Tag Archives: Dolly Parton

Some people are just born legends…

“I don’t really talk dirty to be dirty. It’s just a way of communication. Some people are just born cussers.”

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I’ve Loved Dolly Just As Long As You Have: Unpacking The Pines, June 7

Just when I thought I’d blogged my last about Dolly Parton, everyone’s favourite Tennessee mountain blonde decided she would do the almost unimaginable and tour Australia for the first time in 30 years. And so, just quietly, tenderly and in the most dignified way possible… I’VE BEEN GOING CRAZY WITH EXCITEMENT. Folks who’ve seen my strange collection of Dolly stuff will know that I am a huge fan. I’ve got the Playboy issue with her on the cover, I’ve got the Dolly doll, I’ve got pictures of her in frames on my wall and I have even decided to revoke my long-term philosophy on marriage (not really my thing/ don’t believe in it/might be getting too old to go to my grave married as many times as Liz Taylor so what’s the fucking point) for the suitor who proposes with/ already owns one of these:

I know, I know, my claims to sanity are getting more and more dubious… With the upcoming tour weighing heavily on my mind, there was never any doubt that tonight’s In The Pines would have a Dolly flavour. We heard: Dolly and Porter Wagoner’s I’ve Been Married Just As Long As You Have, Justin Townes Earle and Dawn Landes’ excellent cover of Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? and Allison Moorer’s re-working of Light Of A Clear Blue Morning which was released back in 2003 on the Parton tribute record Just Because I’m A Woman.

Dolly is playing shows across Australia in November and tickets will be available through the good people at Chugg Entertainment on June 20.

I promise not to play anymore Parton for a while now… Maybe… Probably… Perhaps… No really, the point of the program is to play brand new tunes of the Americana/folk/alt-country persuasion and if you tuned in tonight then you will know that against all odds I did manage that brief. Here are some highlights.

Thurston Moore, ‘Benediction’

Sonic Youth frontman goes acoustic on his Beck produced solo record Demolished Thoughts.

Jessica Lea Mayfield, ‘I’ll Be The One That You Want Someday’

I’ve already spun the single from JLM’s second LP Tell Me twice this year so tonight we had an album track.

If you’re not over ‘Our Hearts Are Wrong’ (and why would you be, it’s perfect) here’s a link to the Letterman performance from a few months back.

Dawes, ‘If I Wanted Someone’

California’s Dawes released their much-anticipated sophomore album Nothing Is Wrong today. I played the album version of ‘If I Wanted Someone’, which is golden and glorious can be downloaded here. I must have listened to it forty times today. When I finally stopped, I revisited it acoustic.

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Tonight It’s All About The Ladies: International Women’s Day on FBi

All women, all night long. In celebration of International Women’s Day tonight’s In The Pines was just that.

A mix of tunes old and new and in-between, heartbreakers and heart-warmers, songs of love and lust and hardship and survival. We heard classics from Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette, contemporary heroes like Lucinda Williams, Neko Case and PJ Harvey alongside newcomers like Sydney’s Holly Throsby, New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins and Nashville’s Caitlin Rose.

It was wonderful to share so much great music with you and to make radio infused with greater meaning and purpose. Of course, I always try to put together the playlist with a special sense of care and to give it that little bit of tenderness, because after all I am passionate about all things americana and folk and country. But tonight felt extra special. I’m a feminist. I’m proud of it. I’m proud of the many improvements that have come about since the first International Women’s day one hundred years ago. And I am proud of the women at home and abroad who continue to fight for equal rights for all women across the world. Solidarity sisters. We have won many battles. We have many battles to go. Keep up the good fight!

If you missed the program, you can check out the playlist under the appropriately marked tab.

And as an added bonus, here are some live tunes from performers featured on the program who make me glad to a woman and a country music nerd. Happy International Women’s Day y’all x

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Tash Parker’s Top Five

Most of the time I call this section of the blog the ‘Mid-week Mixtape’ but alas, it’s Friday, so I’m a little late off the blocks…

Tash Parker writes tender, sweet folk ballads inspired by singers like Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega and Feist. With this in mind, it would make more sense to say I first met her at the Woodford Folk Festival or Peats Ridge, but no, we met at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. We were watching a rollicking good country covers band playing classic tunes on the back of a truck. I liked her instantly.

