by Jonathan Pinkerton

Stella Parton may be a member of one of country music's most adored families, but there's no denying this chart-topping country and gospel singer/songwriter has a style and sound that's unmistakably her own.

Parton will ring in the holiday and the true spirit of the season on Dec. 12 when she brings her Appalachian Christmas Show to PLAY Dance Bar at 7 p.m. as a benefit for Nashville CARES. Admission is a suggested $5 donation and attendees must be 18 or older.
Parton recently sat down with O&AN contributor Jonathan Pinkerton for a Q&A session.
O&AN: You've always used your celebrity to promote causes you feel strongly about, from serving as national spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Christian Appalachian Project to being National Honorary Country Music Ambassador to the American Cancer Society. And now you've chosen to do your December 12 show as a benefit for Nashville CARES.   Can you tell us why you've chosen Nashville CARES?
: I think it is such a worthwhile cause. HIV/AIDS has kinda been put on the back burner and there is still so much that needs to be done because there is still no cure and  it's   such a prevalent problem in our society.  This is something we need to embrace to help make a change.
O&AN: How long have you been doing Stella Parton's Appalachian Christmas Show?
SP: This is the fifth year. We keep changing it a little and this year we think we have the best show so far.
O&AN: Throughout your career, you've had success in Country and Gospel as a singer, songwriter and producer, as well as acting on Stage and Screen.  Is singing your first love?  
SP: Songwriting and producing in the studio are my favorite aspects of what  I do.  However, I love to see the audience respond to a live performance to something I have sung, said or done.  Most of the time I have my stiletto in mouth and the audience lets me know it.
O&AN: What is it about singing live that makes it so special for you?
SP: The energy from the audience and to think that I have the awesome opportunity to entertain people.  It is the greatest thing and I will never get used to that because it is new everytime.
O&AN: What are some of your earliest memories of performing?
SP: Performing with my sisters and my mother.  Performing on televison was the most frightening thing the first time.  To have a camera staring at you knowing that people are going to see you and that you cannot see them is still freaky to me. 
O&AN: Can you tell us about your latest CD, Testimony?
SP: Testimony is a very positive cd and I think it is some of my best work as a songwriter.  I really enjoyed producing and arranging it and building it from the first song Tell It Sister Tell It. It has rough edges as well as some slick aspects to it. I think it is very indicative of my personality.  It is soft but rough.  That is kinda what life is.  
O&AN: Being the sixth child of a family of twelve, you must have some great memories of the holidays.  What's one of your favorite Christmas memories?
SP: Making homemade Christmas ornaments and going out in the fields to find a Christmas tree with my siblings.
O&AN: If fans want to add your new Testimony cd to their Christmas lists, where can they get it? 
: Testimony is available thru my website, or thru a link on my myspace page
O&AN: Can you tell us what's on your Christmas List this year?
SP: Good health peace and safety for all those I love, a good vet and a rhinestone collar for my new kitten, Fannie...and a new pair of red stilettos  for me!
O&AN: What's up next for you in the coming year? 
SP: I will be touring the UK in the spring as part of a LADIES OF COUNTRTY tour.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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