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Dolly Parton’s America: I Will Always Leave You


23 October 2019

Porter Wagoner led the most successful country music television show of its time, and in 1967 he needed a new “girl singer”. He turned to a 21 year old songwriter called Dolly Parton who had just recorded her first hit “Dumb Blond”. So began a nearly decade long partnership that, behind the scenes, was as contentious as it was commercially successful. This episode tells the story of the “Porter years”, the period in which Dolly arguably discovers her power – both as a songwriter and a performer- and then makes the difficult (and for its time radical) decision to strike out on her own. Through interviews with Dolly, country music star Marty Stuart, Wagonmaster Buck Trent, and Porter’s daughter Deborah Wagoner, we examine how Dolly handled what is sometimes called the great “hillbilly” divorce with characteristic grace.

About the series

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 nine episode journey into the Dollyverse. Hosted by Jad Adumrad. Produced and reported by Shima Oliaee. Dolly Patton’s America is a production from OSM Audio and WNYC Studios.

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