Globally beloved entertainment icon, Dolly Parton, surprised the world with the digital re-release of six classic albums today, Friday, April 10th. Doing what she does best, Dolly has been uniting generations of fans through love, laughter and music in a time when we need her the most. For kids out of school due to the COVID-19 Crisis, she reintroduced “Goodnight With Dolly” as a weekly storytime YouTube series. She has been reading weekly bedtime stories from her Imagination Library, the non-profit book gifting program that has sent 130 million books to children all over the world. For adults in “Stay at Home” situations, she’s posting humorous poems about “the stayin’ home” on Facebook and light-hearted #squadgoals photos on Instagram. “If you don’t follow Dolly on Instagram something is wrong with you,” Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon urged his following. For lifelong fans, the wave of music she’s made available everywhere today is a refreshing respite from the staleness of the same scenery and the heaviness of life’s realities.
The largest-ever digitally available catalog of Dolly Parton songs now includes the albums Little Sparrow (2001), Halos & Horns (2002), For God & Country (2003), Live & Well (2004), Those Were the Days (2005) and Better Day (2011). Featured on these albums is fan favorite “Little Sparrow” and Grammy Award-winning vocals on “I’m Gone.” Parton’s discography delivers a slice of nostalgia, infectious fun and fervent hope of a bright and better future.
In 2002, Parton originally released “Hello God” from Halo & Horns as a prayer in response to the terror attacks of 9-11 and she made it available again now with the hope that it would again bring healing and help.
“Hello, God? Can you grant us love enough to make amends?
Hello, God? Is there still a chance that we could start again?
Can you help me go the distance? Hello God?”
The following year, she released For God & Country, which included covers of famous patriotic mainstays and original Parton cuts. USA Today referred to the album “as her personal USO revue." A call back to a simpler, united time; something she wishes for us all again.
Live & Well was first released in 2004, and is a live album recorded at Dollywood, the world-famous 150-acre theme park which is as unique as its namesake and owner. Those Were the Days (2005) is collection of cover songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s and features a guest on every track including Norah Jones, Keith Urban, and Alison Krauss. The most recently recorded album made available again today is Better Day (2011), which was her first completely original body of work.
Dubbed Southern Living’s “Southerner of the Year,” Dolly Parton continues to make a difference, in the good times and the bad. It is her hope and wish that by making more songs of hers available for streaming that listeners will be streaming joy into their hearts and homes during this unprecedented time.
Dolly was the center of FOX’s "American Idol" Season VII’s Country Week on April 1 and 2, 2008, mentoring, performing, and watching the remaining contestants render covers of several of her classic songs.
Dolly mentored finalists as they prepared to perform her songs on the April 1, episode and returned on the April 2, show to perform her song "Jesus and Gravity" from her 2008 "Backwoods Barbie" CD. She chose not to judge the contestants’ performances of her songs saying,
"I couldn't go on and criticize somebody else's singin'.”
The remaining nine “American Idol” contestants performed:
Dolly won the 2001 GRAMMY Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her cover of the Collective Soul song "Shine" from her album "Little Sparrow," marking her third win in that category and seventh overall.
Collective Soul lead singer Ed Roland was blown away when he found out Dolly covered the group’s song,
"In all honesty, the first CD, which has 'Shine' on it, basically was a songwriter's demo, trying to get a publishing deal and try to showcase songs. It's the first time ever we've had one of those songs covered, and it's an honor, and really cool... especially coming from someone who's a great songwriter. It's not necessary for her to use anyone's songs except her own."
Dolly explains that the cover comes from a real affinity for the original version of the song.
"When that record came out years ago, my husband and I were riding in the car and heard it...We listened to see who it was and went and got it and played it off and on in the house for years. I've been trying to think of how I can sing it without all the rock stuff; it sounds spiritual and all that, and the melody lent itself well to some bluegrass harmonies. I figured we'd kick it around and if it didn't work, we wouldn't put it on. But it worked out great."