DOLLY, the one and only!

I’ve written often of female entertainers when they inspire me, especially in their charitable work. This is where strength and hope are and Dolly shows it in spades. Trying to pick a favorite song of hers is next to impossible when knowing how many hits she’s written for others. Larger than life, a small tribute of my love of her. (And a small trivia, my brother opened for her and Kenny Rogers many years ago at the Tacoma Dome show here. He’s a professional Stand-up comedian.)

Where does one start in honoring one of our most prolific singer/songwriters of our times. There is nobody else like her. She is a musical genius, a savvy businesswoman and a beautiful person, inside and out. I am not a big country/western fan, except to those who have risen above the stereotypes. And Dolly seems to find new inspirations wherever she is. Example, when her home community in the county of Pigeon Forge Tennessee was devastated by fires and floods, she built them new ones, then she built “Dollywood” to provide employment. It also provides a festive backdrop to Hallmark Christmas movies.

Everyone who has ever worked or collaborated with her, loves her. She is as nice as she appears. In this documentary, you do go behind the scenes of her public life and her private one. Out in plain sight, she is who she is, a strong woman who gives hope and love wherever she is. But she’s also just a fascinating human being. Dolly has made a persona for herself that is genuine, lovable and open, yet at the same time, she is able to keep her private life private in ways that most people will never truly understand.

One particularly segment was when they talked about “9 to 5” and how it became a battle cry in the 80’s women’s movement and is almost as relevant today. Dolly’s inspiration writing the title song, like using her fingernails to beat out a rhythm sounding like a typewriter, and how Jane and Lily knew their movie and the song would be a huge hit. Also, as a hit musical and an upcoming sequel soon.

Both Lily and Jane are interviewed at length, Jane shedding a tear while giving praise to this “genius light of the world,” saying she is a force to recon with in her energy and fullness of being.

Dolly’s written over 3000 songs, her favorite is “Coat of Many Colors” because it’s about her mom and covers many subjects like bullying, confidence and acceptance. “Being different” is wonderful, she says. Dolly began performing at age 10, the fourth of 12 children and with no television, she would write songs to entertain the family.

Her uncle played guitar and recognized how serious she was about music from an early age. Her first public appearance was on the Cas Walker radio show at ten years old. She said they kept bringing her back on the radio, and one day she looked at her uncle and said, “I’m gonna be a star, ain’t I?” “That was the moment that I realized, that was what I was gonna do the rest of my life,” Dolly says.   

Dolly was also a feminist without “being a feminist.” In an archive interview, she is asked about her thoughts on the women’s rights movement in the 60s, and she simply says that she was the first to burn her bra … which took the fire department three weeks to put out. While she will not speak on certain topics, she wrote “Just because I’m a Woman” in the late 60s, and the lyrics are very telling, especially for the time. According to the documentary, Dolly has a knack for writing anthems for movements while simultaneously avoiding them completely. Dolly refuses to do anything that will make her fans uncomfortable. Her wish is to be an entertainer, while staying true to her ideals. 

Dolly Parton shares her inner self through her songs.

She says that she writes as a way of expressing herself. “It’s my therapy, you have to search for a long time, cause I’ve written a lot of songs, but yes, there are pieces of me in everything I write.” “I actually take my songwriting more serious than anything else I do,” says Dolly. “So, I would say I’m a songwriter first.” 

What’s next? A Nine to Five sequel is in the works because it’s just as relevant today, workplace harassment and inequality. Otherwise, wherever and whatever Dolly does, it will be a treat to her fans all over the planet. Her effervescence will continue to sparkle in her wake.

Dolly Parton, A Songwriter of Many Colors
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