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Dolly Parton on her first Christmas album in 30 years and new book

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 Nov 2020, 9:31am

Dolly Parton on her first Christmas album in 30 years and new book

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 17 Nov 2020, 9:31am

Leave it to music legend Dolly Parton to bring some Christmas cheer to 2020.

The country legend joined Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking to talk about her new Christmas album, A Holly Dolly Christmas. It's the star's first Christmas album in over 30 years, following her last festive record with Kenny Rogers released in 1984. 2020's offering, A Holly Dolly Christmas, features her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, plus Billy Ray Cyrus, Michael Buble, and Jimmy Fallon to name a few.

"I'm so proud of the Kenny/Dolly album, I don't think we'll ever top that, nor would we ever need to, but that was 30 years ago. So I figured it was about time for me to do something a little different," she says.

The 74-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon - she is also promoting her book Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, out this week. She picked 175 songs that had the best stories and tells readers the stories behind the lyrics.

"I love to work, and I love to stay busy. I think energy begets energy, and I like to feel like I'm putting something in the world every day."

Songteller saw Parton select just a fraction of the songs she has written over her career, and she explains to Hosking her priority wasn't picking the tracks that were the most well known, but the songs that had the most interesting stories behind them.

"I chose a lot of my favourite songs that are not that well known," Parton explains.

"I just actually thought about the songs that had a pretty good story, that I thought would hold people's interest."

Hosking asks her what the pandemic has been like. Parton says although the coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone in different ways, her already small circle means she hasn't had to make too many changes to how she makes music.

"I've actually been able to do everything within a little circle, and we've done it very safely, we get tested all the time ... we manage to make it all work."

Parton's music and charm has inspired generations of fans, and the singer is grateful for the longevity of her career

"I'm hoping that I have something to say to every generation because songs are always the same feelings. We cry the same tears, you know, at different times," she says.

"I've been around so long that people kinda think of me as a family member, like a sister or a favourite aunt, someone they've always known."

She credits her upbringing for helping her remain grounded.

"I do think there's a lot to be said about being brought up poor with humble beginnings. I never take for granted anything that I have, I'm grateful for everything," she says.

"You do always appreciate the value of a dollar when you've been brought up poor, but you also appreciate the success. I've always said there's a difference between being successful and being a success.

"You're only a true success when you can enjoy being successful, knowing what you've got and appreciating it, and counting your blessings more often than you count your money."

Parton has also released a new book called SongtellerMy Life in Lyrics. It tells the stories of some of her most famous songs, how they came about, and why they mean so much to her.

A Holly Dolly Christmas is out now, and Songteller: My Life In Lyrics is out tomorrow.

• Watch the full interview with Mike Hosking above. 

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