Dolly Parton still reigns country supreme 

There’s no denying it.

Dolly Parton is still one of the reigning queens of country music.

The seven-time Grammy winner makes no bones about her rural, rootsy leanings — she dubbed her last studio set from 2008 “Backwoods Barbie,” if anyone had any doubts.

This summer, she returns with “Better Day,” a brand-new album of rustic originals (and yes, Parton has always been one of Nashville’s most underrated composers), whose flagship single “Together You And I” she’ll premiere on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” on Thursday, May 26. The song hits radio the same day.

Parton says she envisioned this batch of songs (out in late June or early July — she hasn’t decided yet) as a real feel-good record, an optimistic ray of hope in our dark, troubled times. Which is probably why she’s undertaking a huge world tour to promote it, a juggernaut that starts in America (with a Concord date at Sleep Train Pavilion on July 24), then continues over to Britain and Europe, and concludes in Australia. She’ll even be returning to London’s 02 Arena, where she taped her two-disc 2009 concert set “Live From London.”

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