I went to see Dolly Parton at the Cedar Park Center last night, and I was totally amazed at how great she sounded. She sounded as good as she did in the 70’s, and that’s amazing for a 65 year old woman. To compare, I saw Liza Minnelli a few months ago, and her voice was definitely a shadow of what it used to be.
I saw Dolly Parton the first time when I was around 7 years old, around 1972 or 73. She has always been one of my favorites. I think she’s warm and funny, but she is also a true artist and a great songwriter. She sang a new song that she wrote for her latest album, Better Day, and although it wasn’t my favorite song of hers, some of the lyrics of this song inspired me.
She introduced the song by saying that she wanted to thank everybody in the audience for supporting her over the years, and allowing her to have such a long and amazing career. When she was just a little girl living in the Smoky Mountains, in a house with no electricity and no running water (‘unless you run down and got some’), she used to put a tin can on a tobacco stick and pretend it was a microphone, and she dreamed of being a famous singer. She went on to say that she had to work at her dreams. “You can’t just dream your dreams, you have to work ‘em, you have to put wings on ‘em and keep working them until they come true.” She then went on to sing this song, called ‘The Sacrifice.’ The song has a message of working and making sacrifices to make your dreams come true, and not giving up if you suffer a setback. Some of the specific lines that inspired me were:
“I was gonna be rich no matter how much it cost, and I was gonna win no matter how much I lost”
“I’ve often laughed and I’ve often cried, I’ve often failed but I’ve always tried”
and my favorite line of the song:
“You don’t drink the water if you don’t dig the well.”
To me, the message is not quitting when something doesn’t work out; keep trying until you do succeed.
Anyway, I was so touched and inspired by her that I wanted to share. She’s obviously an incredibly hard-working woman, and she says that she feels like she’s just getting started. I hope to see her still going strong in another twenty years. She hopes so too, as illustrated by my favorite one-liner of the night: “People ask me, ‘Dolly, what do you want people to say about you one hundred years from now?’ I want them to say, ‘WOW! She really looks good for her age!’”