Dolly Parton's America


In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons. Join us for a 9-episode journey into the Dollyverse. Hosted by Jad Abumrad, creator of Radiolab and More Perfect.
Dolly Parton’s America is co-produced by OSM Audio and WNYC Studios.

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Recent Reviews
  • meka33
    Amazing Blend of Dolly & This American Life!
    I laughed, I cried & binged on this podcast full of great stories from Dolly, as it wove in the common threads of our collective human experiences. I loved discovering deeper influences Dolly’s music has had on people the world over and this exploration into American culture as it relates to the themes of Dolly’s life, her music, personality, charisma, faith, and love. :-)
  • Who knows 2345
    Sad to see it end!
    Loved this podcast. It’s thought provoking, interesting and entertaining. Episode 7 was the only disappointment bc it focuses too much on a group of like minded, similar aged people and treated their opinions as expert thought.
  • bmcthomas
    Read the label
    Negative reviews complaining “not enough to Dolly” have failed to note the podcast’s name. It’s not “Dolly Parton”, it’s “Dolly Parton’s America” I.e. it’s not just about her. If they only want interviews with Dolly, or only want a view of Dolly that matches their beliefs about her, I’m sure they can find those with a quick google.
  • Art
    Why do people like this?
    I listened to the first episode which was semi interesting and then I returned to my opinion about Dolly Parton which was that I don’t have an opinion about Dolly Parton. She’s another celebrity.
  • BecPBlack
    Can't believe I love it but I do
    This is one of those podcasts you come across and are completely blown away by not only the reporting, but the stories upon stories. And how completely universal Dolly's appeal is. A whole new level of admiration for the Tennessee girl who stuck to her convictions and has become universal in her appeal. I laughed, I cried. Fantastic.
  • THElisafer
    This podcast is wonderfully compelling
    I have always loved Dolly and I thought I could not love her more, but I am discovering her all over again. Wonderful Podcast mixes clips, narrative, interviews, history and the beauty of Dolly’s unsurpassed musical genius. I am enjoying every single minute and suspect I will be revisiting these episodes over and over. Thank you for this gem! Love you Dolly!
  • Bkmom
    Hands down 5 stars!
    This podcast is pure entertainment! As someone who adores Dolly Parton this podcast is keeping me entertained. There is enough other commentary plus Dolly to make it feel different than other podcasts. Highly recommend this one.
  • tncrna
    Dolly IS Tennessee
    The life and times of Dolly Parton reflect and inculcate all that is good and true , regarding the people of Tennessee, and Appalachia. Honest, hard-working, people of faith and good character. Her career has been a journey of revelation of an incredibly developed sense of “self”, and how to stay true to that self through the trials of life.
  • MKE_DogWoman
    She is a gift of pure and real magic
    Jad is your intrepid travel guide to the world of pure enchantment, the world of the wisdom of Dolly. Let it soothe your very soul
  • PodWalker50
    Heartwarming (at first)
    When this series began, I wish I had a nickel for every tear I shed listening to such an inspirational woman tell her story and the progression and history of her amazing musical talent. However, the series then warped from Dolly’s story and her contribution and place in musical history to personal introspection and ramblings by the host, Jad Abumrad. (Not everything is about you, Jad.) The commentary by others seems lackluster, extremely off-topic, and at times self-aggrandizing. Also, I agree with other listeners that the warping of Dolly’s songs into EDM is annoying. The hosts/creators need to use correct personal pronouns. “Brian drove . . . ME (not I) down the mountain.” “It took two years for Jad and ME (not I) to make.”
  • Mrs VonDoom
    This podcast takes you on a journey...
    This podcast takes you on a journey you didn’t even know that you wanted to go on. Filled with so many twist and turns that beautifully come together.
  • _sab_
    Dolly is awesome, but....
    I wish the interviewer had the instinct and grace to get out of the way of the story. At times he literally interrupts songs and talks over lyrics, unnecessarily explicating the simplest of lines when it would be so much more powerful to let art communicate its own message. That said: the podcast itself is incredible, an otherwise beautiful look at an amazing artist.
  • ART&TAT mom
    So disappointing- Dolly isn’t man-hating feminist
    Love how she is asked if she is a feminist and she says “No!” As a Born and Raised TN girl and being a Dolly fan for 35yrs, I looked so forward to this podcast only to be utterly disappointed. I love how host kept saying he grew up in TN but it’s obvious that his being transplanted in high school did not give any insight of what it truly means to have grown up in rural TN and poor. She is the pride of TN and the epitome of the American Story.
  • CDM*84
    I’m obsessed with this podcast! I’m a born and raised southerner, and Dolly has always been a fixture in my world to some extent. I wasn’t a big fan of her music, but as I’ve grown, gotten married, and had a child of my own, I’ve become a fan of her personality, appeal to a broad audience, business savvy, and her sincerity. This podcast made me love her even more! I’m a bit of an “outsider” among my community when it comes to political and social views, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Dolly was responsive to criticism, a believer in being true to ourselves, and receptive to the questions—some difficult—you asked for her. As a former English major with an affinity for literary criticism, I especially loved the episode that explored the voice of “Jolene,” the interviews at University of Tennessee, and on Dolly’s own spiritual beliefs. Great job!
