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MITCH SCHNEIDER ORGANIZATION: Congrats on “Better Get To Livin’” the kind of uplifting anthem everyone needs more than ever. What inspired you to write it? Any particular events trigger the song?
DOLLY PARTON: “I co-wrote this song with my co-producer, band leader and guitarist, Kent Wells. Kent is the one who said that I should write a song about my attitude, as so many people are always asking what my secret to success and happiness is. So I thought, “That is a good idea,” and I flew right into it. Kent kept feeding me ideas and threw in a line here and there. This is what came out of that. We had a lot of fun writing it.”
MSO: The song examines the pressures of life with these lyrics (below) Do you have any overall thoughts about how modern life is becoming more of a pressure cooker?
“Your life’s a wreck, your house is a mess
And your wardrobe’s way outdated.
All your plans just keep on fallin’ through.
Overweight and underpaid, underappreciated,
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you this I know is true.”
DP: I think life has always been a pressure cooker. People react to whatever pressures they’re under at the time, according to their tolerance level and their mental attitude. Certainly with so much attention today on being skinny and beautiful, rich and famous, equal pay for equal work, getting ahead, raising kids, holding down a job, getting older, etc., well, I think this song says some tings to let people know they’re not the only ones in that fix. And this song offers some advice for a way out.
MSO: The song also poignantly encompasses forgiveness and gratitude and optimism for the future. Might we ask: At what point in your life did you personally “get to livin’”?
DP: Believe me when I tell you my life is not perfect. I work hard. I fall down, I get up and I keep going. I pray a lot. I not only believe that tomorrow will be better, but that the next minute or the next hour will be better. You have to find the good in everything and in everybody, and believe that it is all for a reason. So, set out to find the reason and purpose in everything, even if it seems to be awful at the time. I’ve always had a good attitude. I wake up every day expecting things to be good. And if they’re not, then I set out about trying to get it fixed. I try to live every day like it might be my last. I don’t want to have to wake up, face God and say, ‘Well, duh, I should have tried.’
MSO: Backwoods Barbie is a brilliant title for the album. What does it mean to you?
DP: The song “Backwoods Barbie” pretty much says it all. I grew up poor and ragged, always dreamed of being beautiful like Barbie and the models in the Fredericks catalog. It’s true that the way I look is just a country girl’s idea of glamour. I’ve always been a bit of a cartoon character, but that comes from an honest place. I’m always getting too dolled up. My real name is Dolly, so I’m just a backwoods Dolly asking for a chance. Backwoods Barbie just seemed like such a perfect tit