“I’ve seen all that commotion,” Dolly Parton says, referring to the controversy surrounding HB2, North Carolina’s blatantly anti-gay bill. “But I don’t see any need to be canceling the show.” That show would be this Friday’s appearance in the state, at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. It kicks off the country legend’s first major U.S. tour in 25 years.
“I think everybody should be treated great and with respect, and everybody knows that about me,” she says. “I can address whatever my thoughts are, if need be, from the stage.”
Let’s hope she does. The most honored female country artist of all time has long gone against the grain in the conservative-leaning country music world by exhibiting support for the LGBT cause, including marriage equality years before it became the law of the land. “Through the years, everybody has known that I have an open, generous heart,” she says. “But I really don’t like to get caught up into controversial issues, and I certainly don’t think it’s fair to the public.”
Parton brings her Pure & Simple Tour — which promotes the late summer release of a new album by the same name — to our area on Wednesday, June 8, at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center. She’ll be joined by three musicians for what she heralds as a “scaled down” production. “[It’s] not a lot of loud music,” she says. “We don’t have a bunch of videos or anything going on in the background. It’s pretty much just us.” She’ll perform a bevy of hits — “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Coat of Many Colors,” “Here You Come Again,” “Islands in the Stream” and “9 to 5” — as well as numbers from the new album. And more.
“We’ll do our little gospel thing, and we’ll have our corny jokes,” she says. “There will be fun things for everybody.”
Dolly Parton performs locally on Wednesday, June 8, at 8 p.m., at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va. Tickets are $45 to $150. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org. Her new album, Pure and Simple, will be released on August 26.