CD review: ‘Complete Trio Collection’

hmo091916trioThe Complete Trio Collection, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Nowhere in the backstory notes to the The Complete Trio Collection does it say that when Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt finally found time to unify their voices in perfect harmony that lives were healed and Jesus wept. If you’ve heard even pieces of this landmark collaboration, though, you know this to be only a slight exaggeration. After all, we are talking about three singing supremes working their magic on 21 songs across two glorious albums. And now — in addition to both 1987’s Trio and 1999s Trio II — Rhino Records has collected an additional 20 songs from the ladies’ Grammy-winning sessions, some unreleased, some alternate takes of already-released Trio tunes. Among them: “Wildflowers,” Parton’s autobiographical outsider anthem split equally among the three singers, with Parton on the first verse, Harris on the second, and, finally, Ronstadt on the third (Dolly takes lead on the original, included here on the first Trio disc).

“Calling My Children Home” is transcendent, as their voices unite in splendid harmony for a rich vocal experience on this previously unreleased a cappella track, a gut-wrenching song by bluegrass band The Country Gentlemen. Top to bottom, The Complete Trio Collection is a body of staggering beauty. Ronstadt will break your heart as her voice glides through “The Blue Train.” Emmy’s breathtaking lead on “When We’re Gone, Long Gone” will lighten your load. All their voices in collective grace on the stunning “Farther Along” will have you feeling thankful that this project, despite the years it took to get these gals together, has finally seen the light of day.

— Chris Azzopardi



—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dolly Parton coming to Verizon; tickets on sale Friday

DOLLYEarlier this year, we announced that Dolly Parton was starting a national tour to promote her new double-D (that’s disc, guys!), but at the time, we didn’t know if she would make it to North Texas. And on the first leg, she wasn’t. Well, AEG Live has announced more dates for the Pure and Simple Tour, including at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie on Dec. 3.

Tickets to see the queen of country — and a great gay icon —go on sale Friday morning (10 sharp!). Use this link to get in line first thing!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gay icon Dolly Parton going on huge U.S. tour, releasing new double-disc CD

DollyAmazingly, Dolly Parton — the boobalicious country music icon, frequent drag queen inspiration and long-standing supporter of gay rights — hasn’t been on a major nationwide tour in 20 years. Not that you couldn’t see her in concert… in limited, special-appearance venues as she wanted. But a multi-city North America whistle-stop campaign of classics? Nope.

So we are excited that she’ll be starting a 60 city tour this summer, as the same time she drops a new two-disc album… at least, we think we are. Aside from the announcement that it’s happening, we don’t have any details, including whether she’ll be making an appearance in North Texas, or when… but c’mon how can she avoid us? The album details haven’t been released yet either, other than the name (Pure & Simple with Dolly’s Biggest Hits 2) and that it will contain new material and past hits.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Reba McEntire: The gay interview

Reba2Even by phone, Reba McEntire makes you feel right at home. “Thanks for the visit; I’ve enjoyed visitin’ with you!” the singer drawls, wrapping up our conversation as if I’d just stopped by for buttered grits and a cup of hot coffee.

A music, television, film and theater superstar with a trove of prestigious awards, Reba is enormously famous, but talking to her, you wouldn’t know it. She comes across more like a friend. Fancy? Not so much. And she certainly won’t let her rabid gay following down – she has delighted in a friendship with the LGBT community since the beginning of her 40-year career.

Now, as she releases her 27th studio album, Love Somebody, the country icon’s ready to take some serious stands.

In a chat with Chris Azzopardi, Reba stresses the importance of gay marriage, how sad it is to know that some country artists feel they can’t come out, and her message to parents who can’t accept a child who’s not straight.

Dallas Voice: You grew up in a town with, like, 16 people and lots of cows. I imagine there weren’t a lot of gay people in Chockie, Okla.  Reba: Nope, nope. Not at all that I know of, or in high school. I guess in college was the first time I was around any gay people, and they became my friends first and then I found out they were gay, so there ya go! Didn’t change my opinion of ’em; I still liked ’em a lot.

One was a very dear friend of mine who helped me a lot with my singing and my music, and he was just a super sweet, gentle man who loved music with all his heart. I’m pretty sure that was my first introduction, the first time I met anyone who was gay.

As a longtime ally, how important are LGBT equality and same-sex marriage rights to you?  Very important. I just went to my first gay wedding a couple of months ago in California for Michael and Steven, my two great friends. They’ve been together for 20 years! I thought that it was not fair, and I didn’t understand why they couldn’t get married. It wasn’t because they just wanted to get married. If one of them had gotten injured and gone to the hospital, the other one couldn’t make decisions for them. It’s very upsetting. It’s not only for convenience or for romantic reasons —it’s for practicality. For practical reasons! I get a kick out of what Dolly said: “Why shouldn’t they get married and be as miserable as the rest of us?” 

