Pam Tillis headlined Dollywood's Spring Mix concert series on April 16, 2018. She took the opportunity to spring a new song on her fans which she is including in her upcoming album. The song is inspired by the park's namesake, Dolly Parton and will be well worth the wait for fans of both ladies.
She was once known as the up-and-coming country singer with a famous last name. For years she hit the pavement, knocking on doors, singing demos and jingles. She worked as a staff writer for Elektra Asylum Publishing and later took a job writing for Warner Brothers Publishing.
Now, three decades later, she is a decorated artist with two Grammy wins, three CMA awards, including 1994’s Female Vocalist Of The Year Award, and has over 30 US Billboard charting singles. She long since established her place in country music and holds the title of the first woman invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry in the 21st century. Now, the child of Country Music Royalty proudly showcases over half a century of some of country's finest songs, stories and artistry.
When asked her favorite Dollywood activity she first jokingly said "the buffet" and noted her fondness for beans and cornbread. And then added she is a big fan of the collection of crafts on display by Dollywood's resident artisans.
Here the "Queen of Denial" chats about songwriting and what it was like growing up around country icons like Dolly and her legendary dad Mel Tillis. She also talks about her current tour dates and appearances.
Q. "Your songs have been recorded by a variety of mainstream artists. Do you have a standout favorite cut by another artist?"
A. "I don't know if the album is still in circulation but it's cool that I had a Conway Twitty cut. I think I'm the only songwriter that has ever had a Conway Twitty cut and a Chaka Khan cut."
Q. "Do you have a favorite story or memory that captures Dolly's friendship and working relationship with your father?"
A. "Actually, I don't even know where to begin. I met her as a little girl. I was starstruck. Dolly played guitar and wrote her own songs. And there weren't a lot of women writing their own songs back then, I didn't feel like, so that made a deep impression on me. She was as talented as any man, if not more so. And then a dream come true, getting to sing on one of her records. And then she came and sang on one of mine. I just want to mention that she took the time to write me a letter when Daddy passed. And that says everything about her."
Q. "You are currently touring doing both your own shows and shows with Lorrie Morgan. You are also a part of the Chicks with Hits tour with Terri Clark and Suzy Bogguss. What about these types of collaborations with other female artists appeals to you?"
A. "I feel like it's such a neat part of my touring schedule. For so many years I found myself ‘the chick’ on a bill with so many dudes. It's just been so great to work with other female artists. They're seasoned pros. We've all got stories to tell and have so much in common as well. It's very comforting to be out there with sisters."
Dolly invited Pam to join her and a host of country stars on her 1993 release, "Slow Dancing with the Moon." And later, Dolly and Pam teamed up for some incredible harmonies on Pam's "Violet and a Rose" from "It's All Relative: Tillis Sings Tillis” released in 2002.