Gig Review by Kim MacKenney with Gig Photography by Bianca Barrett

Dolly Parton

Delectable Dolly never fails to delight…

Fresh from her triumphant set at Glastonbury, Dolly plays to a packed crowd at Nottingham Arena on a Wednesday night. You know you’re at the correct concert when the diverse crowd of fans are wearing pink Stetsons with fluffy pink rims and pink balloon boobs!

Dolly Parton

Prior to Ms Parton’s Glastonbury performance she was presented with a prestigious award for 100 million albums sold to date – I’m sure no one’s surprised by this wonderful achievement.

Dolly Parton is a beautiful and talented singer-songwriter, who has written some of the most iconic songs over the last six decades, a gifted musician, playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, saxophone and violin amongst others. A business woman, brilliant actress and not forgetting her charitable enterprises such as her ‘Imagination Library’ supplying free books to pre-school children.

Dolly Parton

It seems impolite to talk about a lady’s age, but at 68 where does she get the energy from?

Being at a Dolly Parton concert is like spending time with an old friend; it all goes too quickly and you just can’t wait to see them again; it’s never enough. Could this be because Dolly gives so much of herself to the fans.

Dolly Parton

Raised in Sevierville, Tennessee, she was one of 12 children born to a sharecropper family in 1946; times where undoubtedly hard and the luxuries expected now, could never have been imagined, but as Dolly shares with us it was the richest childhood that any one could have wished for. The audience eagerly awaits the ever popular song ‘Coat of Many Colors’ written for her beloved late mother Avie, who showered her children with love and care. Within the first few notes the crowd roar with pleasure and Dolly is proud to tell us that the song has now been made into a book, and is being used to support anti bullying in schools.

Dolly Parton

Last year I was lucky enough to visit Sevierville (Dolly’s birth place) whilst staying in Pigeon Forge Tennessee, we stayed in a log cabin up in the beautifully haunting Smokey Mountains for two weeks. Of course we visited ‘Dollywood’ the theme park Dolly has built. Pigeon Forge is now a Mecca for holiday makers from around the world, putting Dolly’s home town on the map and providing jobs for thousands of local residents. When Dolly sang about my ‘My Tennessee Mountain Home’ I was transported back to the Appellation Mountains in an instant.

Dolly is who she is because of Tennessee; it lives within her heart, her soul and her music. My favourite song of the night was the ethereal beauty of ‘Little Sparrow’ Dolly states her influences lie within the folk music of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and this song reflects that wonderfully. The audience hushes as she sings, her voice rising and falling creating the story of the sparrow, fragile and delicate, like a maiden’s heart, crushed broken dreams at the hands of men.

She says it will be a sad song and ‘oh boy’ yes it was!

Dolly Parton

Dolly takes us on a journey with songs such as ‘Home’ from her new album ‘Blue Smoke’ then onto beloved hits such as Jolene “Where is she now?” she asks, as she watches her husband snoring in his La-Z-Boy chair and gives us one of her cheeky giggles, she jokes that Jolene is welcome to him now. Dolly tells us about her grandfather who was a Pentecostal preacher in their home town and if by a ‘miracle’ we are suddenly transported to church, Dolly playing the part of the preacher, she then performs a moving rendition of ‘Lay your hands on me’.

Dolly Parton

It’s all over too soon but the happy mood still lingers, it’s like going into a therapy session, sometimes sad – mainly joyful but certainly healing. Our old friend is gone again, but leaves us with her timeless message of love, kindness, hope, home, family and faith and to ‘keep your chin up’ whatever life throws at you. Thanks Dolly, hope to see you again soon.

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