"We've had a lot of requests to do Knoxville ... of course that's where I started out in the business so I thought, 'Well, let’s do Knoxville.'
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It’s been decades since she’s performed a local concert outside Sevier County (mainly out of “loyalty,” she says), and she’s OK with a change of scenery — by showing some love to the folks of Knox Vegas.
Also it turns out Parton, who turned 65 this year and is about to embark on a worldwide tour, figures she can do the same amount of good for her Dollywood Foundation and Imagination Library project by doing one show at Thompson-Boling Arena rather than three shows at Dollywood.
“We’ve had a lot of requests to do Knoxville,” Parton says. “Of course that’s where I started out in the business so I thought, ‘Well, let’s do Knoxville.’
“It’s still part of this area up in here, and it’s still part of me. I don’t even know when I played Knoxville last.”
As a little girl, Parton would make the trek from backwoods Sevier County to the bright lights of Knoxville to perform on local radio and for “The Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour.” She credits those Knoxville days as being the first time she branched out as a performer.
This year’s concert, set for July 17, could raise around $300,000 for the foundation, about the same amount generated when Parton does three concerts at Dollywood. The foundation’s Imagination Library, which delivers books to preschoolers around the world, just handed out its 30-millionth book.
According to the foundation, tickets go on sale Friday and are $39.50-$59.50. Net proceeds go to the foundation.
Tickets will be available at http://www.knoxvilletickets.com.
The concert will showcase Parton’s upcoming country CD “Better Day,” which Parton says features uplifting and inspirational songs. You know she’ll fit in classics such as “I Will Always Love You,” “9 to 5” and “Jolene,” too.
Of the new CD, she says it is “uplifting. Even the love songs are more on the positive side. Even if it’s a song about losing love, (the message is), ‘I’m going to be better after this.’ ”
Why make this kind of CD now?
“I figure there’s enough sadness in the world right now,” she says. “We need to be lifted up.”
He’s leaped from Sevierville to “Smallville.”
Actor Eric Martsolf, whose career started as a singer and dancer at Dollywood way back in the 20th century, will play a superhero from the future in the April 22 episode of “Smallville.”
As DC Comics character Booster Gold, he’s a lout who steals technology from his era and comes back to ours to be a superhero.
Since leaving Dollywood, Martsolf has enjoyed a career in daytime television. Currently he can be seen as Brady Black on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives.” He also was a cast member on NBC’s “Passions.”
Pro wrestler John Cena is scheduled to do his thing when cable TV show “RAW” comes to Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, May 9. The event begins at 8:15 p.m.
Randy Orton, The Miz and CM Punk are also headliners, though the card is subject to change.
Tickets are $15-$65 and are available at http://www.knoxvilletickets.com.
Terry Morrow may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-342-6445. His blog can be found at http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/telebuddy/. He contributes to “Live At Five At Four” on WBIR, Channel 10.