country music genre that is currently undergoing an unfortunate identity crisis. Her music hearkens back to the golden age of country music females who weren’t afraid to make a statement, like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Jeannie C. Riley.

Dolly grew up in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains in a family of 12 children. Her first Grand Ole Opry performance was at the age of 13 – with an introduction by Johnny Cash. I don’t really remember what I was doing at age 13, but I definitely wasn’t performing at Ryman Auditorium and meeting the Man in Black.

Dolly Parton’s music is a mix of classic country, pure gospel, bluegrass and 70s country pop (everybody was doing it). The country diva has been a music machine – cranking out hits throughout the decades like “Jolene,” “To Know Him is To Love Him,” “Islands in the Stream,” and my personal childhood favorite, “Coat of Many Colors.” Oh, and no offense to the late Whitney Houston, but we all know that Miss Parton’s original version of “I Will Always Love You” turns even a heart of stone into a blubbery mess. Her work on the soon-to-be-three Trio albums with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt showed off Dolly’s pure, enduring sound.

Speaking of Trio, Salt Lake Magazine was recently included on a media conference call with the three women, and Dolly definitely sparkled.

“The joy of being able to sing these songs really comes through,” Parton said. “I have a lot of gospel songs, and I’m proud of that. All you’ve really got in life is your faith and hope.”

Dolly’s film career also showcased her many talents. She had a starring role in the iconic Steel Magnolias (arguably one of the most quotable movies ever). Parton also hit the big screen for 9 to 5 and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Parton’s Dollywood theme park in Tennessee receives over three million visitors a year. There’s a reason why the U.S. Library of Congress gave Dolly Parton the Living Legend award. She has been nominated for (and won some of these) an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar AND a Tony. She is an angel among us.

The Imagination Library literacy program, a section of Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, mails each enrolled child one book per month until they enter kindergarten. Almost a million children benefit from Dolly’s literacy program each month. Dolly uses her money, business expertise, and global influence to bring jobs and education to the impoverished area where she spent her childhood.

One need only listen to Dolly’s body-positive song “Backwoods Barbie” to realize that there’s more to her than meets the eye. When confronted about her iconic look, Parton turns on the Southern charm and pulls out her best wit, like when she said:

“I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know that I’m not dumb… and I also know that I’m not blonde.”

Seriously, what did we do to deserve Dolly Parton?

Tickets for Tuesday’s performance are still available. Click here for tickets. Show starts at 7:30.

Salt Lake Magazine
Salt Lake Magazine
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