  • JaclynPalagruto
    Unexpected life changing podcast
    I was never a fan of Dolly’s or even of Country Western music. It was on the suggestion of a you tuber (Leighann says) that I came across this podcast. As a young child my mother was diagnosed with brain tumors. Due to the treatments of this disease my mother had to move to another state fighting for her life for years. I had to be passed from family members and friends during that time. By the time my mother came back and was healthy enough to live a normal life again a flood wiped out our home leaving us once again to be separated. I am nearly 40 years old and have spent 30 years of my life pushing my mother away for fear of losing her then being angry with her because I felt left behind. This podcast and Dolly’s song has helped me see my mother in a new light. I now understand my mother better and have a new connection to her. I plan to take her and my child to Dollywood as soon as I can save the money for a long past due family reunion and vacation. Thank you so much for giving me my mother back.
  • Frizzle Momma
    This podcast is Everything for Everyone!
    Words can not describe how much I love this podcast. It’s reminded me of how much Dolly has figured in my own history. It’s covered the length and breadth of the WORLD. As a country, we’d all benefit from listening to and taking to heart the stories and perspectives shared here. What if we rebuilt this nation as a place FOR everyone? This podcast gives me hope that we actually could if we listened, learned, and applied Dolly’s lessons!
  • kms570
    Dolly Dolly Dolly
    As a big Dolly fan, I loved how this podcast involved her directly and expanded on so many aspects of her life and public perception. I recommend it to Dolly fans and those who may not know as much about her (so everyone).
  • swentosr
    A little disappointed
    A lot of assumptions were made about Dolly and her life. After interviewing Dolly for two years you barely get to hear her speak. I appreciate this podcast but the hosts seemed to be looking too deep into certain topics and reaching for things that weren’t there.
  • zak3603
    Best podcast I’ve ever heard
    I can’t tell you how much I love this podcast and Dolly Parton. I literally hang on every word. I’m sure I will listen to it over and over again.
  • Rose Griffith
    As much biographical as a history and culture lesson of where we’ve been, where we are and, quite possibly, where we’re headed. A thoughtful, thought-provoking, joyous ride that we didn’t to end! Have been telling everyone to listen to it.
  • mc679
    Dolly is such a fascinating person and Jad’s treatment and interpretation of her world is relevant in so many ways. I have been binging this podcast like there is no tomorrow.
  • EOD004
    Love the podcast, but...
    Very unimpressed by the speaking abilities of the university students, too much reliance on “like” as well as loud and obnoxious at times
  • spritelywench
    Beyond delightful
    Listen to this when you want to feel better about the world today. And listen to bits of amazing music. Dolly is a national treasure on many levels, and this podcast is a great way to hear why, even when things are complicated.
  • LizW328
    So Good
    I listened to this in a day. Very interesting and just really enjoyed it!
  • jkpettit11
    Good stories
    I might be biased because I am also from Tennessee and grew up with Dolly, but I really enjoyed this podcast. It’s so real and honest. Great work!
  • gingergirltn
    Long Live Saint Dolly!
    As a lifelong resident of NE Tennessee and located only about 1.5 hours away from Dollywood, I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast. It was quite interesting to hear thoughts on Dolly from people all over the world. I learned things about Dolly that I never knew, and I felt like the interviews were sincere and genuine. I was sorry when the series came to an end. Well done!
  • brinx00
    So well done, loved it. It was great to get to hear Dolly in her own words talk about so many different topics. I loved the episodes where you got into the history of Appalachian music and the banjo, and the origin of the word “redneck.” One lingering wish I had from the series: where’s the tape from that interview session with Dolly where she talked nonstop for 90 minutes? You should put that up somewhere!
  • SLBeam
    Worth the listen!
    Jad - loved this podcast! Thank you for presenting Dolly and the extent of her influence. You’ve helped people see the many layers of her life - including me! Very well done and interesting.
  • GypsyRoseRad
    Fabulous! Just like Dolly!
    Well done! Kudos! Beautiful. ❤️💥⭐️
  • ChessyMC
    Dolly the Feminist
    This lays an additional layer onto 9 to 5 (one of my all time favs). I bet she really wanted to be in the movie. It was a very progressive movie for its time.
  • Sophie7628
    Perfect for the 9 to 5 commute 😉
    I’ve been listening to this podcast on my hour long podcast to and from work and it is truly captivating. I’m not native to Tennessee but living here now I feel like I’ve learned a ton about the culture of the state and it’s history. So much good information. Every single episode has been amazing. So glad I found this podcast.
  • QQhorizon
    Stretched out and over-produced
    Only Jad Abumrad could ruin a show about one of the best musicians in history. I love Dolly, but stretching out this interview into multiple episodes and tinkering with remixing her songs doesn’t improve or add interest to her song book or personal history. The radiolab treatment isn’t working. Feels like Jad is imposing his personal history and theories onto Dolly, without giving her songs or words room to breathe. Jad, you’re not that important. Long live Dolly.
