Dolly Parton's America

Have you heard Dolly Parton’s America?

I’d heard about Dolly Parton’s America podcast, had seen it come up as one of the most popular podcasts on my phone (Applepodcasts).

Not sure why I passed it up at first. I like Dolly, but I’m not a huge Country Music fan. I only know her pop songs, like “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You.” I couldn’t see the point of the podcast.

But it kept coming up so I decided to give it a listen.

Just a few minutes into Episode #1, I was hooked. 

Dolly Parton’s America is a 9 Episode podcast that dives into Dolly Parton, the Unifier. 

She’s everywhere

The show came about when Had Abumrad, a journalist who grew up in Dolly’s home state of Tennessee, attended a Dolly Parton concert in New York city.

He had never given much thought to just how big Dolly was, never thought much about her presence.

Until the concert. He marveled at the wide range of people of all races, ages, nationalities, and income levels who love her. He wondered, How could this country singer from Tennessee bring all these people together? Could she be a Unifier even in the current climate of political polarization? 

He wanted to learn more. And, it turns out, he had an “in” to getting an interview with Dolly Parton. His dad knows her! (Seems odd, but the show covers the connection.)

He started with one interview which turned into the WNYC’s 9 episode podcast: Dolly Parton’s America.

I found the podcast interesting, funny, and entertaining. You don’t have to be a fan to get something out of it, but especially if you love Dolly, it’s a must listen.

Takeaways

Dolly Parton’s story is a rags (literally) to riches story, for sure. But she’s also super smart, talented, candid, and seems to genuinely care about people.  

My big takeaways and what I learned from Dolly Parton on this podcast: 

  • Work hard
  • Stay the course
  • Believe in yourself
  • Look for the good in people
  • Keep your sense of humor
  • If you’re going to be the butt of a joke, beat ’em to the punch
  • Know what you believe
  • Stand up for yourself

Ask me anything.

The conversations about her work, career, beliefs, and attitudes are entertaining and enlightening.

Here’s a list of the Episode titles and a little bit about what’s covered in each:

Episode 1: Sad Ass Song 

Covers her persona, her songwriting and music tradition, and the lasting themes in her music

Episode 2: I Will Always Leave You

She answers questions about her long career, how she had to stand up for herself, and how following her intuition made all the difference 

Episode 3: Tennessee Mountain Trance

We learn about Dolly’s roots and how her songs about home resonate with people on a larger scale

Episode 4: Neon Moss

Expands on the idea of home and the longing we sometimes feel for something long gone

Episode 5: Dollitics

How Dolly handles politics by not handling politics

Episode 6: The Only One For Me, Jolene

How many different ways can you interpret a song that seems to have an obvious message? If the song is “Jolene,” a whole bunch of ways.

Episode 7: Dolly Parton’s America

There is a class at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville called Dolly Parton’s America. This episode discusses America in the context of the South and Appalachia as it is explored in the class.

Episode 8: Dixie Disappearance

A “Dixie” controversy at Dollywood and the larger issue of addressing the injustices of the past and the symbols that commemorate them.

Episode 9: She’s Alive!

Dolly talks about religion, her faith, and her plans to have her music far outlive her. 

Also, 2 bonus episodes feature her music performed by other artists. 

For more information, click here to go to the Podcast webpage

Listen to this

“Becoming Wise” podcast offers morsels of wisdom

I was looking for a podcast to listen to, something short, but packed with insight. That’s how I stumbled on the podcast called “Becoming Wise”

The name intrigued me because, How do you become wise? And what is wisdom anyway?

But as I perused, I saw that the podcasts are short, around 10 minutes long, so they’re like morsels of wisdom, and feature big-idea people like Brené Brown, Seth Godin, and Desmond Tutu.

The last episode was published July 2019 so it looked like the podcast may be done, but I decided to give it a listen anyway.

Compassion changes everything

One segment title caught my attention: Compassion for Our Bodies. I thought, Oh yeah. Let me check out what they have to say about having compassion for my ever-changing, menopausal body.

The podcast host, Krista Tippett, introduced Matthew Sanford, an innovator of adaptive yoga who’s been in a wheelchair for 30 years, since an accident that killed his father and sister when he was 14 -years old.

Mr. Sanford says, “Your body, for as long as it possibly can, will be faithful to living. That’s what it does.” This from a man who has endured numerous operations and painful recoveries. He says of his experience, “My body didn’t ask to get hammered and break, and to have its spine shredded, and many bones broken. But it went, ‘Ok. Let’s regroup. Let’s go.’” He also says, “I look at places — skin on my body, old pressure sores and old stuff that happened — where you can see the skin is struggling to stay and hold. I don’t think, ‘It’s not holding, dang it.’ I feel like, ‘Man, it’s working as hard as it can.’

Whoa! How true! 

That philosophy is something I’ve tried to practice for a while now, but what a great reminder. The interview got me thinking, How can this idea help me as I age and my body changes and I’m less able to do what I used to do?

Mr. Sanford’s insight opened me up to have more compassion for my body and gratitude that it “for as long as it possibly can, will be faithful to living.”

How can I dislike any part of my body when it does nothing but work for me, even when I eat too much, skip my workout(s), or don’t get enough sleep?

The episode had me saying, Thank you, body. You’re amazing and wonderful and I’m sorry I don’t treat you like it sometimes.

A small bite of food for thought

If you’re looking for a small helping of something of substance, I recommend “Becoming Wise” Podcast. I like to listen to an episode and mentally chew on it for a while.

Here’s a sample of some other episode titles:

Courage is Born from Struggle with Brené Brown
Beauty is an Edge of Becoming with John O’Donohue
We Choose Our Own Tribes with Seth Godin
Healing Through Story with Desmond Tutu
The Everyday Gift of Writing with Naomi Shihab Nye
Evil, Forgiveness, and Prayer with Elie Wiesel

That’s quite a sampling, don’t you think?

There are a total of 37 episodes. Happy listening!

For more reading on the blog about “Aging” read Getting older and how to be okay with it

For more information about Becoming Wise or Krista Tippett’s other work, go to The On Being Project at onbeing.org.

If you have a chance to listen, share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!