Dolly Parton parked her tour bus at the Four Seasons hotel in Toronto to talk about her new album, Pure and Simple (out August 19), and accompanying tour, which will see the country legend touch down in seven Canadian cities in August and September. But the topic on everyone's minds, the devastating shooting at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub on Sunday (June 12), saw the 70-year-old singer distilling the issue down to a fundamental problem in the world today.
"We should love one another a little more, don't you think?" she told reporters.
"That's horrible. It wouldn't matter what kind of club it was," she added. "I am not God, I am no judge, I just know that God loves us all."
The "Jolene" singer, who recently performed her hit song with Katy Perry at the ACM Awards, has also been quite vocal about the controversial 'Bathroom Bill' in North Carolina, where she kicked off her tour in early June.
"I think we all have to live in this world," she said. "We are all kinds of people and I think that everybody should be protected, everybody should be safe, everybody should be comfortable in their world, however they do."
But Dolly was also here to celebrate her first major tour in 25 years, and it will see her touching down in cities as big as Toronto and Vancouver and as small as Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. When asked by Adam Wylde of KISS 92.5 why it's important to the award winner to travel to a wide variety of venues, she drew a hilarious comparison.
"Kind of like the dollar stores, they have them in all the little places here and there, and they have them in big cities – do you have the dollar stores here in Canada?" she asked, before explaining, "I’m kind of like a dollar store. I can fit in in the little country, I can fit in in the big country. I love my fans no matter who they are."
And while the pint-sized star with the big blond hair jokes that she owes looking so good at 70 to "good makeup, good lighting, good doctors," she celebrates another milestone this year - 50 years married to her husband, Carl Dean. Accordingly, Dolly's new album features a string of love songs "of different colours."
But how have they made it this long? "We’re not in the same business, and that helps a lot," she explains. "I always make jokes and say it doesn’t hurt that I’ve only been home about 40 of those 50 years, so we’re not in each others' faces all the time. But we just have a lot in common and get along well."
She told Hello! that they keep their careers so separate that Carl doesn't even like to preview new material. "I used to in the early days write a song and I’d be so excited and it was like he didn’t want to sit down to listen to all of that, he’d say ‘that’s what you do’ [laughs]."
But she's got a sounding board in one of her oldest friends, Judy Ogle. "She’s been with me since we were just little kids, and so we’re always together, she works with me and travels with me also," says Dolly. "She thinks they’re all good though [laughs], she wouldn’t know if they’re good or bad!"