Dolly’s Ready to Party

Hall of Fame Member Preparing for ACM Hosting Gig

“This Dolly’s going to Hollywood,” exclaimed Dolly Parton over and over again into the camera at Nashville’s Starstruck studio. Dressed in a stunning gunmetal-gray evening gown, the country legend spent Wednesday morning taping promotional spots and shooting photos for the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards, set for May 3 on CBS.

Parton told she jumped at the invitation to dress up and be in the spotlight for the three-hour show. “I’ll try to stick to the script, but I’ll have my hands full,” she said. “Trying to get everybody in, get everybody off and still host … it’s like kinda being a parent of the evening, I think.”

The singer said that besides having clothes ready for the show (she admitted to having three dresses specially made), there’s really nothing a host can do to prepare for a live broadcast.

“You know your lines, and you just kinda let it happen,” Parton said of her strategy for the evening. “That’s the joy, the thrill and the fear of doing it live. The set might fall on you, the cue cards might fall, and you might have to wing it. People know me, and if I screw up real bad, I’ll try to make that as entertaining as I can.”

Parton, a five-time ACM winner herself, is not only hosting the annual show, she’s also nominated for Top Vocal Event for “After the Gold Rush,” a Neil Young song she recorded with her Trio partners Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. The cut has already won the Trio a Grammy.

“I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to last as long as I have,” Parton said of her latest nomination. “I’ve been in Nashville since 1964, and here I am in 2000 still going. I don’t know if I’ll win on this show, but it would be nice.”

Parton told she will perform on the ACM show. She’s planning to sing “Traveling Prayer” from her critically-acclaimed bluegrass album The Grass Is Blue. Her first foray into bluegrass was so well received she said she may do another one for her next project.

“I’m actually trying to debate what that’s going to be,” she said. “I want to do a folk album of songs that I grew up with in the mountains, so I’m really doing a lot of research on all the old folk songs … but I may do another bluegrass album [first]. We’re getting a lot of requests to do a follow-up to that one [The Grass Is Blue], so it’s kinda hard to say exactly what I’ll do, but I’ll do something.”