RBC Center—"Coat of Many Colors," one of Dolly Parton's signature tunes and her most poignant songwriting moment, is a memory piece straight out of her hardscrabble childhood. Figuratively and literally, though, she's worn many coats since—actress, whip-smart businesswoman, tourist park namesake and dynamo—to become one of the most powerful women in the entertainment business. Still, above all else, she's a singer, perhaps the most honored one in country music.
Within that framework, her career has shown impressive variety: She was a teenage Opry ingénue and a confident Nashville songwriter before becoming a true country music (and beyond—Parton defined "crossover" in the '70s) superstar. Though a solo powerhouse, she thrives on collaboration, too, with Porter Wagoner and Kenny Rogers in the duet world, and on trio albums with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, or Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn. Parton's 1999 Sugar Hill release The Grass Is Blue found her full-circling back to her musical roots with a passion. More recently, Harris, Melissa Etheridge, Sinead O'Connor and others celebrated Parton's monumental songwriting achievements with the Just Because I'm a Woman tribute. Without Dolly Parton, you could argue, there'd be no Alison Krauss, no Tift Merritt, no Mindy Smith. And, yes, no Rhinestone, no Dollywood. They're all part of the post-Dolly coterie. Tonight, she takes center stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 and $59.50. —Rick Cornell
Local 506—The first time I saw Anathallo, a friend lured me by offering to pay my cover if I didn't love their set. Impressed by Anathallo's creative use of scissors, heavy chains and well-timed balloon pops for percussion, I never asked to be reimbursed. Though they've toned down the odds-and-sods instrumentation, the seven-piece has kept the dramatic crescendos laden with handclaps, gang vocals, horns and auxiliary percussion. The clangor juxtaposes nicely with quieter verses filled with spiritual lyrics that include C.S. Lewis swipes. Cale Parks drums in indie pop outfit Aloha, but his solo work is mostly atmospheric, second-generation Steve Reich stuff. Chapel Hill's Lost in the Trees opens. Tickets are $8-$10 at 8:15 p.m. —Spencer Griffith