And why she'll never ask him for an honest opinion.
Ahead of Dolly Parton's 49th (!) studio album, Rockstar, the superstar is opening up about the collaborations on the upcoming album and, coincidentally, why fans won't see her husband, Carl, on the carpet alongside his leading lady. During the final episode of What Would Dolly Do? Radio on Apple Music 1, Parton offered some rare insight into her relationship with Carl and why he can never offer her an honest opinion.
Parton explained that Carl, whom she married in 1966, only ever went to a single event with her before he hung up his tux for good.
"Carl has never been in the limelight and all, never wanted to be in it. He don’t like it. He went to one thing with me early on when we first married to a BMI Song of the Year [event]," she explained. "He came out there taking off his tuxedo, his tie and all that and said, 'Don’t ever ask me to go to another one of these damn things because I ain’t going.' I never asked him and he never did."
And in addition to never getting gussied up for the flashbulbs, Dolly said that Carl won't give her an honest answer when she asks him about her music. She called him "very honest," even though she noted that he won't give her an "honest answer."
"I had done a couple of things in the past, just some rock things," she said, referencing Rockstar, which is out on Nov. 17. "He said, 'It’s OK. It’s OK." He’s very honest. We have such a great relationship. I know not to ask him if I don’t want an honest answer."
That was evidenced when Dolly played him Rockstar for the very first time. She said that although his reaction may seem lukewarm to us, she took it as "the greatest compliment in the world."
"I played him the whole album and he said, which to me was the greatest compliment in the world, he said, 'You know, it's pretty good,'" she said.
"That would be like anybody else saying, 'Oh, that's best I ever heard. That's just so fantastic.' But for Carl to really say, 'You know, that's pretty good.'"
As for what's next for album no. 50, Dolly noted that she's already thinking about embracing another genre: gospel. Parton was notably inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, which was the impetus for Rockstar. As for why she's looking to gospel, she noted that it's about inclusion and how she wants to offer uplifting music for her fans.
"One of the things I want to do next and to leave for my legacy is that ultimate great gospel album, and done up in the same way that I've done this rock album. Really great productions, whether they be small or large, and to bring in some of the great people that have grown up in the gospel field or some of the people that are famous in the gospel field," she said. "To do that great uplifting album … gospel might not be the right word, although we will do gospel in it, but more uplifting, inspirational songs. I want to leave that behind. Well, who knows if it'll be the last one, but I definitely want to have that one as one of the last things that I do. In fact, I may start on that one before I do anything else."
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