Roadtripping David Byrne on Dolly Parton and Elvis

Jack Neely, writing in Metro Pulse, points readers to a blog entry by David Byrne, written after a drive with his daughter, Malu, across Tennessee.

Byrne, the former front man for the Talking Heads, took his daughter to Dollywood and has some interesting comments on Dolly:

“She’s a little worked over now, which makes the look even more extreme, and a little scary. The hourglass figure on the tiny woman, the little girl voice- combined with an astute business sense and dynamite songwriting — well, it’s a confusing combination for a Yankee. The look smacks of insincerity, or someone living in a fantasy world, yet her acts, what she did (like creating Dollywood), and her songs are completely sincere and heartfelt. The look says sex combined with little girl, a combo typical of Japanese schoolgirls and manga comics, but not of a serious singer, and later an actress.
Feminists used to stand up for Dolly, mainly because she was in charge of her own business affairs and wrote her own material, I imagine, not because they envied her cleavage and high hair. I remember Patti Smith once covered Dolly’s wonderful heartbreaking song “Jolene,” an endorsement from another empowered woman.”

Byrne and Malu spent the night in Knoxville, finding the downtown eerily empty, then continued to Graceland, where Byrne, himself no stranger to odd clothing–remember the big suit?–holds forth on Elvis’s jumpsuits:

“These jumpsuits, like the décor in the house, were created in collaboration — in this case with a tailor/designer, and were wholly original in my opinion. They combine Elvis’ love of Karate, Afro-American couture (the Temptations and Jackson 5 were wearing jumpsuits in the early 70s, most hippie rockers were not) with a touch of…Liberace.”

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