An Evening with Dolly Parton
Dolly, 11-time Grammy winner, was busy this week in Austin as she truly was a SXSW convergence speaker with new things in film, music, books, and tech. On Friday evening at the iconic Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, Dolly Parton gave her first ever performance at SXSW, which was live streamed for free on the blockchain at welcometodollyverse.com by BCL and Eluvio.
While we would gladly experience Dolly in any format, we weren’t sure how many songs she would sing as she was there for a SXSW panel discussion about her new book “Run, Rose, Run” which she co-authored with legend James Patterson. The two actually made a witty pairing and moderator Connie Britton kept the conversation flowing. When a fan shouted, “I love you!” she quickly replied, “I love you too but I told you to wait in the trunk!”.
Dolly played a solid hour featuring her greatest hits. She peppered the performance with inspiring and, often quippy, antidotes surrounding each song. Her voice was as beautiful as ever, as was she. Donning a pair of blue jean capris, red stilettos and bedazzled with rhinestones, Dolly shimmered as she danced across the stage engaging the audience. She told stories about growing up poor in the Smoky Mountains, her days working with Porter Wagoner, and her long-lasting marriage to husband Carl Dean (over 50 years!).
We loved hearing her and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) talk about their love of Austin and Nashville alike. By the end of the evening, we were all converted apostles of Dolly and inspired by her positive outlook on life, “If you see someone without a smile, given them one of yours.” When asked how she handles difficulties in life, she shared that she doesn’t believe in wallowing in misery but finding the good and positive- even in the rough times of the pandemic.
See all our photos from Dolly’s last show in Austin on Austin 101.
Dolly’s performance included three songs from her new album, “Run, Rose, Run”. The album was written by Dolly to accompany the forthcoming book by the same name. We particularly liked the song “Woman Up (And Take it Like a Man)” that includes the fun sing-along chorus. She then relayed a story about being jealous of a woman Carl was talking to at the bank before bowling over the audience by performing fan favorite “Jolene” with ‘please don’t take my man’ lyrics. Harkening back to her Smoky Mountain roots, Dolly talked about growing up poor but happy, sharing the bed with all her siblings, and her love for her family. She also talked about how she built her on-stage persona;she said it came from being a little girl and asking her momma who the lady was in the fancy clothes and the big hair and make up- her mom said, “she’s a prostitute”. Dolly replied, “that’s what I want to be!”.
She also performed “Precious Memories”, “Appalachian Memories” and the popular “Coat of Many Colors”, explaining that she gave her mother, the seamstress of that coat, all the royalties from the song. Dolly discussed her decision to leave the Porter Wagoner show before performing her cover of “Here You Come Again” with the poignant departure line “and here I go”. By the time she performed “9 to 5” the crowd couldn’t help but sing along and did so boisterously. Dolly noted that their vocals got really loud at the “drive you crazy if you let it” part. And, finally, just when we thought we had heard all Dolly’s greatest hits, she pulled out the big guns for the legendary hit “I Will Always Love You”. There were many tears during that song, including ours. It’s safe to say that those lucky enough to be in the audience, witnessed one of the most amazing performances of their lifetimes.
As much as we love her songs, what we love most is how Dolly continues to support women with mentorship and how she’s constantly contributing to the greater good with things like donating millions for Covid vaccines.
Dolly also made some surprise announcements during the show including that the book will be a film and she’ll be working with Reese Witherspoon who’s Hello Sunshine is producing the adaptation. Both from Nashville, and mutual admirers it seems like the perfect collab.
Also, recently, Parton who was nominated for this year’s Rock n Roll Hall of Fame class, gracefully bowed out posting on social media:
More about Dollyverse and the SXSW mission: At the heart of Blockchain Creative Labs @ SXSW is the BCL_NFT_Gallery, which will celebrate and drop a series of diverse and new NFT art, music, movie posters and other content from such creators as global superstar and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee Dolly Parton and her Web3 experience, welcometodollyverse.com; Bento Box Entertainment’s Tik Tok studio, A Studio; FOX’s upcoming animated comedy, KRAPOPOLIS, from Dan Harmon; “The Mask Verse”; and more.
The “Dollyverse” will release an exclusive selection of official and certified Dolly NFT collectibles, including limited-edition NFTs of the Run, Rose, Run music album and a limited series of Dolly-inspired NFT artwork, for purchase during and after SXSW. In-person attendees at Parton’s performance will be able to claim a free NFT, while fans streaming the event will be able to receive tokens authenticating their participation.