Dolly Parton is less a singer, more a one-woman world-domination machine. You’ll most likely know her as a singer, though. You may have seen her in the odd film or two, and you might know she owns her own theme park, Dollywood.
On top of this, she’s also a published author with several autobiographies, works of fiction and cookbooks to her name.
She also co-founded Sandollar Productions (maker of the Buffy TV series). She’s sold more than 100-million records worldwide, but perhaps even more impressive is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the charity she founded to distribute free books to disadvantaged pre-school children across the US – it currently sends out around 8.3 million books a year. At 68, Parton embodies the same girlish charm and bubbly persona as three decades ago. After a few years tending to the rest of her empire, she’s spent 2014 touring, with the UK leg starting on 8 June. She plays Aberdeen on 15 June and Glasgow on 17 and 18 June.
“I’ve had a wonderful time playing this year, the crowds have been good each night, and I’m very excited for the UK shows. We haven’t been for three years or so, and we had such a great time then. I just want to recreate that.”
Her new album Blue Smoke has just been released. It is also the name of a song on the album. “It’s about a heartbreak train called Blue Smoke,” she says, adding that she got the name from the Great Smoky Mountains where she grew up. “The Cherokee call them Shaconage, which means ‘land of blue smoke’, which seemed perfect for me.”
Elsewhere there’s a duet with Kenny Rogers called You Can’t Make Old Friends. It doesn’t reach the heights of their most famous singing partnership, Islands In The Stream, but then few songs do.
“It’s one of my favourite songs we’ve ever sung together,” explains Parton.