LERWICK’S Mareel was packed on Saturday night for the much-anticipated Dolly Parton tribute brought north for the first time by the Shetland Country Music Club. Caroline MacDonald soaked up the atmosphere for Shetland News.
It was a night of old favourites and audience participation when Andrea Pattison, from Sunderland, brought her act The Dolly Parton Story to a Shetland stage.
The best Dolly Parton tribute act in the country looked spectacular in an outfit she told me later had been made especially for her by a Russian lady.
She warmed the audience up by launching into one of the great singer’s most popular songs, Nine To Five, before giving us an evening of Dolly classics, such as Coat of Many Colours and Jolene.
Her dress, her wig, her mannerisms and her movements on stage were so spot on that they left us all amazed at how she had managed to capture the image so cleverly and transport us to Dolly’s world so completely.
The whole audience was mesmerised by her talent, the atmosphere in the auditorium was electric and she had the audience eating out of her hand with her jokes and Dollyisms.
Pattison is also a songwriter in her own right. She told a story about her father and then sang a song she had written about him that was so lovely I would defy anyone not to have cried a little.
Later she told me the story how she started out with her tribute act when she was playing the pubs and clubs in the north of England with her band. Her father-in-law suggested one night that she perform more Dolly Parton songs as she sang like her, and she never looked back.
She works with her husband Richard, who does the sound and other preparations, and also plays bass in the four piece band The Partoners who back her down south, but who were left behind for her Shetland debut.
It can’t be easy doing a tribute act like this as a solo performer, but on Saturday the audience thoroughly enjoyed watching a professional act who I for one would like to see coming back to Shetland one day, perhaps bringing her band with her next time.