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'Welcome to Dollyverse': Dolly Parton performs classic hits on the blockchain in action-packed SXSW show

Country music legend Dolly Parton performed classic hits on the blockchain Friday night. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

Dolly Parton may not have a 9-5, but she still knows how to make a livin'.

In true Austin fashion, the 76-year-old country music star live streamed her first SXSW appearance through the blockchain, launched a Web3 platform dubbed the "Dollyverse," spoke with famous author James Patterson about their new book-slash-album "Run, Rose, Run," and performed new and old hits at Austin City Limits Live Friday night.

Parton drew both laughs and tears as she promoted the new Dollyverse, which is powered through Blockchain Creative Labs, and told her life story with wisdom, wit and plenty of song breaks.

Parton, Patterson and Britton discussed the duo's new album-and-book combo, which is soon to be a Reese Witherspoon movie. (Claire Partain/Austonia)

The singer took to her first SXSW stage with Connie Britton of the Austin-filmed Friday Night Lights fame and a rhinestone-clad Patterson, who has sold over 400 million book copies in his career.

Parton said Patterson does more than complement her outfits—the two became fast friends as they completed the yearlong project.

"I heard (Patterson) wanted to write a book with me, and I just thought, 'Why?'" Parton joked. "He just seemed like a new old friend..pretty much we're both crazy, we've got a warped sense of humor and we're both creative, so we got the job done in short order."

Though they don't collaborate well musically—Patterson's talents don't translate to good singing, Parton said—the two are proud of the book, which was released alongside her 12-song album of the same name earlier this month. The story mirrors Parton's own life as a young singer-songwriter traveling to Nashville at first but quickly delves into a darker, Patterson-twinged thriller.

"(Dolly) said to make it scarier," Patterson said. "I've never heard of anything like it before, a book with a soundtrack."

Both Patterson and Parton marveled at trying something new at their not-so-young ages as they revealed that a movie adaptation for "Run, Rose Run" is in the works with Reese Witherspoon.

"We both grew up in small towns, smaller than small," Patterson said. "And I consider it a blessing that I still look at the world as though I was the kid in that town. So now I'm here with Dolly Parton, holy shit!"

After singing an "Happy Birthday" rendition to Patterson and taking a few crowd questions, Parton switched into another country-glam outfit and took to the stage once more to sing three songs off the new album: ""Big Dreams and Faded Jeans," "Snakes in the Grass" and the very well-received "Woman Up (And Take It Like a Man)."

As if fusing the elements of "Run, Rose Run," Parton then took the crowd through her biggest hits with storytelling and song, weaving razor-sharp punchlines with chill-inducing life lessons and choir hymns. Parton, who grew up "Holy Rollers" Pentecostal in a poor Tennessee family with a dozen siblings, talked about discovering her love for music with her grandfather in the church and learning from her father, who couldn't read or write but was the smartest man she knew.

Parton honored her mother, too, with a story about the now-famous patchwork coat her mother made for her behind the classic hit "Coat of Many Colors" before quickly pivoting to the tale of the infamous auburn-haired bank teller her husband flirted with, inspiring the hit song "Jolene."

Parton's big blonde hair never wavered as she finished the show with the worker's anthem "9-5" and classic "I Will Always Love You."

"If somebody walks by without a smile, just give them one of yours," Parton told the crowd, and concertgoers left with that smile and a free limited-edition rose NFT to boot as they walked (or logged out) of the Dollyverse to finish the show.


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