Dolly Parton, 68, Kicks Off Energetic Australian Blue Smoke Tour

Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 10:01 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Dolly Parton, 68, launched her Australian Blue Smoke tour in Melbourne on Tuesday, singing some of her most beloved hits accompanied with audience sing-a-longs and a few stories and laughs with her devoted fan base.

Having last toured Australia three years ago, the country music legend defied her age in the energetic performance despite having suffered minor injuries in a "fender bender" in October.

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"I appreciate you coming to see me again because I need the money," Parton joked to the sold out crowd at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena Monday night, according to the Herald Sun. "It costs a fortune to make me look this cheap."

Parton's self-deprecating routine often related back to her childhood. She was raised in rural Tennessee by an impoverished mother who by the age of 35 had 12 children.

"We weren't Catholics, we were just a bunch of horny hillbillies," Parton joked.

Prior to her tour, Parton discussed her ongoing plastic surgery with Australia's Channel Seven's Sunrise program. She said that if it sagged, dragged or bagged, "I'm gonna get it nipped, tucked and sucked — whatever it takes . . . I kind of look at myself like a show dog, you gotta keep her in the show!"

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Parton made news in August 2013 for announcing the expansion of her popular theme park known as Dollywood. The total expansion includes multiple resorts, rides, and shows. The first of the new attractions will be Fire Chaser Express, scheduled to open next year. The ride is designed for families, including elementary-age children.

The 68-year-old Tennessean is one of the most successful female country artists of all time. She has composed more than 3,000 songs and had an estimated 100 million in record sales throughout her decades-long career. Some of the country singer's most popular songs are "I Will Always Love You," "Jolene," "Coat of Many Colors," "9 to 5," and "My Tennessee Mountain Home."

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