Before Dolly Parton signed autographs for hundreds of fans who lined the aisles of the Wal-Mart in Franklin, Tenn., she briefly met with the press in the store's employee lounge room.
Her brand new CD The Grass Is Blue -- the first all
bluegrass album of her career -- was the order of the day. But country music's most conspicuous star also fielded questions
regarding everything from her holiday plans to kissing country star Billy Dean, who played opposite Parton in a recent made-for-television
movie, Blue Valley Songbird.
Parton also talked about her latest duet partner, Boy George, the flamboyant,
cross-dressing singer who fronted 1980's British pop group Culture Club.
Hundreds line the aisles of Wal-Mart
to meet Dolly.
Parton and Boy George teamed up on a dance-oriented song that Boy George co-wrote titled "Your Kisses
Are Charity." Parton said the duet is already receiving airplay in England and that it might be released as a single in the
U.S. in the spring.
"I'm in the [Country Music] Hall of Fame now, and they can't kick me out!" Parton joked, acknowledging
that her duet with the androgynous singer might not sit well with the country music establishment.
"The song is so
good, and they even used a lot of country instruments on it like mandolin and fiddle," Parton later remarked. "It was a good
blend of voices."
However, Parton does have one grievance with Boy George.
"He outdid me on the makeup!" she
quipped. "I flew over to England a few weeks ago and [performed with Boy George] on The Lottery Show, which is one
of their big shows over there. When we were rehearsing, he was dressed more like a boy ... But when it was time for the show,
he came out and his hair was bigger than mine. He had on a big rhinestone necklace and big earrings.
"I kind of got
jealous because he had outdressed me," Parton continued, letting out a big laugh. "I wish I would have known, because I had
some gaudier stuff as well. I loved his makeup. I love the way he does his eyes, and he loves the way I do mine.
called him George, but I just call him B.G. because I don't know what to call him. He's really a sweet guy. He's got a great
voice, and he's a good writer. He's real fun to work with."