Dolly Parton's America

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Music #1All Genres #138Music History #1

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 WNYC Studios, home to great podcasts like Snap Judgement, Death, Sex & Money, and Nancy.

 
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Recent Reviews
  • cynbenfarm
    outstanding!
    Top rate journalism, editorial, memoir, interviews.... This is a mesmerizing dive into multiple experiences, cultures, histories, perspectives. I am captivated!
  • Scarlatina79
    Amazing!
    Before listening to this podcast, I would say I was “Dolly indifferent.” After this podcast, I was a fan! It is so perfectly narrated and produced. It brings you all the feels and you leave it wanting to be a better person!
  • albert80tx
    All Hail St. Dolly
    This podcast inspires me to be a better person. I laughed. I cried. Sometimes I cried, then laughed, and laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.
  • jamjras
    cried like a baby
    cried and bawled and cried and called my mom and cried some more. light of a clear blue morning blaring on my way to work <3
  • Incognito-Who
    Meeting Dolly
    I had the pleasure of meeting Dolly during launch of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her rep rented my 727 to bring her back from California to Austin Texas and the Houston Texas. She was the kindest woman I had ever met. I actually had flying credentials made for her for Thunderbird Airlines. It was way before 9/11 and people could still walk someone to the gate who was flying out. Her ID allowed her to go thru customs with my company ID info on the hanging ID. Got one for Cathy Crosby also who was flying with the cast of the movie. Bert was very quiet for the entire trip. Dolly and Cathy were on a powder liquid diet called Cambridge. For almost 2 years I sent product for both of them, Dolly\Cathy. Somehow I lost their addresses and have not been able to stay in touch. Joe Incognito 281.728.5784 cell Richard Incognito of the Raiders is my nephew. His dad was my brother. Richie Incognito. Richie died 2 years this August. Richard has been in the NFL for 13 years. If there is a season this year he will be playing his 14 year in the NFL in Vegas, new home of the Raiders. Please let Dollie know I said hello and would love to hook up the next time she is in Hollywood or NYC.
  • Sta Mateos
    Doily at her simple best!
    I have loved Dolly and her music but never really considered her as such a sweet godly person. The interviews are great and strip the song lyrics and Dolly down to a raw simple beauty. I started listening to the Podcast during the epidemic. They really brightened the gloomy days. Thank you and Well Done!
  • Ara90026
    More Please
    Phenomenal podcast. And just made me want more. Please do a second series. And please publish as much of your interview with Dolly as possible.
  • Jones1021
    Perfection
    Absolutely a great telling of Dolly. She is a treasure & I have loved her for years. The only bad thing is that there wasn’t more because I could have listened forever.
  • Scotty Mc58
    Amazing perspective of an American Icon
    I thought I knew Dolly Parton. I knew nothing. And I learned new information about myself. Exquisite WNYC production.
  • froho123
    Just so good
    This podcast is entertaining, informative and all around fantastic. I wish there was more!
  • Dicky D 2003
    Amazing Journalism
    The team does an incredible job of reporting on the life and career of Parton. I was a fan before, but now I’m even more in love with Dolly!
  • Teak234
    Amazing!
    I can’t recommend this enough! Such a great podcast!
  • PodTara
    Great podcast
    This was such an interesting and informative series. Learned so much that I didn’t know about Dolly and delved into other interesting topics.
  • LoyalSwan
    Excellent Podcast
    I really enjoyed this podcast! Great job!
  • Boulderteacher
    A non-country fan who loves this for so many reasons
    This is one of the best podcasts and or documentaries I have ever heard! It's so rich, so filled with history: American history Appalachian history, music industry history, and creativity, compassion, forgiveness, genius, women in the United States, relationships between men and women. It just covers so many bases in such a rich tapestry of storytelling.
  • SammyRN1991
    Dolly is amazing
    I have always loved her and this just made me love her more!!
  • rainbowredneck01
    AMAZING!!!!
    I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED Dolly Parton! I have ALWAYS wanted to meet that lady! I would absolutely do anything to meet and/or sing with her!! She is absolutely amazing! I love listing and hearing about her and this podcast is actually my first podcast that I have EVER listened to and the one that has got me into listening to the podcast period!!
  • 😔🥥😕💪😛💃🥰😌🥪😂🐘🤗
    Love
    I love this❤️❤️🥰
  • LJ Ruby
    Amazing!
    Being a life long Dolly fan this podcast just made her even more beautiful in my heart! The producers did any amazing job, it felt like I was there with them asking questions.
  • Lala67643378856
    Incredibly Well Produced!
    This podcast was masterfully edited and that truest makes this a work of art on its own. But the story and storytelling is also phenomenal!
