Dolly is ‘Backwoods Barbie’Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The day we’re born we start to die,
Don’t waste one minute of this life, get to livin’
— “Better Get to Livin’ ” by Dolly Parton and Kent Wells
Dolly Parton doesn’t let the bluegrass grow beneath her spike heels. The country icon’s schedule is packed; she knows timing is everything.
“Backwoods Barbie,” her fourth single from the 2008 disc of the same name, is out. A collector’s edition with three new songs — along with a pink Dolly rocking chair and photo album — went on sale at Cracker Barrel last month. “Backwoods Barbie” is a song from “9 to 5: The Musical,” set to open on Broadway April 30; Parton penned the musical score for the production. And Sony Legacy reissued her 1980 album, “9 to 5 and Odd Jobs,” with remixes and bonus tracks March 31.
“Boy, I really am busier than the one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest,” the 63-year-old wrote on her blog at www.dollypartonmusic.net.
The legend who has 42 top 10 country albums, 25 No. 1 singles and more awards than hollers in the Smoky Mountains took a few minutes to call from Nashville and answer questions for Toledo Free Press.
TFP: What can you say about the three new songs on the collector’s edition of “Backwoods Barbie?”
DP: We’ve got one called “Berry Pie,” which is a fun, little love song about a girl trying to please a boy through making him all this good food, which they have like that at Cracker Barrel.
And one is called “Hallelujah Holiday.” It’s about people glad to be on vacation … “Rose of My Heart” is about true love, and you know how [the restaurant’s] very family-oriented, love-oriented …
TFP: What’s the story behind “Backwoods Barbie”?
DP: I needed to write a song for the Doralee Rhodes character that I played in the movie, “9 to 5,” with Jane [Fonda] and Lily [Tomlin]… I know that character so well, she’s so me, and I thought well, I need to write this, something I completely understand that comes from my heart ’cause I wanted that particular piece to be real special for her ‘cause she was playing my part … It’s like a country girl’s idea of glam: Too much makeup, too much hair, push-up bra and heels, but don’t be fooled by thinkin’ I’m not real in the places that it counts.
TFP: Has writing for Broadway been different from writing for a solo disc?
DP: I had more freedom to write because usually when you write for radio, you have to pretty much think about well, let’s keep this under three minutes so we’ll get some airplay. And usually in order to do that, you have a verse, a chorus and a bridge and maybe do the verse again. But when I was writing for the characters in the show, I realized I didn’t have to be boxed in… And then I was getting a chance to write for specific characters, and that was an element I had never particularly done; I would either write for a man or for a woman. But for this, I had to write for the old, mean boss, Mr. Hart, and I really had to do it in his voice and I had to act it out (lowers voice) in my manly voice (laughs), and I had a lot of fun doing it.
TFP: What are the elements of a good song?
DP: … The success of my big songs has been that they’re simple and easy to sing — that most people can sing ‘em — and what you try to do is have also something that people can relate to.
Like “I Will Always Love You,” I’ve had people say, “Oh, that reminded me of when my son went to college” or “That reminded me when my daddy died, we played it at his funeral,” and certainly people always say when my husband and I broke up or my wife and I or my girlfriend or boyfriend.
TFP: You seem to have a genuine, upbeat spirit — are you always optimistic?
DP: Well, I try hard, it’s like everybody goes through hard times, everybody worries, everybody frets. I was born with a happy heart and I try to make things good during the day if I see they’re not going to be good, but I think you just have to keep your faith; you need to pray a lot and try to look above and beyond and try to look at things outside yourself and not get too caught up in your own sorrow; just pray for strength.