This is the one fav I have right now. I have others, but this podcast, all 4 shows that are thus far released, Dolly Parton’s America, is thrilling my ears, my brain, and my heart right now. All of it.
Dolly is a Tennessee treasure, and, as a Tennessee native, she’s someone I essentially dismissed until these last few years. It’s easy to take someone for granted who essentially builds a theme park in your backyard.
Friends who are Dolly fans, and the delightful young adult novel Dumplin’ and subsequent Netflix movie (recommend them both) opened my eyes to the sheer joy that is Dolly Parton.
Whether she’s laughing at herself for wanting some dummy to stick around (Holdin’ on to You or Here You Come Again), singing about her childhood in East Tennessee (Coat of Many Colors and My Tennessee Mountain Home) or just giving it all she’s got with Kenny Rogers, in the name of love (I know, even Islands in the Stream- it’s fantastic), she’s so purely feeling every word of it. And I am. Right. There. With. Her.
This podcast came recommended through another podcast I love, and it hooked me in the first one. The second one, the story of Dolly and Porter Wagoner, undid me. The third was fine, but the fourth, linking the producer’s immigrant father, who grew up in rural Lebanon, and happens to be a friend of sorts to Dolly, to Dolly, who also grew up in a small, rural place – that one blew my mind. How did he make neighbors of Lebanon and Sevier County, TN? I don’t know, but he did. And it works.
This podcast is a beautiful reminder that by getting small, and focused, we can talk about big subjects.
Also, just listening to Dolly talk makes my heart feel so big. It could be the grayest day, and she laughs, and tells a story, and the world brightens up.
I’ll include this photo below, as it’s probably the closest I’ll ever find myself to Dolly in person. Even as a cardboard cutout, for the book donation program she runs, Dolly is a delight.