7 September 2021 – As the mecca of music, the city of Nashville has played host to a stellar lineup of artists on its stages whilst its studios have recorded some of the world’s most-loved Country hits. Music City is the rightful home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where artists, musicians and songwriters from across the globe continue to visit to carve out their careers in the industry, but none are more iconic than the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton.
Tennessee-born superstar Dolly Parton has sold over 100 million records worldwide, and has been instrumental in bringing both Country and Pop music to the masses. A true icon and savvy business woman who celebrated her 75th birthday this year, Dolly continues to work nine to five as a singer, songwriter, actress, humanitarian and now soon-to-be author with the release of her debut novel, Run, Rose, Run coming up in March 2022. Written alongside James Patterson, the book comes complete with an album of music of the same name. A much loved icon in the UK, British fans of Dolly can also enjoy her music in the upcoming ‘9 to 5 the Musical’ UK tour, which opened in Southampton on 31st August 2021 and continues through to Manchester in March 2022.
Just like Nashville, Dolly encapsulates immeasurably more than Country music alone and has dominated the charts across the globe with her hits. The star has called Nashville home for over fifty years from her early career and in 2020 Dolly made headlines for her 1 million dollar contribution to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for research into the development of the Moderna vaccine.
A longtime supporter of Music City, Dolly is one of the city’s most famous residents and so as the world celebrates International Country Music Day (17 September) here are five Dolly-inspired experiences in Nashville for fans to discover…
Revel in the history of the Ryman Auditorium
The infamous Ryman Auditorium will mark its 130th anniversary in 2022 and was the home of the Grand Ole Opry show responsible for bringing Country music to the masses from 1945 – 1974. In her early career the Ryman became the venue where Parton was inducted into the fold of musical icons. On a self-guided tour, visitors can explore the stage which has held world-class performances and musical events; the Soul of Nashville theatre experience is also a must which takes visitors on a journey through the Ryman’s incredible history and highlights its impact on America’s musical legacy. In the 100-seat custom-built theatre, visitors are placed at the centre of the show as holograms, special effects, multidimensional film images and archival footage bring the Ryman’s story to life.
Experience the Grand Ole Opry like a star
The Grand Ole Opry gained a reputation for showcasing emerging talent by broadcasting Country music across the U.S. and playing host to legendary musicians including Dolly Parton, who made her debut on the show at just 13 years old. Offering a new immersive backstage tour, visitors can view archival footage and gain exclusive insight into the makings of the Grand Ole Opry. A visit to one of the shows is also a must, and for those looking for a truly unforgettable night then they can upgrade their ticket to experience the show VIP-style; including access to the Circle Room premium lounge for a pre-show party and a meet-and-greet with one of the night’s Country artists and more.
Take a tour of Historic RCA Studio B
Dolly Parton has left her mark on Nashville in more ways than one and the city’s Historic RCA Studio B played an important role in getting her music out to the public. In a rush to get to her first session on time, she crashed her car into the side of the old studio building on Music Row and when touring the studio today, those with a keen eye for detail will be able to spot the mismatched brickwork. The studio later recorded some of Dolly’s greatest hits, such as “I Will Always Love You” and “Coats of Many Colours” and much of its original decor and equipment has been preserved for visitors to follow in Dolly’s footsteps at the studio-turned-museum today.
Discover musical greats in The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Having revolutionised Country music for female performers around the world Dolly was inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1999 for her outstanding contribution to the genre. Today, visitors to the museum can explore the exhibits and discover more about the woman behind the music and her rise to fame. From attending exhibitions, to exploring its vast ranges of collections that journey back through the eras, to visiting one of America’s oldest working letterpress shops and taking home a souvenir; The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates both the past and present of Country music and how the genre often transcends across others.
Explore a pink paradise at The Graduate’s Dolly Parton-inspired rooftop bar
Situated at the top of the Graduate Hotel in Nashville, White Limozeen is named in honour of Dolly Parton’s 1989 hit song and album and is a venue that is dressed to impress like the star herself. Inspired by the Country music legend, the bar is decorated from head-to-toe in lavish pink furnishings, crystal chandeliers, fuchsia crushed velvet chairs and a larger-than-life pink Dolly Parton sculpture. Boasting a rooftop pool and breathtaking views over Music City, this quirky bar is not only a fantastic place to sip on cocktails, but it tells the narrative of a rags-to-riches story for those looking to channel their inner Dolly.
Peruse Printer’s Alley
Traditionally the publishing centre of Nashville, Printer’s Alley now boasts some of the greatest spots for travellers to experience the city’s nightlife away from the crowds of Broadway. In Dolly Parton’s earlier years, Printers Alley became her stomping ground as it was here that she began performing in public venues following her graduation. Visitors can wander the street, perusing the limelight venues and some of Music City’s oldest bars. The Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar features one of the most highly-anticipated music rosters in the city, while Skull’s Rainbow Room speakeasy lounge offers mouth-watering American cuisine, a selection of craft beers and nightly burlesque dancing.
Meander the murals of Music City
Dolly Parton’s philanthropy rivals the impact of her music career with her donations to the development of the city and establishment of the Imagination Library, targeted at improving children’s literacy. Fans will love seeing the sights in search of the Dolly inspired artwork that is splashed across the city walls in appreciation for the singer’s contributions to the local community. Starting at Tomacco Tacos + Tequila, explorers can feast on traditional street tacos next to a new vibrant mural titled ‘The Parton Saint of Nashville’. Heading to Hume Fogg High School, visitors will find Kim Radford’s mural painted in appreciation for the books her son received from the Imagination Library. The local artist has previously dedicated her work to the singer with a mural on the side of The 5 Spot in honour of Dolly’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement which is an instagrammable must for any Dolly fan visiting Music City.
For more information on visiting Nashville go to www.visitmusiccity.com