Dolly Parton
Las Vegas Review-Journal
February 15, 2007
Parton still going strong at 61
By Mike Weatherford

The festival of hip-hop culture surrounding NBA All-Star weekend seems to have pushed Dolly Parton all the way out of town to Primm.

But imagine a backing beat when the singer offers a telephone sampling of her upcoming single, and you have a hip-hop declaration in the making.

Parton was in the studio last month working on the album "Backwoods Barbie." The title track is "my story about my look," she explained, quoting some of the lyrics:

"Too much makeup, too much hair, but don't be fooled thinking that the goods are not all there... Don't let these false eyelashes lead you to believe I'm as shallow as I look, because I run true and deep."

The singer, 61, laughed when asked if this is her response to Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman."

"I'm the original redneck woman," said the singer, who performs Saturday at Buffalo Bill's Star of the Desert Arena. "I love (Wilson), I should be so lucky as to have the success she's having. I haven't had things played on the radio in years."

The upcoming album makes a sincere attempt to cure that with a radio-friendly approach. "If they don't play this one (then) I'm not going to worry about that part (of my career) any more."

However, she assures fans, "I'll never retire. I'll be writing and singing and making records even if I have to sell 'em out of the trunk of my car."

It wouldn't be all that big a stretch, given the schizophrenic nature of Parton's career. "A lot of people really do know I'm a serious writer and singer," she said. Last year's "The Acoustic Collection" was a box set of three bluegrass and folk albums she previously released on her own label.

But more people know her as a celebrity caricature, "just a big girl with big hair, big tits, big mouth," as she says.

"But I am all of that," she added, and the duality "makes it fun for me, really."

It was the latter persona that first made Parton a Las Vegas showroom attraction in 1981, in the wake of her "Nine to Five" crossover fame (the movie is now being developed as a theatrical musical).

Some blame her $350,000 per week salary for effectively killing star policy for the rest of the decade and creating today's rent-the-room practices.

Parton remembers those big-money shows at the Riviera as her first shot at a big-time paycheck after years on the honky-tonk circuit. "That's why we were doing those type shows, to get all the money you can. (The casinos) can afford it. They're gonna steal everybody else's money. Why can't I have some of it?"

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal