Metro Weekly

Dolly Parton: “I don’t think about whether you’re straight or gay, I just love you”

If there's one thing Dolly Parton has an abundance of, it's love.

Dolly Parton -- Photo: Fran Strien

Dolly Parton — Photo: Fran Strien

“There’s all sorts of little flavors,” Dolly Parton says of her new album, Pure and Simple. “True love, lasting love, all-time love, cheating love, sexy love, romantic love, I tried to cover it all…. I tried to be true to each song, and not overproduce it. It was a very organic thing for me.”

Parton decided to create the album after a tour was planned. “We were calling our tour ‘Pure and Simple,’ and I thought, ‘Well, we need an album.'” So the prolific songwriter, known for hits such as “Jolene” and “Nine to Five,” not to mention her own theme park, focused on love. “My fiftieth anniversary [of marriage to Carl Dean] is this year. So I thought, I’ll just write a whole album of love songs.”

Love, it turns out, has long been a guiding tenet for Parton. “I grew up in a very spiritual family,” she says. “We were taught to love each other. We were taught to be good to our neighbors. We were taught to love people.” And that includes LGBT people.

“I don’t even think about whether you’re straight or gay, I just love you because I love you,” she says. “I don’t judge people. I think everybody should be allowed to be exactly who they are, and be allowed to love exactly who they love. I just think that’s the way it should be. We’re all God’s children. And we all have a right to our own happiness.”

Her attitude is an anomaly in country music, and for those in the industry less-than-tolerant, she has forthright words.

“What really gets me, is so many of the country people are supposed to be good Christian people. To me, they should exercise more of what the Bible says — to love one another, to love your neighbor, and not to judge, and just to love. That’s God’s business. God is the judge.

“There’s room for everybody to be more accepting of all people,” she concludes. “Not just gays and lesbians — there is just so much prejudice in this world about so many people, for people being different. We’re all God’s children. We should love one another, accept one another…. I think people should get over themselves and just start thinking about what would make this world a happier, better place. A good place to start would be to allow people to be free and happy in their own selves. I just can’t imagine that you can be happy judging and criticizing other people all the time. What kind of life is that? I’d rather just go with the flow and love everybody. And maybe God will love me more for loving more.”

Review: Dolly Parton’s Pure and Simple

Pure and Simple is available Aug. 19 from Amazon and streaming services.

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Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.