Raised in WA but now living and making music in Victoria, Tash will venture to Sydney this weekend to launch her sophisticated debut alongside Ed Deer, Cogels and Jess Chalker at the Vanguard. It promises to be a great show and y’all should come down for some fine Sunday evening serenading. In the meantime though, check out her fine taste in tunes as she presents this week’s mix.

Kings of Convenience – 24-25
The album Declaration of Dependence is my standout record for the last two years. This song is the opening track and it reminds me of my Christmas holidays in Broome when I was a child because it has this somewhat sleepy tropical feel. It’s an absolutely divine recording and the songwriting and performances are so inspiring.

Suzanne Vega – Song Of Sand
Suzanne Vega has been a huge inspiration for me for the last two years. I discovered 99.9 F in a friend’s collection when I was house sitting and I now listen to it once a week. Her songs are intricate tales poetically poignant and timeless. The more I listen to her the more I feel inspired to write simple melancholy melodies but she also has some really quirky production on this record, even though it’s not on this track, that encouraged me to think outside the square when I was recording mine.

The Cars – Drive

There are so many great eighties pop classics in our record collection but this band in particular reminds me of raiding my Dad’s collection as a child. I recently re-discovered Heartbeat City when a friend was shocked that I had The Cars on my iPod and bought me the cd. This track is just a great pop song. Everything is epic and emotional and covered in massive reverb. I can’t get enough of it.

The Flaming Lips – One More Robot Sympathy 3000-21

I only discovered the Flaming Lips on this album, I know a late starter. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is now a staple in my house when I’m at home doing admin for my music, oh and when I’m spring cleaning. This song has all the right elements – a really hooky synth bass line, space ship noises, double time high hats in the chorus… and it’s about a robot with feelings. What more could you ask for?

Dolly Parton – Here You Come Again
The most incredible female vocalist of all time. A total inspiration. I used to put this song on when I was a teenager and sing my little heart out. Of course everyone knows Jolene but this song really summed up my life as a young woman who fell in love too easily with the wrong kinds of guys. Here You Come Again is also the title of the album and it is 15 songs of pure country gorgeousness. a must have in everyone’s collection.

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Post Pines #5: Dolly, Dolly, Dolly

The caffeinated excess of recent Tuesdays was replaced with a hard-earned Coopers Pale Ale pre-Pines tonight. I don’t encourage this and it’s not often I booze before broadcasting, but I had to take the edge off. Why? Dolly Parton has committed to touring Australia next year and I’ve become a living, breathing hype machine. Will she sign my ‘Dolly’ dolly? Will she guest program In The Pines? Is there any chance she’ll join Kenny Rogers at the Opera House? I’ve been so overwhelmed with excitement this past 24 hours I’m surprised I have been able to make it around without wheelchair assistance.

Oh, DOLLY! I can’t recall the fateful day that I became a full-blown fan. Those who know me too well might make the assumption that the transition occurred sometime around 1995, when my Ma’s announcement of a twin pregnancy meant our ever-expanding family was going to make it seven children just in time to coincide with my ever-expanding bust reaching “best cans in Year 8” status. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t fall for Dolly (the woman, the myth, the legend) until almost a decade later. 2005.

That year, I was living in a one bedroom half-house in Erskineville and in the early stages of co-habitation with my then boyfriend, Daz. I was a student. He was a musician. Funds were low. Hence the half-house, which we rented from a weird old German dude named Rolf, who we referred to in hushed tones as “the Creepinator”. It was a strange living arrangement, made stranger still by the fact that the only thing keeping Daz and I together was a mutual love of op-shopping and Melbourne Bitter.

With the landlord driving us crazy and the house beginning to resemble a cross between a crack-den and the world’s greatest thrift store, it was clear that we needed something to bring us together before we tore each other apart. And we found it. On youtube. A lover’s theme sung by a busty blonde and a bearded bloke who’d clearly been snorting coke before the gig. Dolly & Kenny.

We spent more nights than you can ever possibly imagine watching that video and cracking ourselves up, and then watching it over again just to delight in hearing Dolly squeal “Excuse me Kenny!” @ 2:26, or clap our hands enthusiastically as Kenny awkwardly lip synched to the brass section @ 3:34.

Of course, it can’t be expected that a much watched clip of ‘Islands In The Stream’ can keep a relationship together, and some five years on I now sitting on the single side of the country music fence. But it hasn’t stopped me obsessing over Dolly Parton. Thinking about it, it’s probably stopped many a fine young man obsessing over me, but whatever. Love me, love Dolly.

