Parton, whose business portfolio includes a theme park and an, says she's spending a lot of her own money trying to get back on country radio with her new CD, "Backwoods Barbie."
"I'm looking at it like an investment," she told The Associated Press. "I thought, 'I've made enough money. I can afford to invest a little in myself.'"
She has self-released the disc on her own label, Dolly Records, and hired a seven-member promotions team.
"I purposely tailor-made this to try to get some hits," Parton explained.
The album reached No. 2 on Billboard in its second week, her best showing in 17 years.
The first single, "Better Get to Livin'," a country-pop song she describes as sonically similar to Keith Urban, sputtered at No. 48. But the second single, "Jesus & Gravity," is just now arriving at radio.
At age 62, Parton remains an icon and inspiration to younger singers.
"I don't think there's anything that woman can't do," said rising country star Kellie Pickler, who calls Parton her greatest influence. "She just walks into a room and lights it up. She's got that 'it' factor that money can't buy. She's the whole package."
Music Row began to lose interest in Parton in the '90s as a new crop of country stars emerged. Her last Top 5 hit, "Rockin' Years," was in 1991, and she hasn't had a major label record deal in 10 years.
"When it changed I was still as serious as ever and was thinking I'm still as good as ever, if I ever was any good," Parton said.
She has watched with interest as new technology has created opportunities without the big labels.
"Now the majors are what they used to think I was: history," she said.
"I thought this is a good time, but I need to make an all-out effort. ... Whatever it takes, you fight for it. You do what you have to do to feed your habit, and I'm a music addict."