  • Kutchka
    I love Dolly and the podcast started out great. It just kept sidetracking from Dolly. No thanks. I listened to the end but barely made it. Nah. Don’t bother. Dolly is awesome. Podcast is not.
  • TLXO7
    A story on kindness
    I had so many preconceived notions before about Dolly.
  • goldensanya
    Thank you 🙏🏼
    Thank you!!! So interesting and I joy-ably!!!!😍
  • Bluesbabe574
    Incredible. Thank you for helping me to see Dolly in a whole new light and for giving me so much to think about!
  • lauraannapricot
    I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast and it was not what I expected. Jad not only explored her music but her life and influences. He searched for the pure essence of Dolly and found her and why she is so loved and admired. Jad’s comparison of Dolly’s mountain home and his father’s in Lebanon illustrated the universality of her music and it’s message. The students trying to be less country resonated with me, I am from rural Texas. Dolly is proud of who she is, how she speaks, and where she is from. We should all have this self confidence. Dolly fans are diverse. And she is REALLY that nice. I did feel that you were looking for a GOTCHA, a controversy you could exploit, a crack in her armor. You almost had it with the Dixie Stampede. Dolly never betrayed her true self and fall in your trap. The politics and LBGTQ was out of place, trying to insert this agenda into every story is inappropriate and tiring. Rewriting her songs is appropriate for a different podcast. I still gave you 5 stars because you did ultimately create a fabulous podcast.
  • Ciara Mt
    First podcast listened all the way through…
    I found myself in a situation where I would be alone for a total of 16 hours of driving and decided to attempt the podcast scene since it’s been really big in my community. This is the first I’ve had the patience to sit through from beginning to end. WOW! What an incredible piece. Due to my occupation, I have a tendency to look through the BS documentaries that can slant any story to look a certain way....Things I expected: 1. that very same BS sway 2. A light story that didn’t go deep 3. Stories face perpetuated the big boob/blonde stereotype..... here is what I got and wasn’t expecting: 1. DEEP, meaningful conversations, 2. A better, more broad understanding of someone I had hardly knew, 3, this connection to Dolly Parton that I didn’t realize I had. The way she is a bridge builder and a binder between communities is how I have always seen myself. Bigger Dolly fan now and definitely surprised.
  • Grizzley Bunkins
    Why I listen
    Thoughtful. Simply stated. Loving and respectful. Had delivers Dollys simple message of love simply...and with love. We all need more of this in our lives.
  • joescabin
    Great Info Love Dolly. Fire the Music Editor
    The transition music is awful. Why would you mutilate the music like that?
  • PerlaPaola
    Great job!!
    The first episodes where fantastic, the correlation between dolly and political/ cultural aspects of the time were nicely done . I think the last few episodes are failing in connecting the bridge between dolly and the immigrants & LGBT communities the podcast is good. It just seems it need more preparation time .
  • Tribarcla
    So inspiring!
    I was not a Dolly fan before, but I certainly am now. What an incredible, inspiring human being. This series made me laugh and cry, ponder, moved me in so many ways. I wish it could go on and on, wish we could hear more of Dolly herself telling her great stories. Thank-you for this amazing series!
  • happyjmeditates
    Only 9 Episodes?!!
    I LOVED this series and wish there were more episodes. The creators took a brilliant subject and then let themselves be carried by the winds of all things Dolly. I especially loved when the playbook was dropped and they went zooming off in a sideways elevator to explore the bigger picture and deeper meanings of influence, history and music. I love the worldwide aspects of this series. I loved the honesty and vulnerability of the storytelling. It’s a must listen because it crosses so many boundaries and touches universal themes. Really looking forward to seeing what’s next so I’ll be making a donation and invite everyone else to do the same. After all information and content are not free. You want to see the arts and creative storytelling to stay alive in America? Crowd source it!
  • Toxic positivity
    Best podcast ever
    Just great.
  • KayDaiz
    Love it!
    You are an amazing storyteller and I really enjoyed all these episodes and especially your “rabbit holes”. I grew up liking Dolly and I must have seen 9 to 5 about a billion times, after listening to this, I LOVE Dolly. She really is an unique person with a big heart and has put out such inspirational music. Thank you.
  • Agriesem
    I miss home too
    Just finished Neon Moss and I teared up in my kitchen. I haven’t left the US but I did make a difficult choice to move across the country away from my childhood home, likely forever. This episode really spoke to me. I have never purposefully listened to Dolly’s music but I am inspired to start because of how much this spoke to my heart. Thank you
  • Godspeedleather
    Dolly is a national treasure
    This podcast rekindled my love for all Americans, thank you.
  • Becca920
    I’ve learned so much about Music & Dolly
    I love anything Dolly! She’s the worlds ambassador for embracing acceptance & love. I’m a staunch Republican but who could NOT love Dolly? She’s truly an angel on earth. She’s MY country queen!
  • bethanyCT
    A fun, complex, and unifying picture of American
    I love this show!
  • nocaldesigner
    Immersed in the Dollyverse
    Very well done, entertaining and thought provoking! What a hoot!! I learned so much.
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