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VetFamily: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

Music and entertainment Icon Dolly Parton will release her 49th solo album and first rock album this November. In addition to being a world-class musician, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist, the 77-year old country music star is married to a former military man and has proudly supported the U.S. military over her decades-long career.

Parton’s husband Carl Dean served in the Army just after the two met in Nashville in 1964. They kept in touch during his service and got engaged when his time with the Army was done. Married on May 30, 1966 in a private ceremony, they’ve been together ever since, though Dean manages to stay out of the limelight of Parton’s bright career.

"We're completely opposite, but that’s what makes it fun. I never know what he’s gonna say or do. He’s always surprising me,” she told People Magazine in 2015. The couple renewed their wedding vows on their 50th Anniversary in 2016.

“I wouldn't trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth," Dean said at their vow renewal ceremony in his first ever public statement.

Parton’s first solo single was released in 1968 shortly after her marriage. Since then, she’s won 11 Grammy awards from 50 nominations, four People’s Choice Awards and three American Music Awards. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999, Dolly earned the National Medal of Arts in 2005. In addition to music, she co-owns the Dollywood Company, which manages theme parks and dinner theaters. Her hit songs include “Jolene,” “9 to 5,” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Inspired by her 2022 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Parton recently teamed up with an all-star roster of musicians for her newest release. The 30-song collection includes nine original tracks and 21 iconic Rock anthems. “Rockstar” will be her 49th solo album and her first foray into the rock genre. It includes collaborations with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Dolly spoke to the troops last December through the USO’s Military Virtual Programming and announced her upcoming rock and roll album. She’s been a proud supporter of the military over the years. She sang a cover of the song “Ballad of the Green Beret” for her 2003 album For God and Country. The song was originally recorded by SSGT. Barry Sadler in 1966. In recognition of her support, her image adorns one of the aircraft of the 134th Air Fueling Wing of the Air National Guard based out of Knoxville, Tennesse.

“I felt like those gals in World War II and I thought, ‘This is something,’ and it was a great honor and I am truly very proud, proud of it,” Parton said when her image was put on the KC135 Strato Tanker air refueling aircraft. “I am an all-American girl and I love America and just to be part of any of this is a great honor for me, so thanks again, all you guys. And I appreciate it,” she said. The November 17 release of her newest album will come out on Parton’s own Butterfly label with distribution through Nashville’s Big Machine Label Group. A four-LP version will be available in nine different colors of vinyl with five different covers. It will also be sold as a two-CD set as well as up for digital sales and streaming.

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Cover Story: How & Why WeSalute Was Founded 25 Years Ago

WeSalute founders Scott and Lin Higgins have spent a lifetime in the military community, from Scott’s combat service in Vietnam and the service of Lin’s father in WWII, to serving families and veterans through the creation of memorials and parades as part of charitable and government initiatives. It was this lifetime of service that led them to establish WeSalute, originally founded as Veterans Advantage, and to continue giving back.

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