A Young Relation clued me in to Dolly Parton’s America, a rambling road trip of a podcast that is good for listening to on road trips. It’s a mix of personal storytelling by the host, Jad Abumrad, and exploration of how and why Dolly Parton’s stardom extends so far beyond the country music audience. The best part: Dolly herself participates in the conversation, telling stories about her life and music and reacting to Jad’s ideas.
If I had to pick one episode, it would be The Only One for Me, Jolene. Written by a very young Dolly, the song is a twist on country’s “cheating” genre, in that the singer is begging and flattering the would-be homewrecker instead of trash-talking her. (See, for example, You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man). When Jad and a guest college professor take the song even further down that road, Dolly’s reaction is: pure Dolly.
Give it a listen and see what you think.