Straight talk with Dolly

Dolly Parton is a busy woman.

Between promoting a new CD & DVD for Cracker Barrel, planning a new theme park across from Nashville’s Opryland, and traveling abroad to tour and work further on the international version of 9 to 5 the Musical, it seems like she never gets to rest.

“I love it,” she gushes with a genuine smile as she talks about her somewhat hectic schedule. “I have a lot energy, and I’m just one of those people that’s kind of hyper. Its best if I channel that energy into something. I just really love what I do, and if something really great is happening, it energizes me. I see things happen, and it makes me think of something else that I could make happen because that happened, so I try not to ever miss a trick.”

Still, her busy schedule keeps her from doing what she loves most, writing.

“The only blocks I've ever had [when it comes to writing] is when so much stuff got in my way that I can’t get chance to go do it,” she says. Dolly goes on to explain that there she has never had time where she could not think of something to write, because she picks up a guitar or hits a chord on a piano inspiration is there.

“If I’m just walking through the house and I hit a chord, then it’s just natural for me to go get a guitar,” she explains. “If one’s sitting up on a stand, I’ll just rake my hand across it like it’s just a natural thing, and then I'll just hear something to write. I’ve never had a period of time where I thought I couldn’t write.”

While she never has a problem writing, some things do take a bit longer though, like when she was commissioned to write the songs for 9 to 5 the Musical.

“When I did the 9 to 5 musical,” she explains, “I had other people having to direct me for what they needed and then had to go back and change it, having to just write a completely different song because they changed the script that week. I think [those are] the bigger challenges sometimes for me as a writer, when I’ve been commissioned to do something rather than it just coming out of me.”

Fans can get a glimpse at some of Dolly’s writing and other behind the scenes footage on her latest CD/DVD release from Cracker Barrel, An Evening with...Dolly.

The combo set was recorded live in London and features many of Dolly’s top hits and some new classic, including one of her favorites, “Coat of Many Colors”, a song that incorporates much of her “It Gets Better” message for today’s bullied youth.

“I really think it's wonderful that people are paying attention to this,” she says, “because I don’t think people realize the stuff that goes on with bullying with kids in school. People should be allowed to be themselves no matter what they are, and I have written a whole bunch of songs along that line. I'm hoping sometime soon to put out a record of things, but ‘Coat of Many Colors’ says it best.”

The song describes a young girl who has been bullied because her family cannot afford a better coat for her than the patchwork one she wears. By the song’s end, the little girl becomes confident in herself.

“I really think it's great the attention is being brought to that,” Dolly continues to explain her anti-bullying stance, “because it is just amazing how kids, and not just kids but grown people, get bullied if you have a weakness or handicap, or if you’re not just top-of-the-line, or if you don’t have the money or the shoes or the clothes that somebody else has. I have a lot of songs that speak to that, but I think the message is ‘Stop It!’

“Try to learn to love each other. We are all God's children, and we’re all the same person, really. We’ve all got the same things inside us: we hurt, we love. It just depends on what you love and how it hurts you. People just forget that we all have the same things inside us, even the mean people. You touch them in the right way about something important to them, they’ll crumble like a cracker. All those bullies out there, they’re usually the ones that have got the most insecurities and the biggest problems. I think we need to just really try to love each other a little better, try to look a little closer, try to be a little kinder, and try to be more Christlike in that respect.

“But getting that message across and having people do it is a different thing now, ain’t it?” she adds. 

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