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Thread: Carrie appearance in Dolly Parton "Transamerica" documentary

  1. #1
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Jan 2009

    Carrie appearance in Dolly Parton "Transamerica" documentary

    I was watching a documentary on Sky Arts tonight, and (without prior notice) I saw Carrie included as a commentator.
    (She was billed as a singer/songwriter)

    She made three short appearances through the documentary, interspersed with other contemporary figures, and these were her main comments:

    "Dolly has never shied away from her faith. So many of her songs are borderline religious songs. She sings what she knows, and she sings what she is"

    "She uses her sexuality to have the entire package"

    "I would say about one artist in a thousand transcend their time"


    For those who might be interested in the wider context, "Transamerica" was a 2005 film about a transexual making a journey across America, as she transitions from her birth identity as male to her conscious identity as female. It was considered a groundbreaking film, not only for its general subject portrayal, but for its role in the Country Music community's plea for tolerance. The soundtrack consisted of songs, old and new, by mainly Alt Country and Mountain Musicians, including Dolly herself (who wrote the title theme, "Travellin' Thru"), Bluegrass and Old Time legends Larry Sparks and Ralph Stanley, and latter day string bands, Old Crow Medicine Show and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

    The documentary brought out the reaction from some social conservatives, much of it directed against Dolly. Miley Cyrus (who identifies as Pop), Kristen Chenoweth (who is associated mainly with musical theatre) and Kellie Pickler (who has largely left the Mainstream to go Independent) were prepared to discuss this aspect, but - perhaps understandably - the two artists with current Mainstream careers, Carrie and Miranda, largely avoided the controversial aspects in favour of commenting on Dolly's general career and personality. (I do, though think that Carrie's insistence that Dolly was a person of faith, and Miranda's reference to "whatever you do, be happy -be what you are" were acknowledgements of the theme).

    Alt Country artist, Brandi Carlyle, was (again understandably) the one who most clearly brought out the significance of the soundtrack for today's artists. She said:
    "Because of Dolly Parton, I can be loud. I can be Gay and a Christian at the same time. I'd like to know more about how she dealt with it [the backlash] spiritually and politically. To take [in her song] complicated, enflamed and propaganized issues and simplify them with a sentiment of love - I could describe what Jesus Christ did in His time on Earth in the same way"

    The focus was, of course on Dolly and her song, an excerpt from the lyrics here:

    "We've all been crucified and they nailed Jesus to the tree
    And when I'm born again, you're gonna see a change in me
    God made me for a reason and nothing is in vain
    Redemption comes in many shapes with many kinds of pain
    Oh sweet Jesus if you're listening, keep me ever close to you
    As I'm stumblin', tumblin', wonderin', as I'm travelin' thru"

    But the less well-known songs in the movie also contained lines that could be taken as metaphors for the film's theme, about the struggle for acceptance, e.g.

    "We're all in this thing together
    Walkin' the line between faith and fear
    This life don't last forever
    When you cry I taste the salt in your tears"
    (Old Crow Medicine Show)

    "Why aren't you at the harvest ball with some sweet young gal?
    You just sit like a bump on the log and call that fish your pal
    Thought that I was a hiding, call this log my home
    But the fish and the moon and a sweet young gal
    All want me for their own"
    (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

    But, for anyone who enjoys latter day Traditional Country, I'd highly recommend this original song by Heather Myles - both as an anthem for acceptance, and an example of a timeless extension of the genre's musical roots.


    The documentary did also touch on other aspects of Dolly's career, such as the ageism that drops classic artists from the radio - leading her to return to Bluegrass and found her own record label. She also has played a prominent part in using newer technology, such as social media, and the use of applications to record high quality music demos and soundtrack material on smart phones and tablets.

    At the end, they asked Miranda whether there should be a full biography, and she said
    "She's true to her original image, but she's always reinventing herself. I don't think Dolly's through - she's not done yet - so there couldn't be a movie without an ending"

  • #2
    Carrie Fans Legend teesharky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Saratoga NY
    Concert Stars
    Wow that's amazing! I am really happy she got to comment on that! Love Dolly and I love that Carrie loves her too. haha

    Even better, I love that Dolly now follows Carrie on twitter.

  • #3
    Insane Carrie Fan lizcarlo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Dolly is such amazing trailblazer.
    Farawayhills and rainbow1 like this.

  • #4
    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Long Beach, California
    Concert Stars
    So glad that Carrie showed up to support a friend. And so grateful that Carrie can call Dolly a friend. Carrie continues to show in her own ways the kind of Christian she believes Christ calls her to be. That my friends is what true calling is. It is not in judging, it is in doing...!!
    CrazyAboutCarrie and lizcarlo like this.


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