For those of you who are curious, here is some of the crap I am the ‘proud’ owner of:

Exhibit A) Limited edition Dolly Parton doll, complete with totally unflattering red nylon jumpsuit and ridiculous non-removable wig.

Exhibit B) Vintage Playboy circa 1978 in mint condition, found thrifting in Brooklyn for 10 bucks! So mint I’ve never even read it. So mint the woman who sold it to me hastily put in a paper bag and gave me a filthy look…

I could sit here all night and fill you in on loads of Dolly shit I’ve been collecting over the years but let’s be real. It’s late. We all know I will write about Dolly many, many more times. And what you should really be finding out, is that the tiny Tennessee-born self proclaimed tramp is one of the finest songwriters of her generation. And all the evidence, as I found out some years ago, is on youtube…


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Country music confessional

Flannel shirts, failed romance, heartache, heartbreak and sad, sad songs. All the reasons I’m a sucker for country.

I know it isn’t fashionable. Country is just about the daggiest style of music an otherwise self-respecting young woman could have chosen to embrace. It’s tragic – like being a 27 year-old collector of Tupperware or VIP customer at Copperart. It’s the soundtrack of choice for dingy American diners and dimly lit highway truck stops. It doesn’t have the brazen rebelliousness of punk, or the art school precociousness of indie rock or the forthright sexuality of pop. The genre is defined by the nasal twang of the singer and slow walking swagger of the band. It’s country music – it’s about loneliness, loss, and line dancing. And I like it.

My music tastes have not always been this way. I have not always been a fan. I used to be one of those cynical cool kids who thought that country music, littered with hideously sequined Tammy Wynette clones and silver bearded Kenny Rogers types, was not for me. Sure I liked the bedazzlar, stone-wash denim and spiral perms as much as any child of the eighties, but I was never going to listen to Dolly Parton. No amount of Billy Ray Cyrus mulletude could make me trade ballet for boot skooting. For me, country music was always considered tacky and trashy. Even my parents – whose tastes included a passion for Australiana decor and home-made Jenny Kee knitwear – had the good sense to be fans of other musical genres.

As a kid, I spent most my childhood living in small rural areas, so most people make the assumption that it must have been the seventeen years I spent in towns without traffic lights that secured a love for country music. This is not the case. In my formative years I was a full-fledged pop fan with the Kylie Minogue cassingles and the ra-ra skirt to prove it. Growing up, the only hints of the country enthusiast within was a fairly well rehearsed cover version of the Alannah Myles song “Black Velvet” and a one-time yodeling gig in my primary school eisteddfod where, armed with a hot head of freshly crimped hair and some seriously disturbing white patent leather cowboy boots, my attention seeking soul got the better of my good taste. Now, these are the embarrassing details of decidedly naff childhood, but they could belong to any performative ten year old growing up in the early nineties.

No, this love for country music is something relatively new – something that didn’t hit me until my early twenties, when I started listening to the moderately successful new generation of artists now widely referred to under the sub-genre of “alternative country”. In the alt-country world performers like Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy and Lucinda Williams wooed their audiences with harrowing harmonicas and harmonies and tales of eternal heartbreak. They labeled themselves “country” but were a dark contrast to the more popular country stars like Shania Twain or Keith Urban. Archetypal alt-country bands like Wilco and Whiskeytown represented a seedier side to country – less spray tanned, less gaudy, more Neil Young than Nashville factory line.

And so I became a fan. And the more I listened to alt-country, the more I grew to accept other types of country. And the more I came to accept country music as a whole genre, the more I realised I had crossed a neon lit, barn dancing, gin swilling point of no return, signified by a proposed road trip to the Tamworth music festival and the needless ownership of three pairs of cowboy boots.

Perhaps it is because I now live in the city and the music is a nostalgic reminder of home – a place of open landscapes and dusty paddocks and tumbleweeds. Perhaps it is because I am steadfastly heading towards my late-twenties and my taste has been blurred by the onset of premature wrinkles and a career crisis. Perhaps. I know on some level I could try and justify my love, try to defend the genre from accusations of hillbillyness, try to make it worthy, trendy, ironically cool. But I know in my heart, I cannot and do not want to. It’s country music – it’s music that by very definition is quintessentially uncool. And even though I am often embarrassed to admit it – I have to write it down… I like it.

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