Dolly Parton is going to back to the basics for her biggest North American tour in a quarter-century.
“The tour itself is called ‘Pure and Simple,’ mainly because it’s kind of scaled down,” she told Rolling Stone. “But there’s only four of us on stage, we play different instruments and we all sing and we do all those songs that people know, but they’re just not as big and we don’t have a lot of effects on stage and any of that.”
Parton, 70, will take her show on the road to 60 cities, including Duluth, where she will play the Infinite Energy Arena at 7:30 p.m. June 4. Though Parton hasn’t finalized a set list, it’s a good bet plenty of her 25 songs that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart will make the cut.
“We don’t have a lot of video; we don’t have any, really,” Parton told Rolling Stone. “In the bigger places where we play we’ll have to have some video cameras, where you’ll see me — because I’m so little. But actually, I’m doing a lot of songs really scaled-down … but, of course, I do a lot of talkin’. What else would I do, right?”
Her tour coincides with a two-disc album, “Pure and Simple With Dolly’s Biggest Hits,” which will pair a disc with new songs with a disc containing those that made her country music’s leading lady. The first album will feature songs such as “Mama,” inspired by Parton’s mother, Avie Lee Parton, as well as the title song, “Pure and Simple.”
“I don’t know how pure I am, but I know I’m pretty simple,” she said at her press conference to announce the new album, which is expected to be available this summer.
Speaking to reporters at her theme park, Dollywood in Tennessee, Parton said she wants to tour this year “because I may do more television next year. I might even do a series or something. So I wanted to be sure to get out there and at least thank my fans.”
Parton had a breakout hit with the NBC television movie “Coat of Many Colors,” which aired in December and was based on her childhood and the song she wrote about the garment her mother made for her.
“You never know about a song, if it’s going to be a hit,” she told reporters. “And you certainly never know about a movie, either. But like the song, the movie really touched so many people. We have had a lot of requests to do a sequel and possibly a series. We’re talking about it. It would be about the mountain people, kind of based on my life, if we can work out all the details.”
Parton said she may continue her career in television by writing, producing and possibly acting in a series based on her life and stories that have chronicled her meteoric rise to fame and fortune.
Decades before she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999 and won eight Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, five Academy of Country Music Awards and three American Music Awards, she was just a girl with 11 siblings growing up in a poor farming family’s tiny cabin in the foothills of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains.
After starring on a radio show and appearing at age 12 at the Grand Ole Opry where she sang her first single, “Puppy Love,” she moved to Nashville upon graduating from high school in 1964. She signed a record deal with Monument and met Carl Dean, whom she married two years later. He has been by her side as she has sold more than 100 million records. Parton has 110 singles that have charted.
“I’m a girl of many colors. My songs are my songs, and my stories are my stories,” Parton said. “There’ll certainly be some redeeming qualities in it, but it’s not going to be like the film ‘Coat of Many Colors.’”
Though she remained vague, this much is clear: Parton’s concert at Infinite Energy Arena, which she hasn’t played since November 2005, may by her last in Georgia for quite some time.
“I figure,” she told Rolling Stone Country, “I gotta get it while the getting’s good.”