You don’t seem so miserable in your marriage, though.  No, not at all. But I don’t understand why people have a problem with it. I’m a very spiritual person, but I don’t judge. I try not to; I’m only human. To each his own, and everybody is different. God did not make us all the same. So, I just pray for an open mind and a loving heart, and I think that’s all I can do.

In your four decades as a country musician, how much progress do you think the genre has made when it comes to embracing LGBT fans with open arms?  Well, I’ve always embraced gay and lesbian fans with both arms. I have a huge gay following!

Absolutely. But country music as a whole — do you see progress when it comes to LGBT equality?  Yeah, I do. There are more [artists] speaking out about it, but I can’t really speak for anyone else other than myself.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Rachel Potter takes on the hypocrites with ‘Jesus and Jezebel’

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Rachel Potter

A lot of folks think that country-western music is still a stronghold of homophobia, and in some ways, it might be.

But not completely. I mean, way back in the 1990s, C&W superstar Garth Brooks was speaking out for LGBT folks in his song “We Shall Be Free.” He also appeared at the Equality Rocks held in conjunction with the 2000 LGBT march on Washington. In recent years, C&W stars Chely Wright and Ty Herndon have come out. And then there are queens of country, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, who have both been vocal in their support for LGBT equality.

And you can add an up-and-coming star to that list, too. Rachel Potter has just released a new song and video called “Jesus and Jezebel,” in which she explores not only her personal issues with her Southern Baptist upbringing, but calls out  church folk for their less-than-loving ways toward LGBT people.

Potter tells ETOnline: “”I think that country music listeners are becoming more and more open minded every day, as is the rest of the country. I think a lot of people may misconstrue the song to say I don’t believe in what the bible says or like, ‘gay sex for everybody’ but that’s not what I’m trying to say, and I’ll make that as clear as possible. All I’m trying to say is that I think Jesus loves us all the same.”

—  Tammye Nash

Working on Ann Richards documentary became a passion for director

Keith Patterson wasn’t from Texas and hadn’t even spent much time here. Then while living in Los Angeles, a friend said he wanted to do a documentary about Ann Richards. Patterson was familiar with — even a fan of — the late Texas governor, “so I came on board” in late 2010, he says.

The following 20 months, however, have been a journey for the gay filmmaker, who ended up co-directing Ann Richards’ Texas, the documentary that kicks off Dallas VideoFest 25 at the Dallas Museum of Art Thursday night.

“We came to Texas for a year: Austin first, but we ended up everywhere,” he says on the phone from New York, a few hours before his planned arrival in Dallas to attend the festival. “I even have a place in Houston [still].”

Working on the documentary quickly became a passion for Patterson.

“I loved her,” he says. “You can’t get any larger than a Texas politician. That’s why The Best Little Whorehouse is so good — it captures the politics. That song where the governor talks about sidestepping [every issue]? That was [the governorship]. When Ann got in there and started passing a lot of reforms, she shook everything up.”

Richards had help from some powerful friends, including lesbian power couple Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, who met and befriended Richards early in her political career. “They were friends from the 1980s when she ran for treasurer and helped write the comedy for Ann’s [historic 1988 Democratic National Conventional] keynote address,” Patterson says. “That’s when she met Dolly [Parton], too. I think Ann was a county commissioner when Dolly was [in Texas] shooting Whorehouse.”

Tomlin, Parton and a host of other celebs offer their voices to the documentary. It wasn’t difficult finding people anxious to talk on the record about the flamboyant Texas pol.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Perry Twins post high energy Houston tribute

While we may continue to honor Whitney Houston’s legacy, I think it’s fair to say we could be a little Whitney-ed out by the constant playing of her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” in every tribute since last week’s tragic news. Heck, even Aretha couldn’t come up with another idea at her Radio City Music Hall concert Saturday night. But this just came on my radar. The Perry Twins, who performed at Station 4 in 2009, offer their tribute to the singer with this hour-long mix of deep cuts and big hits. It’s a welcome reprieve from the overuse of ballads used to remember her by, but also a reminder of her contribution to the dance floor. She was the Queen of the Night, remember?

—  Rich Lopez

Starvoice • 01-13.12

By Jack Fertigdolly-parton


Dolly Parton turns 66 on Thursday. The Queen of Country Music is just as busy as ever. In 2011, she recorded her 41st studio album Better Day and subsequently hit the road in support of it. She returns to the big screen and costars with Oscar nominee Queen Latifah in the comedy Joyful Noise as a choir director’s widow. The movie was released this month.



