On Wednesday, November 16th, Dolly Parton brought her “Pure & Simple” tour to Huntsville, Alabama to the delight of the packed audience inside the Von Braun Center Arena. This was the closest her tour was coming to Nashville, so I made sure I did not miss seeing her this time. It had been way too long since my last Dolly concert!
This tour is her biggest tour in 25 years and she did not disappoint. She belted out hit after hit from her long, illustrious career that has spanned the decades as the fans sang along to beloved favorites. Dolly even showcased her versatility by playing several instruments throughout the night. I lost count how many different ones, but was most surprised to see her play a bedazzled saxophone!
In-between songs, she delighted the crowd with her characteristic “slightly off-color” humor, stories, and southern charm throughout the evening.
The 2 hour set included a short 20 minute break in-between for a costume change with songs from the new album along with her many cherished hits. Dolly dazzled and shined all evening long holding the audience in the palm of her hand in a scaled back production that felt intimate despite being in a large arena.
One of my favorite moments of the evening was when she sang “Jolene” and told the humorous backstory that inspired the song, which was about the pretty red head that tried to turn her husband’s head many years ago. Also, I waited all night to hear “9 To 5” and hear her belt out the emotional “I Will Always Love You”.
Luckily, it seems that Dolly Parton has no intention of slowing down any time soon with the release of her new album “Pure & Simple”, this supporting tour, and her holiday made-for-tv movie on NBC: “Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love” (which is also available for purchase on DVD on Dec. 20th at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble, Target and more).
As if she has not been busy enough, she shows us what a big heart she has as she supports and raises funds for the her area in Sevier County that was recently devastated by wild fires. She immediately created the My People fund to support those families in the area for the next 6 months who lost everything to help get them back on their feet and has organized a huge benefit concert called Smoky Mountains Rise, which Middle Tennesseans can watch on WKRN Channel 2 at 7pm/c on December 13th.
For full details of the telethon and how you can watch/support, please read the press release below.
Rated: 5 out of 5 stars.
Several famous names have been added to the growing list of celebrities set to perform during Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. (EST). Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, LOCASH, Chris Janson and Montgomery Gentry are just a few of the new names added to perform during the event, which also has added three new broadcast partners, AXS TV, RFD and The Heartland Network. In addition, USAToday.com and USA Today National Networks to live stream the telethon on their affiliate newspaper websites, including all Tennessee newspaper sites Tennessean.com, Knoxnews.com, commercialappeal.com, jacksonsun.com, theleafchronicle.com, dnj.com, and others.
The nationally-broadcast, three-hour telethon seeks to raise money for the Dollywood Foundation My People Fund, established by Parton, The Dollywood Company and Parton’s dinner theaters in the wake of last week’s wildfires in the entertainment icon’s home area of Sevier County, Tennessee. Smoky Mountains Rise also will be simulcast across multiple radio chains, including iHeart Media’s digital and select on-air platforms, Cumulus Media’s NASH Nights LIVE, TuneIn’s Country Roads channel, and several other platforms which are set to be announced shortly. All of the artists are donating their performances to help the effort.
“I’m truly honored that these artists are giving their time and energy to help us raise money for everyone affected by the wildfires,” Parton said. “I’ve got so many great friends in the industry, and I’m so proud that they were so ready to step up and help me help my people in the Smoky Mountains through this telethon and the My People Fund.”
The My People Fund will provide $1000 each month to Sevier County families whose homes are uninhabitable or were completely destroyed in the recent Smoky Mountain wildfires. Any family who lost their primary residence (renters and homeowners) due to the wildfires in Sevier County will be eligible. A pre-application for those affected is available at dollywoodfoundation.org.
During the telethon, viewers will be asked to call 1-866-CARE MORE to donate to the My People Fund.
Anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the My People Fund may visit dollywoodfoundation.org. For those wishing to send donations via mail, those contributions should be sent to: My People Fund, c/o Dollywood Foundation, 111 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
Please help the Dollywood Foundation share the word about this effort by using the hashtags #MyPeopleFund and #someplacespecial.
About Smoky Mountains Rise:
Smoky Mountains Rise is a three-hour telethon broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 13 to raise money for the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund to benefit those affected by the Sevier County, Tennessee wildfires. Smoky Mountains Rise is executive produced by Dolly Parton, Danny Nozell, Kirt Webster, Pete Owens and Scott Durand. Produced by Edie Hoback, Jeremy Westby, Shanna Strassberg, Nic Dugger and Shantel Klinger.
About The Dollywood Company:
A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON DOLLY PARTON, VISIT: