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.
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.
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