Dolly Parton
Women Who Rock
Fall 2002
Today's Country Music Deserves The Bird
They've gone gold and platinum many times over, and been showered with hundreds of awards.  So why are country's proven stars so happy to leave the Nashville scene behind?
Interview By Bob Gulla

Dolly Parton has been making records since 1960 and is one of the most acclaimed songwriters in the history of country music.  But over the past few years, since the genre has become not only hungry for pop-chart success but also a breeding ground for sexy abs, she has had problems appealing to today's country tastes.  Yet instead of whining about it, Dolly's decided to flip the bird to country music and travel back to the comforting down-home sounds of her East Tennessee youth:  Appalachian folk and mountain music.  Her new album is Halos and Horns [Sugar Hill].

It must have been frustrating to fit your music into a scene that wasn't accepting you, Dolly.
It got real frustrating for me in the business for the last seven or so years.  With all the new country acts, we couldn't get played on the radio.  I was still serious about making great music, but I didn't know what to do.  The last time I was in this situation was when I was a kid.

So what did you do?
I just don't worry about getting played on the radio anymore.  I decided to be true to the music I love.  I'm not trying to be a pop star.  But thanks to a soundtrack called O Brother Where Art Thou, people have started listening to old-time music again, which is exactly what I'm playing!

It appears that more and more artists have abandoned the glossy studio sound of pop country.
Wow, what a blessing that is!  Bluegrass and this mountain acoustic music have been bubbling under for a long time.  It takes a huge burden off me now that I can play this kind of music.  At this point in my life, I like to say that I had to get rich to sing like I was poor.  But there's no pressure from a major label.  I pay for these recordings myself.  Heck, I'd record this kind of music if I had to pay for it and had to sell it out of the trunk of my car!  We're all doing this for the love of the music, and it's wonderful that people are responding.

How do you feel about leaving the music of Nashville behind?
Well, it's better for me not to think about what's happening over there.  Now I can record anything I want to, as long as it is realómade with real emotions for real people.  At the end of the day, after making this music, I feel like I've reached a great climax, made great love, and I need to smoke a cigarette.  And I don't even smoke!