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Dolly Parton Seattle show, a rare treat
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A & E Writer

DOLLY PARTON
AUGUST 8 - 8PM
WAMU THEATER
$39.50-$85


Years ago, my friend and I made mental lists of artists we had yet to see in concert during our lifetime. On each of our lists was Dolly Parton. The country music icon has been a favorite of Gay men and drag queens for decades. A multiple Grammy winner, Grand Ole Opry inductee, and an idol to female artists of all genres, Parton is one of the most recognized and most rewarded divas in music. The celebrated cowgirl makes a rare in-city appearance at WaMu Theater on Friday, August 8. Her new album is entitled Backwoods Barbie, and has already garnered strong reviews. She's an entertainer who can attract everyone from suburban moms to urban punks, and from grandmas to college hipsters. Of course, the Gay boys will arrive in droves - and because it lands on a Friday night, the atmosphere will be even more festive. Take a friend, colleague, family member, co-worker, or just yourself, but definitely make plans to see this music icon in Seattle this weekend. Tickets were still available at press time. Seattle Gay News writer Richard Kennedy is attending the performance, so look for a review of the concert in our August 15 issue.

As a tribute to Dolly Parton, here's a look at five of her most treasured songs that she'll likely perform on Friday night.

Jolene - When I was living in Paris, I stumbled into an English-speaking bar on rue Mouffetard and a perky bartender said that her favorite song of all-time was "Jolene." I say this because many Americans don't realize that Dolly Parton has global impact, even the Icelandic artist Bjork is a huge fan of the country diva. In concert, "Jolene" is usually introduced as a song about a "woman trying to steal another woman's man." Indeed, Parton wrote it from personal experience, stemming from a redheaded beauty that had eyes for her real-life husband. At times, Parton has changed the lyrics to acknowledge the many drag queens in attendance at her show. "Jolene" landed well inside SGN's list of the coolest songs of 1973-2008, selected collectively by our staff's music team for June's Pride edition. Even The White Stripes have covered this track.

9 to 5 - The movie was hysterical, giving way to Parton's brief film career. But the theme song, featuring a typewriter intro, had everyone tapping their toes in the 80s. Everybody will likely be singing along to this Grammy-winning number, especially since Parton regularly encourages her audience to participate. So, start memorizing the lyrics that go something like this: "Tumble outta bed / And I stumble in the kitchen / Pour myself a cup of ambition."

Little Sparrow - This is my favorite Dolly Parton song and one of her best-written tracks from her bluegrass period circa 2001. I love how she compares a fragile bird to heartache, and feels the need to nurse it back to health as if telling a good friend the pain will go away, but not before she advises to "never trust the hearts of men." Her backup band, the Grascals, should provide a delicate violin to complement Parton's vocals during the concert. Performed live, it'll provide chills - and if it doesn't, see a back specialist.

I Will Always Love You - Yes, Whitney Houston made this ballad a huge hit in the early 90s and her version is decent. But the original is mindblowing, mainly because it was released at a time when very few female artists wrote their own lyrics. It's not a happy song; instead it's a goodbye poem about a woman leaving a man behind (Parton's own adieu to Porter Wagoner) and it'll probably be the concert's final song or saved for an encore. If you cry when you hear this performed live, I totally understand - moments like this don't happen often.

Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton didn't have a privileged upbringing; she was actually quite poor as a child. This song, another non-pretentious tearjerker like "Little Sparrow" and "I Will Always Love You," was written as a reflection of her childhood and as a tribute to her mom who sewed together a coat made of different colored scraps. Parton was unashamed of growing up the way she did, and "Coat of Many Colors" is an emotional trip down memory lane - truly heartfelt.

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