Dolly Parton talks peace -- The country legend's new album promotes world harmony

Should anyone misinterpret Those Were the Days, Dolly Parton’s new CD of topical tunes, as a political statement, don’t expect the peace-loving (but not protesting) country legend to pose nude on EW’s cover á la the Dixie Chicks. ”I like pushin’ my boobs up and showin’ my legs a little,” says the soon-to-be-60-year-old now touring, penning songs for a planned 2007 Broadway production of 9 to 5, and celebrating Dollywood’s 20th anniversary. ”But I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever pose nude. You’d have to catch me naked.”

Why did you decide to cover songs like ”Blowin’ in the Wind,” ”Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and ”Imagine”? I’m not a political person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m very patriotic, and I love people. I never understood why we couldn’t get along better. It’s like the Bible says, ”There will always be wars or rumors of war,” but that doesn’t mean those of us who would love to see peace wouldn’t like to see it be different.

”Twelfth of Never,” a duet with Keith Urban, is the only song on the album that’s not from the ’60s or ’70s. Why did you pick it? I was tryin’ to think of a looove note ’cause [Keith] is so cute and all. He was willing to do it ’cause he’d been a fan of mine since he was a little boy, which made me feel about 107. He said, [imitating an Aussie accent] ”I used to win contests on your songs back in Australia: ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ ‘Applejack,’ ‘Me and Little Andy.”’

”Me and Little Andy” [in which a young girl and her puppy die] is the saddest song ever. [Laughs] It is a sad-ass song, I have to tell you. I used to do that song on stage, then I got asked one time in Vegas if I could please not. The casino wanted the audience to drink more and lose more money — they didn’t want to bring ’em down. Me singin’ about some little kid whose daddy’s a drunkard, it’s just too much.

At a recent concert, we spotted young men wearing ”What Would Dolly Do?” T-shirts. Does your gay following ever surprise you? Well, no. I’m very honored. I think they just know that I accept everybody as they are…. And they’re a bit flamboyant for the most part, and so am I. They relate to the gaudiness.