Dolly Parton recently announced via Instagram that Dollywood will soon add a new resort to its property--and that the superstar is also hard at work on an upcoming bluegrass-infused album.
The new Dollywood addition is the five-story, 302-room HeartSong Lodge & Resort, which she says will include design elements such as exposed beams and high ceilings that pay tribute to the great Smoky Mountains. Located next to Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa, the new HeartSong resort will open in 2023.
“I’m so proud of this place that we’ve been able to build here in the Smokies,” Parton said. “I always dreamed of accomplishing two things with Dollywood. I wanted to give jobs to the folks who live here and I wanted to give visitors another reason to come and experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. We celebrated our 35th season last year, so I think it is fair to say we’ve been able to do that. I’m so happy with what we are doing to make sure our guests have a great season this year, and being able to announce the new HeartSong Lodge & Resort is just one more way we’re going to be able to help families reconnect, explore and discover together. I truly believe the natural beauty of the Smokies and the warmth of this special place will inspire every guest to nurture the ‘HeartSong’ within them.”
She also teased fans with news of upcoming music.
“Of course, I’ve had plenty of time to write some new music, some songs and I’m actually working on a country bluegrass album,” Parton said. “that’ll come out a little later on. I don’t know if it’ll be this coming year but it’ll be soon. So hopefully you’ll enjoy that.”
Of course, this is far from Parton's first bluegrass-inspired project. In 1999, she released the all-bluegrass collection The Grass Is Blue. The album won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Album of the Year honor in 2000, and Parton made a guest appearance at the show. The project also earned Parton a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. She followed it with 2001's Little Sparrow, and 2002's Halos and Horns. Little Sparrow was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.
Parton's Trio and Trio II albums (which she recorded alongside luminaries Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt) included bluegrass elements, most notably Trio II, which included a cover of Del McCoury's "I Feel The Blues Movin' In." In 1995, she also released Heartsongs: Live From Home, which includes several bluegrass numbers.
Parton also recorded a version of the Jimmie Rodgers classic "Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel #8)," a song further popularized by the "Father of Bluegrass" Bill Monroe. Parton's version was included on the 1970 album The Best of Dolly Parton, and reached No. 3 on the country charts, also earning Parton a Grammy nomination. In 1978, Parton would team with Monroe to collaborate on the song during the CBS special Fifty Years of Country Music.
Parton has also collaborated with other bluegrass artists over the years, such as teaming with The Grascals for renditions of "Viva Las Vegas" and "I Am Strong," or earning a No. 1 Bluegrass hit with Rhonda Vincent in 2018 for their collaboration of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song "Please."