  • GB2400
    Unexpected Gem
    Was recommended by a friend and I was a bit skeptical as I’ve never thought much about Dolly as more than a sassy big breasted country singer. After hearing this I could not be more wrong. Dolly is ahead of her time and developed such great insight and independence coming from such a humble beginning. The world is better because of her and would be better if we all incorporated some Dolly into our selves. Very well done by Jad and Shima. Enjoyed Jad’s Dad’ experience and the musical content.
  • marymosher55
    Awesome!
    I can’t begin to tell you how great this podcast was! Dolly Parton is an American Icon but she is the most humble human ever. Loved this so much.
  • Veronicajune2
    We need more Dolly in this world!
    In these troubled times in America, Dolly continues to be a breath of fresh air. She oozes humor, kindness, respect, and a desire to bring happiness with her wherever she travels. She is also a brilliant business woman. This podcast is a great peek into her mindset and how she has affected American culture. Thank you for bringing this to us, Jad and Shimoliai. My only critique is that there are not enough episodes.
  • vectorgrrl
    Great Perspective
    Love this perspective of Dolly. She happens to be a personal hero of mine and IMO a powerful woman MOGUL of mystery and magic!! Everyone has their own connection to Dolly and the freedom to express their personal experience. The only part I have disagreement with so far is episode 4 which there was a comment about folks from different cultures sharing music b/c they were “bored” - I dismiss this and think instead it was because it was their way of communicating, breaking the language barrier, and naturally connecting cultures. None the less, any story of Dolly is one worth telling, because as we all know, she is the ultimate storyteller.
  • Mymaria812
    Okay I guess
    I would fight the real Dolly Parton in the episodes but it’s a good podcast after all🙂
  • McDargh
    Amazing
    I love this podcast and learning about this particular legend. She’s a philosopher, musical genius, lyric heart master, business icon and best neighbor ever all rolled into one. Thank you!
  • Make Up Any Username
    Superb storytelling
    Fast-paced. Amazing perspective on a legend.
  • grembops
    Disappointed, poor editing and bad host (love Dolly)
    I had heard good things about this podcast, and was disappointed. The host gets in the way of the story, and the electronic edits to Dolly’s songs are unnecessary. I tried to keep listening to hear Dolly, but the edits to her stories ruin the flow. I wish the host and editors had listened a little more, Dolly is a phenomenal storyteller and doesn’t need cliched podcast editing styles to tell her story. Would give less stars but it’s hard for me to give anything with Dolly a totally bad review!!!
  • Chail Eilish
    This is a good podcast!
    Go Dolly!!!! 🤗 You have been through so much and you are doing great! This podcast is pretty good! 👍😁
  • pickledbeatle
    Listen if you like to breathe
    I freakin love this podcast. I was a bit skeptical at first because I don’t really like country music, but Dolly Parton has given me a new and awesome way to look at the world and people around me.
  • Kat041778
    Dolly Doesn’t Disappoint!
    This is a delightful and empowering trip through the mind of an enormously talented individual. So much about this podcast is both amazing and relatable. Highly recommend.
  • MJK21
    Insight into the real Dolly
    If you are a Dolly fan, this is a must listen. There are wonderful stories that show her true heart. The history of her most famous songs is fascinating.
  • TayCarlier
    Thanks for showing us the Dolly behind the Dolly
    My ties with Dolly have been loose over the years, but of course I knew who she was all my life. In college 6 years ago, I went on a spring break trip to Pigeon Forge and was mesmerized by Dolly billboards around every corner. This podcast gave me answers to the questions that I had about the woman that means so much to that community, the nation & world. Thanks for telling her story with such depth & care.
  • Tfayter
    Stop over analyzing Dolly, plz!
    This is a great series that digs deep into an icon who refuses to bend to public opinion. Instead, she welcomes everyone equally into the Dolly fold. But the academic analysis of Dolly is exactly what’s wrong with this generation. Turning “Jolene” into a homoerotic song does no justice to the reality behind it. Can we ever stop politicizing and modernizing everything within an inch of its life?!
  • MomInCarolina
    Wonderful!
    You really dug below the surface on this episode! I was so moved!
  • 2019 Fav
    2019 Favorite
    This was my favorite podcast of 2019. Really perfect and appropriate for our times.
  • girshdog
    Inspired
    This is one of the most captivating profiles of an artist that I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. Jad’s best work? I think so
  • aquafe
    Dolly Parton’s America
    Loved the information on Dolly! I found a new respect for how she deals with things. I respect the fact that she is feminine, kind AND forgiving AND smart AND ambitious! The only reason I did not give this a 5 star review is that I found the host very inexperienced and and at times made it about himself. ( Ex: Your feelings in the woods around Dolly’s cabin were not important to the podcast.) I also skipped the whole episode on other artist’s doing Dolly’s music. Lastly, begging for money to pay for the podcast was a bit much,
  • highikh
    Never knew Dolly was so cool
    Thank you for allowing me into such a cool lady’s life.
