Dolly Parton has won an impressive array of ACM Awards over the years — including one for Entertainer of the Year in 1977 — but on April 3rd, she'll take home her first Tex Ritter Film Award for her television movie Coat of Many Colors. The annual honor is presented to a film that features country music and has previously been bestowed upon Walk the Line, O Brother Where Art Thou and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
"It means a lot to be honored for anything, especially with this Coat of Many Colors, and especially with the Tex Ritter Award," Parton tells Rolling Stone Country. "Tex was a great guy, I got to know him while he was still living and just the fact that they're giving out honors in his name — but to be up there with the great stories like Coal Miner's Daughter, and O Brother and Walk the Line, it's like you say, wow, all those were feature films, and this one was just a movie of the week on television."
Presenting the award to Parton at the ACM Awards will be pop star Katy Perry, who is also slated to perform a duet with the country icon.
"We were going to do 'Coat of Many Colors' together as a duet and then she got the big idea, why don't we sing 'Jolene' together because she loves that song and since it's going to be one of the movies," explains Parton, who plans to release the double album Pure and Simple with Dolly's Biggest Hits and go on tour in 2016. "I go, yeah, why not? So I'm going to try to combine the 'Coat of Many Colors' and 'Jolene' to make it like a really even more special moment to perform with her."
It'll be the first time the pair performs together on a stage, though they've been part of the mutual admiration society for some time. And Perry, with her colorful style and persona, clearly took a few cues from Parton's outsize appearance and personality. Perry also showed her appreciation for country music when she starred opposite Kacey Musgraves on an episode of CMT Crossroads and then brought Musgraves on her Prismatic tour.
"I know she comes to Dollywood, brings her friends. . . and she's contacted me a few times," says Parton. "I've tried to get to do some things before and it never worked out with our schedules. But I know she grew up in a spiritual family — I think her daddy was preacher or something like that. I think she relates to me in that respect. I don't know her yet but I hope to get to and maybe we'll get a chance to do something."
Tune in and see the beginning of the friendship when the ACM Awards airs live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas April 3rd at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.