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Dolly Parton’s America: #1 – Sad Ass Songs


16 October 2019

We begin with a simple question: how did the queen of the book joke become a feminist icon? Helen Morales, author of “Pilgimage to Dollywood” , gave us a firm directive – look at the lyrics! So we dive into Dolly’s discography starting with the early period of what Dolly calls ‘sad ass songs’ to find remarkably prescient words of female pain, slut shaming, domestic violence and women being locked away in asylums by cheating husbands. We explore how Dolly took the centuries old tradition of the Appalachian “murder ballad” – an oral tradition of men singing songs about brutally killing women – and flipped the script singing from the woman’s point of view.

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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