Concerts, Music Venues, News, Reviews

Dolly Parton proves to be the Rhinestone Queen of Country Music with Kentucky tour stop

Dolly Parton at Norton Center for the Arts – photo by Jessica Bray
From the moment she took the stage at the Norton Center for the Arts Tuesday night, Dolly Parton was full of sass and sparkle for her only Kentucky performance on the Pure & Simple tour.  Needless to say, music fans went through a musical journey with stories and jokes told by the Rhinestone Queen.

Fans of Dolly Parton will notice that the Pure & Simple tour is a different version than previous tours.  For this one, she stripped down her musical accompaniment and background vocals down to Richard Dennison, Kent Wells and Tom Rutledge.  In between songs, she would tell stories on each particular song and reflect on memories of growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Dolly Parton spoke about her family with pride and how her parents raised her to be who she is today.  She joked about her grandfather being a Pentecostal preacher and said when she started dressing up, he took notice.  Parton said, “Well I told him that if I went to Heaven, I didn’t want to look like hell!”  She also showcased several religious songs, including a beautiful rendition of “Precious Memories” that filled the auditorium with a blessing.
Years ago, Dolly learned from her brothers that her dad would go down to the courthouse in Sevierville each night and clean her statue.  He was so proud of her and wanted to make sure that her statue shined just like her on stage.  She also mentioned that he was excited for the Imagination Library that helps young students learn to read.
Dolly Parton at Norton Center for the Arts – photo by Jessica Bray
Dolly Parton was full of wisdom, including telling the audience that her song “Coat of Many Colors” is one that she will always cherish with the story that no one should be a bully towards anyone that is different.  She talked about the movie and how she was glad that folks still wanted to see faith-based movies on television.  Fans were quick to cheer loudly as she announced that “Christmas of Many Colors” would be released later this year as another movie made for tv.
Another show highlight was when Dolly was feeling “saxy” as she called it by performing “Yakety Sax” on the saxophone.  The audience also felt the haunting rendition of “Little Sparrow” as Parton’s vocals soar throughout the auditorium as the bass provided the eeriness in the air.
With the upcoming “The Complete Trio Project” to be released in September, Dolly Parton spoke highly of Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.  She said that they went in to remaster the previous recordings, as well as release some that had been in the can, but never released.  She spoke about Linda having Parkinson’s disease and unable to sing anymore.
Not one to ever stop writing songs, Dolly Parton performed “Pure & Simple” and “Outside Your Door” from her new album, “Pure & Simple” set for release on August 19th.  With her live performance of these songs, this is one album that music fans will want to have in their collection.
Dolly joked throughout the night about the Presidential race and got a lot of cheers when she said that she might as well run for President.  She mentioned that it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, but they will have a tough job.

Dolly Parton at Norton Center for the Arts – photo by Jessica Bray
What is as impressive as Dolly Parton’s vocals is her ability to play multiple instruments.  Whether it was guitar, fiddle, banjo, saxophone, piano, dulcimer, harmonica, penny whistle, or autoharp, she played with ease and provided the best Appalachian musical history one could learn from.
Dolly Parton at Norton Center for the Arts – photo by Jessica Bray
Even at 70 years old, Dolly Parton shows no signs of slowing down.  Playing for over two hours, Dolly Parton performed each and every song as if it was the last time she was playing those songs.  At the end of the night, Dolly Parton gave many thanks to her fans for allowing her to do what she loves, and that is to perform on stage. 
As she sang, “I Will Always Love You,” fans stood up for a standing ovation to the best female vocalist that has taken the stage.  On a personal note, for me this song will always stand out in my mind.  Six years ago, my family was honored to have met Dolly Parton on The Nate Berkus television show.  (Click here to read about that experience.) She sang “I Will Always Love You” in memory of my sister in law, Karin, who had passed away after giving birth to twins.  To me, that song will always be Karin’s song because she was truly the biggest fan of Dolly Parton, even down to a pink guitar.  One of the twins now has a pink guitar and she too, is a fan of Dolly Parton’s music as well.
Just like rhinestone on her outfits, Dolly Parton’s vocals and instrumental talents sparkled on stage for the fans in Danville, Kentucky.  Be sure to check out for more information on her new album releases, as well as where you can see Dolly Parton perform.
Dolly Parton Pure & Simple Tour Set List for Danville, Kentucky 8/9/2016
Hello Dolly
Train, Train
Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That
Pure & Simple
Precious Memories
My Tennessee Mountain Home
Coat Of Many Colors
Appalachian Memories
Rocky Top
Yakety Sax
Banks of the Ohio
American Pie
If I Had A Hammer
Blowin’ In The Wind
Dust in the Wind
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
The Seeker
I’ll Fly Away
Baby I’m Burnin’
Outside Your Door
The Grass Is Blue
Those Memories
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
Little Sparrow
Two Doors Down
Here You Come Again
Islands In The Stream
9 to 5


I Will Always Love You