Dolly Parton’s A Cracker (Barrel)!

 

 

Potentially
unfortunate career and p.r. move for the country superstar.

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

 

It’s not every day we have Dolly Parton news to report, and
even rarer still are the opportunities to exploit what some might term
“unfortunate, or at least slightly uncomfortable” coincidences in the daily
news cycle. At any rate, a press release just slipped over the BLURT transom
informs us that Dolly is partnering with the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® restaurant chain to release a special
“Collectors’ Edition” of Parton’s recent album Backwoods Barbie. It’s to include new art plus three previously
unreleased bonus tracks and will be sold exclusive at Cracker Barrels.

 

All cool there; you can read the full press release below.
Meanwhile, as one of the interns observed when we were discussing the Parton
news, “In light of the Howard Stern shit, do you think that Dolly hooking up
with Cracker Barrel is the smartest move?”

 

Good point. For those with short memories, about a year ago
there was this big flap surrounding a Parton audio track that was aired on the
Howard Stern show. Apparently the Stern crew employed some mixing and tape
splicing wizardry to essentially do a mashup of Parton quotes taken from an
audio book to make it sound like she was spewing a litany of racist epithets
(and no shortage of “big wang” comments, too). Parton subsequently had to go on
the defensive and released a statement saying, “I have never been so shocked,
hurt and humiliated in all my life. I cannot believe what Howard Stern has done
to me. In a blue million years, I would never have such vulgar things come out
of my mouth. They have done editing or some sort of trickery to make this
horrible, horrible thing. Please accept my apology for them and certainly know
I had nothing to do with this. If there was ever going to be a lawsuit, it’s
going to be over this. Just wanted you to know that I am completely devastated
by this.”

 

The offending Stern show audio clip appears to have been
removed
from most websites, but some diligent searching can probably unearth an
MP3 of it somewhere.

 

And that’s the problem: with the Internet, everything lasts
until eternity, which means someone who doesn’t know the backstory here might
come across Parton’s so-called racist rant and take it at face value.

 

Which brings us to Cracker Barrel: how many of you out there
still consider the chain’s name as synonymous with “racist”? It was very, very
long ago, nearly 20 years ago in fact, that those lawsuits alleging Cracker
Barrel had engaged in minority discrimination
and refusing to serve black
customers were first filed, and they’ve also been long since settled (to the
tune of $8.7 million). The chain has subsequently gone to great lengths to
rebuild its public image, but it goes without saying that deeply negative image
is hard to ever fully erase in the minds of most people. To this day, the
ongoing joke remains, “Did ya ever wonder why they call it Cracker Barrel?” (Denny’s has a similar public relations problem
regarding a perception of insensitivity, too.)

 

Humans can be stupid. And memories can be both long and
short. But you can’t change human nature, so here’s hoping that the
Parton-Cracker Barrel move won’t result in all sorts of media attention (like
the bit you’re reading right now) that tries to spin it in a negative
direction. We LOVE Dolly, just to be perfectly clear.

 

Like we said, just one of those uncomfortable coincidences
we sometimes encounter while scouring the world for music-related news. Hey,
come to think of it, it’s still Black History Month, too….

 

***

 

Parton Press Release:

 

 

LEBANON, Tenn. – (February 27, 2009)
– She’s an international star, a prolific songwriter, and a beloved
philanthropist, but Dolly Parton is also just an old-fashioned Tennessee girl,
and that’s why Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® is pleased and
proud to be the exclusive source of a new Collectors’
Edition
of Dolly’s latest CD, Backwoods
Barbie
. The album will feature three new tracks that have never been heard
before and are available only on this disc, and the CD will also feature brand
new photos and artwork. This Collectors’ Edition goes on sale exclusively at
all Cracker Barrel locations on March 23rd.

 

 

The
three new songs on this disc, Rose of My Heart,”Hallelujah
Holiday,”
and “
Berry Pie” were
selected by Dolly herself from her extensive catalog.  “I wanted the songs I chose specifically for
this release to reflect how I feel about Cracker Barrel and all the good things
you can find there,” said Dolly.  “I
think it’s important for there to be an authentic connection to the heritage
that Cracker Barrel and I share.”

 

 

Dolly
Parton is considered to be the most successful female country music artist,
having released 42 top-10 country albums and earned 25 number-one singles. She
has won seven Grammy® awards and received 42 Grammy® nominations. She has also received seven awards from the Academy of Country Music
and 10 Country Music Association awards, and is one of only five female artists
to win the CMA’s highest honor, “Entertainer of the Year.” Dolly is also an
acclaimed movie and television actress, and her literacy program, Dolly
Parton’s “Imagination Library,” is now in 566 counties in 36 states.  It started in her home town in Sevier County, Tennessee,
just up the road from Cracker Barrel’s home town of Lebanon,
Tennessee.  “The woman is one of our national treasures, so
let’s cherish her for as long as we’ve got her…this is one Barbie who has
always been for real,” wrote Newsweek in 2008.

 

 

 

“Dolly
Parton is an extremely popular and appealing entertainer, and our guests are in
for some wonderful sounds when they listen to this Collectors’ Edition of Dolly’s latest CD, Backwoods Barbie,” says Peter Keiser, Vice President of Marketing
for Cracker Barrel. “We are especially pleased that Dolly herself selected the
three new exclusive songs for this album and honored that these songs reflect
her feelings about Cracker Barrel.”

 

 

The
Collectors’ Edition of Backwoods Barbie with 15 tracks,
including three new songs, goes on sale exclusively at all Cracker Barrel
locations on March 23rd, at a retail price of 11.99.

 

 

The
Collectors’ Edition of Backwoods Barbie is the latest project
in an impressive collection of exclusive music available only at Cracker
Barrel. It follows a number of exclusive releases in 2008 –  November’s release of Bill Gaither’s Homecoming Hymns, the August release of Kenny Rogers: 50 Years, the July
release of Ricky Skaggs’ The High Notes and
the April release of Aaron Tippin’s He
Believed. 
Over the last few years,
Cracker Barrel has released exclusive CDs featuring Alison Krauss & Union
Station, Josh Turner, Amy Grant, Sara Evans, and Charlie Daniels.

 

 

 

About Cracker Barrel

Cracker
Barrel Old Country Storeâ restaurants provide a friendly home-away-from-home in their old
country stores and restaurants.  Guests
are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and
shopping that’s surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America’s
country heritage…all at a fair price. The restaurant serves up delicious,
home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n’ dumplins as
well as its signature biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old
country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and
self-indulgences.

 

 

Cracker
Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn.
and operates 588 company-owned locations in 41 states.  Every Cracker Barrel unit is open seven days
a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Friday and
Saturday, 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.  For more
information, visit: crackerbarrel.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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