Dolly Parton: Better Get to Listnin'

-- Ace from

It's a big political year in

the U.S., and after the Democratic Convention this summer, I'll be stumping

for either Hillary or Obama. But in the meantime, I'm stumping for somebody

else — Dolly Parton. Now, Dolly is not running for President

— or any political office, for that matter — but she does have a campaign

to get back on country radio, and she needs our support.

Dolly's certainly doing her

part. After 10 years with no major label support, she decided to release a mainstream country album, Backwoods Barbie, on her own label, Dolly Records. As

she put it, “I'm looking at it like an investment. I thought, 'I've

made enough money. I can afford to invest a little in myself.”

She's doing plenty of press,

and she'll be a mentor on American Idol

next week! She'll be performing a song from her new album — I suspect

it will be the first single, “Better Get to Livin',” rather than

the second single, “Jesus and Gravity” — and the contestants will

perform Dolly Parton classics. This could be scary, but it will give

her plenty of exposure and likely drive album sales.

If you haven't seen it, check

out the video for “Better Get to Livin',” featuring Amy Sedaris.

And I'm trying to do my part

as well. I bought the album immediately upon release, thereby helping

it to reach No. 2 on Billboard during its second week. I'm going

to see her in concert next month. Yay! And I'm making my non-country-loving

girlfriend listen to the album, too. And she's enjoying it! Although

part of what she's enjoying is watching me dance around the house singing:

I'm just a backwoods Barbie,

too much makeup, too much hair.

Don't be fooled by thinkin' that the goods are not all there.

Don't let these false eyelashes lead you to believe that

I'm as shallow as I look, 'cause I run true and deep.

But her stated goal is not

just album sales, it's country radio — which dropped her like a hot

potato in the '90s. When she lost mainstream support, the ever-resourceful

Dolly adapted and shifted to roots music, releasing a trilogy of “bluegrass”

albums (I put bluegrass in quotes because the third album included

a cover of “Stairway to Heaven”) followed by a cover album, Those

Were the Days. They were all fantastic albums, but none got airplay

on stations busy playing Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler. So, now

it's time to return a little classic country style to mainstream country


If you'd like to request Dolly

on your local country radio station (in the United States) but you don't

know how to contact them, another set of artists who cannot get much

play on country radio (remember the Dixie Chicks?) have already

done the work for you. They published a comprehensive list

of country radio stations

on their website when they released Taking the Long Way a couple

of years ago. If there was a country radio in New York City, I'd be

calling. But there's not. Alas. So, I'll tell other people to call.

Heed Dolly's cry and “Get

Dolly Parton back on the radio!”

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