Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry
(DVD / NR / 2021 / PBS)
Overview: Dolly Parton, the undisputed Queen of Country Music, celebrates 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Recorded live in Nashville, this amazing special pays tribute to her songs and career with special performances from Dolly and her star guests, including Lady A, Emmylou Harris and Hank Williams, Jr.
DVD Verdict: Country superstar Dolly Parton is still working 9 to 5, and doing what she loves as she celebrated her 50th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member.
The 73-year-old actress, singer and songwriter, who first played the Opry when she was just a teenager, played the longstanding radio show Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee, in front of sold-out crowds.
Hank Williams Jr., Lady Antebellum and Toby Keith performed in her honor as well and her shows capped off a week of Dolly-themed performances and events at the Opry.
She joked to reporters before her performance that when the Opry approached her about the anniversary, she told them, I do not want people to think I am 50 years old.
The anniversary reminded her of the first time she got to perform at the Opry. Well a lot of people think this is my 50th year the Grand Ole Opry, Parton said. It is actually been 60 because first time I got to sing on the Opry I was 13 years old. And actually Johnny Cash introduced me, I believe. And Jimmy C. Newman had given me his spot.
Parton said she was grateful to still be chasing her dreams and said she is got more film, TV and music projects on the way. The Opry performances will be aired on an NBC special on Nov. 26 and Netflix will air an anthology series based on her songs in 2019.
I am just very honored that I am still around, not only to just get to accept this, that I can actually perform and get out there and still doing what I love to do, Parton said. And maybe I will be around another 50 years, who knows. If I am lucky.
Some of Dolly Partons best-known songs are, of course, performed here by herself and others. So many of todays newest country stars are so immediately off-putting, you almost did not mind seeing mid-career Lady Antebellum doing a pretty good rendition of Islands In The Stream.
Hillary Scott is no Dolly, and Charles Kelley is no Kenny Rogers, but they did a fine job. Toby Keith has so much respect for Dolly Parton, he actually showed up to a performance sober for once, singing Kentucky Gambler.
Written by Dolly, the song later became a #1 hit for Merle Haggard. Emmylou Harris came out looking as ravishing as ever, with her hair the color of woven silver, and her warble in her rendition of To Daddy as warm as ever.
Chris Jansons version Muleskinner Blues was downright killer. Though this Geico caveman look-alike has some of the worst radio singles imaginable, he regularly shows how talented and respectful to country music he is when he takes the Opry stage. This is one of the reasons the Opry recently made Janson a permanent member.
Hank Williams Jr. showed up to deliver a blistering medley of Mind Your Own Business and Move It On Over. Though he was as boisterous as always at now 70 years of age, the performance felt like it was a little too much Hank, and not enough Dolly.
Nonetheless, it afforded even more moments for classic country to be showcased in primetime. Banjo player Buck Trent who was part of Porter Wagoners original band came out to perform The Carroll County Accident with Dolly.
The Mother Church of Country Music The Ryman Auditorium got plenty of screen time during the special as well, and so did other country music greats in mentions and photos and film clips played throughout the special.
Dolly Parton is the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA-certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 26 songs reach #1 on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist.
Parton recently became the first country artist honored as Grammy MusiCares Person of the Year given out by NARAS. She has 41 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years.
In 2014 the RIAA recognized her impact on recorded music with a plaque commemorating more than 100 million units sold worldwide.
In closing, this simply incredible concert brings together five decades of hits & memories into one unforgettable evening of entertainment for everyone to enjoy. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.