Dolly Parton remains a ‘ray of hope’ in trying economic times 

With her twangy new set of upbeat originals titled “Better Day,” Dolly Parton had a single mission in mind. The 65-year-old country legend penned songs like “The Sacrifice,” “Somebody’s Missing You” and the title track, she says, “because I just think it’s time to lift people up a little bit — we’re all so down in the dumps about so many things, so I wanted to have a good, positive album and a good, positive world tour. So I wanted every song on it to have a ray of hope, even the sadder songs.” She plays in Concord on Sunday.

You’ve gotten countless awards. But someone actually created a Dolly Parton hybrid tea rose? Yes! There was a guy who used to do this cross-breeding, and he was a fan of mine and said he had to have a rose named after me. So they came to visit me and brought me one of the very first roses, and it is an absolutely beautiful flower — it has a beautiful rosebud that blooms out as big as your hand. A lot of people have them in their gardens today, so I always thought that was one of the greatest compliments, ever.

And you were even on the cover of Playboy, right? I sure was! And a lot of people get that wrong — they think that I did some kind of layout, but there really was a great article on me in there. And I never would’ve done a

layout — I would’ve been too embarrassed. But I enjoyed wearing that little bunny suit on the cover!

I remember seeing you on “The Porter Wagoner Show,” pulling out giant towels from boxes of Breeze detergent. It was actually a bath towel — we used to have to do our own commercials on those shows, and they were so corny. But I still have some of those towels that I’ve kept through the years. Those were the days — “And you can only get them in boxes of Breeze!” And honestly, with that towel inside, there probably wasn’t more than half a box of Breeze. But people didn’t care because they were getting something free.

You’ve written roughly 4,000 songs. And you always understood how important original material was, right? Well, I don’t think that’s something you understand — you either have that gift or you don’t. To sing is one gift. But I think it’s great if you can write your own songs — it gives you a little extra strength.

And when you reach 5,000 songs, I hear they name a brand new flower after you! Ha! What would I want? Maybe a yellow rose this time. That’s my favorite flower!



Dolly Parton

When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sleep Train Pavilion; 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord
Tickets: $25-$180

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