Dolly Parton has had a storied career that has spanned nearly six decades since she was discovered in 1966. Now, at 76, the country music icon is opening up on whether or not she'll ever tour again, and why.
"I do not think I will ever tour again, but I do know I’ll do special shows here and there, now and then," Parton told Pollstar magazine in an interview that was published on Thursday, Oct. 27. "Maybe do a long weekend of shows, or just a few shows at a festival. But I have no intention of going on a full-blown tour anymore. I’ve done that my whole life, and it takes so much time and energy."
Parton’s most recent tour was Pure and Simple in 2016. Her twelfth tour, she headlined 60 performances across the United States and Canada and it was marketed as her largest tour ever across North America.
In the Pollstar interview, Parton elaborated that her recent decision stemmed from her concern for her husband of 56 years, Carl Dean.
"I like to stay a little closer to home with my husband," she said. "We’re getting older now, and I don’t want to be gone for four or five weeks at a time."
Parton revealed one of her fears is that something may happen when she's on the road, so staying close to her home in the Nashville area is paramount for her at this point in her life.
"Something could happen," she said. "I would not feel right about that, if I were gone and somebody needed me. Or I would feel bad if I had to leave a tour if somebody got sick at home and needed me and then I had to walk out on the fans."
When it comes to her fervent fans, Parton thanks technology for keeping her so connected to them without touring, especially since planning full-blown tours takes so much time.
"I don’t ever feel separated from my fans because in this high-tech world, you can be right with them," she said. "You can do special shows in special ways. I will be doing some of that."
"But you’ve got to work for weeks to work up a great new show, a new tour they haven’t seen," she added. "It takes months to actually plan a tour, as far as booking dates and all that. Then you’ve got to be gone for all that time, too. It’s more involved than people have any idea. You really need a year, and certainly six months, to plan a great tour, just preparing to get ready to go hit the road. So you can’t just go out and do a few shows, you really have to commit to doing enough shows to make all that time and effort pay off."
When asked during the interview who she hopes to duet with in the future, she listed a bevy of names: Ed Sheeran, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Stapleton, her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, and the Wilson sisters of the band Heart. Many of the names Parton listed are either scheduled or she's hoping will appear on an upcoming rock-and-roll album she revealed she is working on.
"There’s a lot of people I hadn’t thought that much about until I started putting together this rock album," she said. "I’m going to be thinking seriously about that now."
Next week, Parton is slated to join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony on Nov. 5, 2022 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. In addition to Parton, who initially tried to decline the nomination, this year’s inductees are Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon.
"I’m going to ask her to sing on my rock album, too," Parton said, later adding, "I love her persona. I love her songs. I love her voice, I just love her. As people do!"
"Somebody else I love like that is Lady Gaga," she continued, also naming Cyrus as another female performer she admires. "(Gaga) is so talented, so gifted, and she knows exactly what she’s doing at all times! I really think she’s an incredible person as well."
"... I love women who know who they are, stand their ground and live up to who they are in their own mind, as well as trying to just stand up for what they believe and trying to be there for the people who are moved and inspired by them."