Here she comes again. Dolly Parton is back with more content.
Netflix just released its original “Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute,” on April 7. It’s a film version of the gala held during the GRAMMY week celebrations honoring Parton, the MusiCares 2019 Person of the Year.
MusiCares is the official charity arm of The Recording Academy that helps musicians in need with anything from finances to mental health. Each year MusiCares honors an artist or band as their “Person of the Year.” The honoree is somebody who embodies not only the musical talents of The Recording Academy, but is also dedicated to philanthropic endeavors.
Parton is involved with several charity efforts, many encompassed by The Dollywood Foundation. Her Imagination Library promotes literacy and education, sending a free book to children once a month from birth until they start school. She’s never once hesitated to donate in times of need, as shown by her involvement and support after the 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires and her more recent million-dollar donation to aid the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Parton, who has won 10 GRAMMY Awards and been nominated for 50, became the first country artist to be named MusiCares Person of the Year since the award's start in 1991. She joined a host of others who have received the honor, like Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Gloria Estefan.
The “Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute” is just under an hour long.
It opens with Miley Cyrus, Shawn Mendes and Mark Ronson. The first two sing Parton and Kenny Roger’s classic “Islands in the Stream” while the latter plays the guitar.
Within the first minute viewers see the woman of the hour. Parton is sitting in the audience at a table with yellow flowers. After the performance, an unseen announcer reads off the concert lineup for the night, not unlike the “what’s up next” voice before the commercials on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
After that, we meet our hosts Little Big Town, and more performances begin. A slew of big-name artists lined up to pay homage to the well deserving queen of country music, performing some of her well-known hits, as well as some of her albums' hidden gems.
Brandy Carlile stepped in Parton’s place for a duet of “Everything’s Beautiful (In Its Own Way)” with Willie Nelson. Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves teamed up to cover “Here You Come Again.” Norah Jones and Puss N Boots gave a wonderful performance of “The Grass is Blue” from Parton’s GRAMMY award winning bluegrass album of the same name.
With his impeccable guitar skills and gravelly voice, Chris Stapleton put his twist on Parton’s classic “9 to 5.” Mavis Staples and Leon Bridges were accompanied by Jon Batiste on the keys for “Not Enough,” bringing in a full choir for backup, in total Parton style. Jennifer Nettles, Margo Price and Cam joined forces to sing “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind.” Louisiana native Lauren Daigle brought her strong vocals to the stage for a cover of “The Seeker.” Gospel singer Yolanda Adams finished off the musical tributes with “I Will Always Love You.”
Things slowed down as two of the “Trio,” Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, took to the stage to talk about their history with Parton. Parton, Harris and Ronstadt collaborated on two albums in 1987 and 1999, “Trio” and “Trio II.”
Harris and Ronstadt introduced a short video compilation traversing through Parton’s history and career. It was complete with childhood photos and videos of Parton's performances, allowing us to see some of her flashy fashion throughout the years.
And finally, Parton herself made her way onto the stage. She gave a lighthearted and funny speech in thanks for the honor before singing “Coat of Many Colors” with Linda Perry on the guitar.
If you’re a Dolly fan, you’ll enjoy this musical tribute. The stage band rocked every performance, and I was happy that Parton commended “Greg and the other musicians” in her speech. It was a fun and fast-paced watch of musical multitudes that put concert vibes right in your own home, rather than "Two Doors Down."