12 country songs with lyrics inspired by Dolly Parton
Since becoming a country star in the 60s, Dolly Parton inspired everyone from newbie musicians to established names to sit down with a guitar and write their truth.
In the following 12 instances, either Parton’s sincerity and style or the characters living in his musical multiverse had a direct impact on the lyrics of country songs.
Cam shared an interview in 2017 with rolling stone that one of her signature songs, “Diane”, is a response to “Jolene.”
“These are the apologies that so many spouses deserve, but never get,” Cam said. “The other woman shows up to tell his wife the news of an affair, respecting her enough to have this difficult conversation, once she realizes he’s married. Because everyone should be able to decide their own path in life, depending on the truth. Women in particular should do this for each other, because our self-esteem can still be so shrouded in our partners. And in true country fashion, I put all the raw story to upbeat music, so you can dance along as you process it all.”
“The Hangover at Dollywood”, Catherine the Great
“Dollywood” is a common song title, used by bands ranging from pop twee giants Tullycraft to Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic collaboration Hail Mary Mallon. Although these songs apparently have nothing to do with Parton, Catherine the Great’s “Hungover at Dollywood” is by far the most eccentric example of an artist wondering how the great country might react to the current situation.
“You Can Have It Jolene”, Chapel Hart
Trio of countries Hart Chapel joins Cam to offer a different perspective on “Jolene.” The band thinks the sad excuse for a husband in Parton’s original and its main character are deserved.
“What Would Dolly Do”, Kristin Chenoweth
Musical theater stalwart Kristin Chenoweth looks more like Margo Price than Liza Minelli on one of multiple selections that asks “What would Dolly do.” In this case, the song reflects mutual appreciation, as Parton would like to see Chenoweth perform in a Broadway musical about the country singer’s life.
Chenoweth’s song was covered by one of Northern Ireland’s biggest Parton fanatics, Kerry Fearon.
“Dolly, Would You Forgive Me”, Christina Christian
Christina Christian joins the chorus of talented women asking “What would Dolly do” while hoping that her own path from small-town dreamer to glitzy show-stealer deserves Parton’s approval.
“Dolly Would”, The Dryes
Husband and wife duo Katelyn and Derek Drye ask that now familiar question (“WWDD”) throughout this 2021 release. Her clapping energy brings a camp reunion feel to a song about a woman guided by her values. spiritual.
“I fell in love with Dolly Parton”, Sherwin Linton
Sherwin Linton, a veteran performer known as “mid america country music legend“, tells the story of a dreamer whose appreciation of Parton’s talents and charisma makes him feel as if he has fallen in love with a woman who will never know he exists: even if he will honor a big ole day Opry stage.
“What would Dolly do?”, Tori Martin
Faced with judgment from her hometown and sudden changes in her life, Tori Martin finds comfort in hearing a Parton classic on the radio. It’s a reminder that for decades now, rising singer-songwriters with Nashville stardom in sight have surely dreamed of choosing Parton’s mastermind for some of his salt-of-the-earth knowledge.
“What would Dolly do?”, Gaby Michel
Folk singer-songwriter Gaby Michel doesn’t just fall back on our Frequently Asked Questions when examining the state of the world. She replies: Dolly would do the right thing.
“What Would Dolly Do”, The Unemployed Pudding
Add Montreal folk duo The Pudding Chômeur to our long (and likely incomplete) list of acts considering “WWDD.”
“What would Dolly do?”
Side Piece, a collective of women who are sideline musicians to top country stars, joined others in asking “What Would Dolly Do” with this 2021 ode to a worthwhile “Coat of Many Colors.” worth being hailed.
“I’m Gonna Be A Country Queen”, Tiny Tim
During Tiny Tim’s bid for stardom in ’80s Nashville, the “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” singer felt he’d have a better chance of impressing Music Row if he followed Parton’s fashion advice.
Read more: ‘9 to 5’: The story behind Dolly Parton’s anthem for the overworked and underpaid
“WWDD”, Lainey Wilson
Lainey Wilson celebrates Parton’s benevolent heart and his Golden Rule-guided way of life without losing sight of the cheeky humor that makes his hero so widely beloved.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Dolly,” Wilson said in a 2020 press release. “From her sense of humor, to her looks, to her writing, to her singing, to the way she has an amazing heart give, what an awesome businesswoman she is…Dolly does just that little bit better with a little bow on top.Dolly is an international icon and a role model for many people across the world, so it’s an easy song for a lot of people to identify with.”