We will always love Dolly!

Story and photo by Niki Jones

“I never leave a rhinestone unturned!”

This was just one of the adorably funny quips Dolly Parton delivered in her famous Tennessee drawl as she performed one of the last few shows of her 2016 tour at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center.

A full house rose to their feet the moment Parton appeared onstage, decked out in full bling—a white jumpsuit with rhinestones, diamond jewelry and ultra-sparkly silver Louboutins. The tiny entertainer, who will be 71 in January, seemed larger than life.

The night, split into two sets with a short intermission, included a mix of stories, mostly about Parton’s upbringing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Self-deprecating, and, at times, hilariously inappropriate, Parton put the audience in stitches. When she wasn’t telling stories, Parton was performing her songs with a voice as flawless and beautiful as it was decades ago.

Parton’s mastery of multiple instruments was remarkable. Over the course of the show, she played guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, tin whistle, banjo, violin, mini-saxophone (“all the sound and half the size, just like me!”), harmonica and piano. A trio of male musician/singers provided backup instrumentals and harmonized with the superstar.

The message of the night was one of acceptance and love.

“Never be ashamed of your home, of your family, of your religion or of your self,” she said. There was certainly no shortage of love last night from the 15,000 Dolly Parton fans who witnessed her phenomenal show.


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