  • Bitty Grider
    Wonderful, especially for new fans
    I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast series! I’m a Dolly fan, although not the most fanatical of fans. The drawback of this series is also a strength- the producers asked a lot of questions that most Dolly fans already know. About half of the content can be found anywhere that Dolly fans might look. I would have liked for those well-known and long-recited stories and quotes to have been the base of *new* questions. However, it does make for a good starting place for new fans. The content respects her wide variety of musical talent and her song writing genius. It delves into a fascinating historical analysis of why the Jolene melody is so unique and special; a nice little plunge into the contradictions of hillbilly culture (and how Dolly has never abandoned her roots); a respectful reminder of Dolly as a product of her times (for example in the controversy of her Love of “Dixie” and accidental offense toward civil rights activists); a reminder of her unconditional support of LBGQT rights; overall, Dolly as a beacon of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. If you have ever wondered what’s the big deal about Dolly, you’ll enjoy this podcast. If you’re already a Dolly fan, you’ll find some fun new content and probably won’t mind the repetition of the oldies but goodies.
  • adambrooklyn1212
    Sounds like it’s Playing back at 1.5 X speed
    Love it otherwise
  • CecilJoseph
    Yes!❕‼️🤍
    Love Forever 🏳️‍🌈💫!❕❗️💟
  • srdejc123
    Dolly is simply amazingly brilliant!
    You captured a very personal Dolly. I’ve read about her and even saw her (front row!) in Knoxville. She is pure brilliance. This helped me understand the human being behind the legend even better than the biography I read. Bravo!! What a wonderful shooting star!
  • Puhpin
    Incredible!!
    I don’t know what I expected from this podcast, but it far exceeded my expectations. This podcast is incredible- nuanced, profound, and touching, with thoughtful storytelling. Listening to each episode was the highlight of my week. Thank you!!!
  • JCTNMBelle
    Wonderful
    I’ve never been more a Dolly fan. I loved every minute of this podcast!
  • Dicklebug
    Now a Dolly Fan
    Thank you for introducing me to such an amazing human. I’m an East Tennesseean transplanted from New England and I have never liked country music. I’m changed by your podcast! I would love more of this. Thank you, again.
  • AliciaD1
    Thank you for helping me
    Around the time the coronavirus first started arriving to my area, one of my coworkers found this podcast and told me about it. I added it to my library, but didn’t listen right away. Then I was sent home to work and honestly my anxiety and feelings were all over the place. I also live alone and not seeing anyone at all is crazy. One day I was looking for something to listen to on a day when I was struggling really bad. Minutes into the podcast I was in love with it. It wasn’t just Dolly, but it was the creator that I also loved. He has such a good way of telling the story. The whole thing completely changed my mood. Anyone can tell you about the history of Dolly, but this gets down to Dolly as a person and her music. It is a good in depth podcast. I won’t give away too much and will say this in a vague way, but when he goes to Dollywood and is talking to her head of security there is one part that had me on the edge of my seat. I went from excited, to let down, and back to feeling excited. The creator really weaves a good story and has a way of making you feel like you were there. Thank you to him and to Dolly for being there when I needed you.
  • BrandyWes
    Loved the interviews of Dolly
    The first 5.5 episodes were GREAT but then producer agenda seems to move in & it gets far from Dolly while they weirdly try to psychologically evaluate her lyrics and then it lost me.
  • Glad Doggett
    Dolly is deeper than I realized
    I never knew how interesting, talented and courageous Dolly is. She’s an inspiration. Than you for this wonderful series.
  • Mickbeck
    Dollyverse
    This was such a great in depth look at dolly. Someone I grew up being “forced” to listen to by my mom. I always like some of her songs( not a country fan) and like the movies tv shows I saw with her in it. Went to Dollywood when it first open with my mom. I knew she was a big star and thought she was very funny, especially as I got older. Saw her on Hanna Montana with my kids and told em who she was. But after listening to this podcast we found as we left pigeon forge TN. During covid pandemic, I almost feel like I know her personally. This podcast makes me want to dive into her music more, read about her. I didn’t know she gave millions of dollars in charity. Listing to her and the host and people that are influenced by her makes me just want to...I don’t know how to say it. Be a better person. Learn guitar or banjo lol. I guess it gave me a deeper appreciation of Dolly, TN. Pigeon forge, country music but most important a deeper appreciation of kind, nice people.
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