“Hey everybody! I’m back sellin’ something else,” quipped an upbeat Dolly Parton as she greeted the swarm of reporters packed tightly inside her Dolly Records studio near downtown Nashville. Friday morning’s (Aug. 10) invitation-only event celebrated the success of her latest album offered exclusively at Cracker Barrel stores — marking the first time one of the restaurant’s music releases has been certified gold, marking 50,000 copies sold of the DVD.
Providing guests with breakfast biscuits, hash browns and orange juice, Parton teased the crowd with why she was running a few minutes behind to her own party.
“I was a little late getting here because I had breakfast over there [Cracker Barrel] … and I’ve got to run back because I’m going to have lunch,” she laughed.
Dressed in her characteristic body-hugging, sparkly jacket with complementary cobalt blue capris, Parton donned her usual sky-high stilettos and big hair as she was presented with a plaque nearly the size of the petite star.
“You never get tired of that,” she said of receiving her latest honor. “It makes you feel like every project you do, if somebody recognizes it, then that makes it worthwhile because you know all the time you put in any project that you do. So it makes that very important. You never get too old, too callus, to enjoy the success. And at my age, I’m thrilled to get anything in this business.”
In addition to expressing heartfelt gratitude for her latest hardware, soon be displayed in her museum at Dollywood, Parton also fielded questions from reporters regarding her music, an upcoming book and possible future duets with George Jones.
One of the songs featured on An Evening With … Dolly, is her autobiographical 1971 hit “Coat of Many Colors,” a song chosen this year by the Library of Congress as one of 25 selected each year for its cultural, artistic and historical value.
“That was one of the great compliments,” she said. “You’re always appreciative of everything you get, but there are a few things that really stand out when you get recognized by those people you think are really special, by things that might just really go down in history. It makes me feel real good.
“It makes me proud of my mom and dad that I had the kind of parents and the kind of mother that would allow me to write that song and have reason to do it, so I’m just proud of that whole thing. That was one of those special ones that I think God meant for me to write. It helped other people, too, and it helped me — not just the money.”
Noting that she isn’t currently working on any new solo musical projects, Parton did reveal she had heard George Jones was working on an album and expressed interest in recording with him.
“I’m writing some stuff for him, and I’m writing a couple of duets, and I hope I get to sing with him on one of them,” she said. “So that’s who I’d really like to sing with right now more than anyone else. In my mind, nobody will ever sing better than George — for emotion and heart and feeling. I love him.”
Aside from music, Parton also shared details regarding her upcoming book, Dream More, scheduled for release in November. The pending project, spurred from her commencement speech at the University of Tennessee in 2009, will showcase Parton’s wisdom, knowledge and personal stories.
“It turned out to be a very fun, uplifting, positive book, and in the book, it has all sorts of fun things,” she said. “It’s fun reading, but hopefully it will be uplifting to people. It’s not the story of my life, but I certainly cover different parts of it in it.”
All of the proceeds from Dream More will benefit her Imagination Library, a program aimed to promote childhood literacy. Started in her native East Tennessee, the program now spreads across the country and internationally in providing registered children with a free book each month from birth until 5 years old.
“It makes me feel good to all the little kids,” Parton explained. “They don’t know I sing. They don’t know I write. They don’t know nothing about me except that I’m the book lady. Everywhere I go they say, ’Thanks for the books. Thanks for the books.’ It makes me feel great.”
At the moment, Parton says she’s enjoying spending her summer and free time with family members she doesn’t get to see regularly. And though she’s always writing and forever making music, Parton said she’s in no hurry to make final touches on any unfinished projects.
“I’m enjoying just laying back a little bit,” she said. “I’m still writing on my life story as a musical, so I just kind of do that when I feel like it, taking my time.
“No pressure,” she smiled. “I’ll get it done sooner or later.”