Still in Capricorn, the sun squares Saturn, which can feel limiting; turn that “limit” into focusing on goals. Entering Aquarius on the 20th, the sun squares Jupiter in Taurus offering brilliant opportunities. Some are good, but be skeptical. If it looks too good to be true it is.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
It’s easy to feel beat down about where your hard work hasn’t gotten you. Focus on what you have accomplished. That can lead you to a more effective use of your resources.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Some down time will do you good. Starting or joining a provocative family discussion can be very educational; go ahead, stir it up. Bruised feelings will quickly heal.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
You could be a big hit at a dungeon party. Personal insights are better explored with a friend you can really trust. You may uncover inner resources you’d never dreamed of.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
New friends tempt you to do things you’d never expect. That could get expensive. Opening your mind to new possibilities can lead to financial opportunities. but watch your wallet.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Vanity leads to a fall. You’ve nothing to prove. Those who love you may seem demanding, but rise to the occasion. The challenge will make you stronger.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Some things are better left unsaid. Much as you prefer full frontal frankness, think a bit about what the best strategy really is. However apt, sexual analogies can be more disruptive than helpful.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Re-affirm any New Year’s resolutions about quitting a habit or losing weight. To prioritize and simplify, make three lists: professional contacts; friends you care about; those you don’t.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Harsh words with colleagues come back to haunt you. Putting what needs to be said nicely can be a huge boost to your career. Accept an invitation to something you’d normally never do.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Your first ideas are likely to be extravagant and wasteful, but don’t let disillusionment stop you. Accept scarcity as a challenge to your creativity. At least you’ll never run out of ideas.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
A beautifying regimen causes your baby to wonder who you’re prettying-up for. It also arouses envy among your single friends. Focus on your health and your natural beauty will shine.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
A break from your past seems liberating. You need to criticize and innovate, but build on your past. Even negative examples and painful lessons serve a purpose.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Do something nice for your darling — housework is always appreciated. Showing off will mess it up. Just do whatever’s needed. The less you draw attention, the more it will be appreciated.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.


—  Kevin Thomas

Chatting up the Secret Sisters before tonight’s benefit for The Women’s Chorus of Dallas

Tonight, the Secret Sisters headline The Southern Harmony Party at the Lakewood Theater, which also features local band The King Bucks and Audrey Dean Kelley. The night benefits The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, a very gay-friendly organization. In a recent interview with Dallas Voice, real-life sisters Lydia and Laura of the Secret Sisters talked up their connection with the gay community and how growing up Church of Christ never stopped them from accepting people as they are:

So first, how did you get hooked up with The Women’s Chorus of Dallas? We were playing a show in Birmingham, AL several months ago, and met a really nice promoter named De Foster, who loved our sound and was determined to have us play a show in Dallas.  We agreed that we would love to come there and play, and so not long afterwards, he contacted us about playing a show that would benefit the Women’s Chorus.  We love playing shows that are in conjunction with positive organizations, and especially those that are connected to our favorite hobby:  music.  So when we got the invitation to play, we were thrilled!  We are so excited to meet everyone involved with the chorus, and very excited that the focus of the evening will be on women and music.  We both feel that there just aren’t enough strong women in the music industry, and we know that the evening will be positive one, that’s also a lot of fun.

What do such groups mean to you? Any time that we can use our music to highlight organizations that do good things, we are eager to do so. Both of us were in our high school choruses when we were younger, and we know just how much fun it is to be surrounded by your friends, enjoying music that you are making together.  Music means so much to us, and to be able to spend the evening with others who are passionate about it as well is going to be an honor.  We’ve been looking forward to this show for a while now.

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Win Kristin Chenoweth’s new CD ‘Some Lessons Learned’

On Tuesday, singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth drops her fourth studio release Some Lessons Learned. She goes a little bit country this time and has said that this album is inspired by music legend Dolly Parton. Which would explain the track, “What Would Dolly Do.” She’s already previewed the album with the single “I Want Somebody (Bitch About),” and you might know the title track from Carrie Underwood’s debut album.

But Chenoweth likely will turn in her own cheerful spin on things in this album produced by Bob Ezrin and exec-produced by Dianne Warren.

Want one? OK. We’ll snail-mail you a copy if you can help us with this question. Chenoweth is up for an Emmy this Sunday. She already has one on her mantle. What show did she win for and what show is she nominated for this weekend?

We’ve got five copies of the album, so good luck. Just email your response here to win.

—  Rich Lopez