Dolly Parton Kicks Up Heels and Kicks Off New Tour

She'll Launch Blue Smoke World Tour in California

I have a confession. I missed Dolly Parton’s birthday on Sunday (Jan. 19).

I failed to Facebook, Tweet or text a reminder to my fellow Dolly lovers that we should all be celebrating.

What kind of Dolly fan am I?! My mama raised me better than to forget her birthday! So let’s make up for lost time and discuss the icon’s epic Blue Smoke World Tour that’s launching Friday night (Jan. 24) in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

After you reach the level of fame, fortune, and success Parton has achieved after years of hard work, disappointment, discipline, tenacity — then subsequent hit albums, smash singles, massive tours, wildly popular movies and a massive theme park — most people would probably call it a career and get some rest.

But not Parton. “Retirement” is not a word found in her vocabulary.

Most of us would be relaxing, eating bonbons in a massive mansion somewhere and counting that mailbox money with a grin. As for Parton, she’s taking her one-woman hit-factory show back on the road.

The Blue Smoke tour will play three more dates in the U.S. through next week before Parton heads for Australia and New Zealand.

Only one week ago, I returned from Australia, where country music fans were buzzing, “Did you know Dolly is coming?!” Yes, they speak fluent Parton, and if the musical selection in record stores is any indication as to how Aussies define country music, it would be by names such as Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Blake Shelton and — you guessed it — Dolly Parton. Those were the CDs I found consistently no matter where I stopped and shopped.

And for her Aussie fans, Parton is truly grateful.

“Australia, here I come again,” she said when she announced the tour. “We have a lot of new and exciting things for the show and can’t wait to share it with you. I love my fans in that part of the world. You’ve been very good to me for so many years. I’m really, really excited to be coming back to New Zealand again after 30 years or so. And I know that we’re gonna have a wonderful time. It’s a long way from home in your part of the world, but I always feel like I’m at home. So Australia, New Zealand, I’m coming home. Wait up!”

Australia and New Zealand, get ready. You’re about to have the time of your lives. Parton was apparently in such demand, she added two additional Aussie dates in Tamworth and Cairns.

When she returns to the U.S., Parton will continue the North American portion of the tour on May 22 in Tulsa, Okla., and will be touring in Europe in June and July.

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.