Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dolly Parton's 'Home Town'

Dolly Parton is a kind of American music legend. The fourth of twelve children of a dirt poor hillbilly family, Dolly succeeded in making it big as a country singer and songwriter. I'm sure her early fame had something to do with her big blond hair and expansive chest that preceeded her tiny body by about a half a mile, but at some point her big voice became just as, um, outstanding as her physique.


Dolly was born in a one-room shack in the Smoky Mountains but the little town of Sevierville, Tennessee has proclaimed itself her home town. When we drove through on our last trip back from Minnesota we decided to stop and say howdy.

Dolly's likeness sits on a big rock playing her guitar on the courthouse lawn.







At six Dolly began playing a homemade guitar and singing in church.

At eight she played and sang on local radio stations.

By 18 she was making a name for herself in Nashville as a singer and songwriter.

Dolly met Carl Dean, owner of an asphalt paving business, in front of the Wishy Washy Laundromat the day she moved to Nashville. He warned her that she was getting a sunburn.


They married in 1966, and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in May of this year.

She and Dean had no children of their own but raised several of Dolly's brothers and sisters.




Dolly sponsors a literacy program for children dear to my teacher's heart, Imagination Library. The program mails a book a month to every child enrolled from birth until they enter kindergarten. Imagination Library has provided books for over 850,000 children every month across the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia, 10 million books annually.

Among many other projects, Dolly has raised money for a cancer center in Sevierville in honor of the doctor who delivered her-- the doctor her father paid with a bag of cornmeal!

I've always enjoyed Dolly Parton's music with its bluegrass and mountain roots. I like her peppy personality and the family values she has maintained.

Of the 3,000 songs she has written, my favorites are Coat of Many Colors based on her mountain childhood and I Will Always Love You made famous by Whitney Houston.

If you want to have a listen, here are a couple links:



  1. No country music fan, I have still always admired Dolly Parton and her remarkable talent. She's a smart lady and one heckuva songwriter.

  2. I enjoyed your informative post Cynthia. I am not a great fan of country music but you can't help admire her talent.

  3. I've always gotten a kick out of Dolly, a real no nonsense lady.

  4. Cynthia country music is notmycup of tea but it was intetesting to read

  5. Cynthia country music is notmycup of tea but it was intetesting to read

  6. Good ole Dolly.
    Loved her in "Steel Magnolias" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas".
    She has such a talent and of course the frontal part is quite good for the
    eyes !!! ha ha.
    Not a fan of Country and Western Music but Dolly could belt out plenty of
    other songs which were not solely " C & W".
    Great report, well done and much appreciated.
    The "Lonesome Cowboy", reporting from the Brisbane City Library on
    a sunny and warmish Winter day, Colin.

  7. Dolly has written some wonderful songs in her time. I don't care for her voice in most of her singing but she is still great. Anything that keeps her happy.

  8. She is a wonderful lady, I love her laugh and smile. I think she is about as down home as famous people get:)

  9. I think she is pretty amazing - 3,000 songs?!She's one generous lady who has made a huge impact with her life.

  10. Thanks for this tribute to Dolly. At first I thought she was a strange woman with a shrill voice when talking and a strange figure, but over the years I started to love her music and herself as a person. She is a very social and unique woman with the heart in the right place. That book project I had never heard about, so nice.

  11. A wonderful tribute. I am a fan of Country music, so often listen to her music. What a great thing to get involved in the literacy programme, admirable.

  12. You know, I don't think I had ever seen a photo of her husband. Thanks for adding that. This was an interesting post to read. I listen to cou try music once in a while, but I did like it when Dolly and Kenny Rogers sang together.

  13. Loved your brilliant opening paragraph, made me smile :) I like her music it's upbeat like her bubbly personality!
    Wren x

  14. This is a very nice post indeed..have a nice weekend..

  15. Dolly always seems bigger than life (pun intended), but she also seems so "real" when she speaks her mind. Her generosity has helped countless people. Thanks for the interesting facts in this post - I enjoyed it.

  16. Sweet Dolly! How could anyone not like her. She is so honest and down to earth, and I love to hear her sing. I have never seen a picture of her husband before.

  17. Oh, I do love Dolly! Nice shots and info.