Dollywood in Hollywood! I went to the Dolly Parton concert at the Hollywood Bowl last night with my friends Stoney, Virginia and Eva. I’m I a huge Dolly Parton fan? Nope. I really had no idea what to expect. I admitted the only real song I knew of hers was 9 to 5. Shows at the Bowl are usually enjoyable, as was thins one. Something about being outside and bringing your own food to nosh on makes it special.
The show kicked off with Dolly coming out singing, lights flashing. Although we were pretty high up, we could see Dolly’s hair and sparkly dress down on stage. They also had some large screens showing her so we could see more.
I usually have more respect for a musical artist after attending a live concert (given they have talent). I can now say with confidence (as if you’re waiting on me to confirm this) that Dolly has talent. She is quite a performer. She talked a lot to the audience throughout the show and she just seems as sweet as can be. She sang a few cover songs and originals, which I caught here on my fancy iPhone.
She talked (and sang) about her childhood in Tennessee. Her family was, in her own words, “dirt poor”. They lived in a rustic, dilapidated one-room cabin in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, a predominantly Pentecostal area.
She mentioned her grandfather was a Pentecostal “holy-roller” preacher who (if alive today) would tell people to get off Facebook and into the GOOD book! She ended up singing several spiritual songs and lovingly joked that we all must feel like were in church.
Dolly began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in Tennessee and by age nine she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee.
At thirteen when was on a small label in Louisiana called Goldband Records and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Apparently while at the Opry, she first met Johnny Cash who encouraged her to go where her heart took her, and not to care what others thought. Pretty cool. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, she moved to Nashville taking many traditional elements of folklore and popular music from East Tennessee with her.
So, am I heading out to buy Dolly’s new album? Maybe not, but I sure do have more respect for her as an artist. My recommendation to you? Go see more live music! It may sound silly, but I feel like I know Dolly, just a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, going to some Bieber Fever concert sounds like a nightmare and I don’t suggest you will like every artist you go see (although the Bieber movie did make many cray, I hope to never learn why).
To see how much joy Dolly brought so many people at the concert was just a sample at how much joy she must bring millions of other people. The true gift of being an artist.