Dolly Parton Dishes To Gabby Barrett On Music, Memories, And The ‘Business’ Of Marriage

Dolly Parton via Instagram
Country Music, Country Music News, News

It’s fair to say that Dolly Parton absolutely made American Idol star and rising “I Hope” singer, Gabby Barrett giddy with joy. And, the two ladies of country music were not even face-to-face.  As Yahoo reports of the screen to screen sit-down, no question Gabby offered was off-limits with Dolly. From her early songwriting and childhood roots to standing her ground in business negotiations, Dolly Parton knows where her roots are and what matters most in life.  The most successful woman in country music shared some meaningful wisdom on marriage with still-newlywed Gabby Barrett, too.

There’s no shame in staying ‘country people’ for Dolly Parton

“We’ve always been country people,” declares Dolly Parton.  “I came from a big family, with six boys and six girls,” the singer-songwriter relates.  She recalls singing her own compositions long before she could write, and her mother would scramble to capture the words on paper.  By the time Dolly was 7, she was playing guitar. No one could dispute that her talent was not her own, and certainly a gift from God.

Dolly didn’t argue with the 3,000 songs that Gabby said were publicly attributed to her.  In actual fact, Parton thinks there may be far more than that number.  Some are hidden away in boxes, under beds, and in all kinds of drawers.  The unparalleled songstress didn’t even realize until recently that her iconic ballads “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” were not just from the same album— the classics were likely written on the same day. The discovery came when the songs were found on the same cassette during a recent computer conversion of Dolly Parton gems.

“We were always part of the woods in the weeds, you know,” Parton described of her growing years, “so close to nature and very spiritual.”  Her grandfather was a preacher and her mother guided her spiritual education. Dolly Parton’s business savvy came from her father.

“My family, they’re gone now, but any time I play, it draws me back to them and every memory,” Parton insists. The timeless themes of Dolly Parton songs draw any listener back to the Tennessee hills and to memories of home and family, no matter where they are.

Elvis and Col. Tom Parker were no match for Dolly Parton

Dolly was as gracious as usual in accepting Gabby Barrett’s thanks for being an “inspiration” as an artist.  “I’m glad for that,” replied Dolly. “I always pray that God will let me be a help to someone.”

Gabby explained how she is continuing to learn about the business of music. And, she is even more appreciative and in awe of Dolly Parton as a businesswoman who “stands your ground,” even up against, “the King,” Elvis Presley.

Dolly was beyond delighted by the prospect of Elvis Presley recording “I Will Always Love You,” and even more by the possibility of meeting Presley himself.  She told all her friends about the honor.  When Col. Tom Parker called to talk business, however, he told Dolly that his client only recorded songs that he to which he owned publishing rights, or at least half rights.

The song had already been a huge Dolly Parton hit, and the petite songwriter didn’t budge an inch up against the man who micromanaged every detail for Elvis.  After Parker explained that this was part of the Presley legacy, Dolly answered that “this is what I’ll leave my family, too,” declining to surrender the song she wrote.

A decision of destiny for Dolly

The decision was more pivotal than Dolly Parton could imagine at the time.  Whitney Houston took “I Will Always Love You” to unforeseen heights as the love theme for The Bodyguard in 1992.  Dolly Parton does nothing but praise Houston’s mammoth delivery and is also happy to say “I’ll keep the cash,” thanks to her staunch business savvy.

Dolly gave kudos to Gabby Barrett for “one of the best versions” of the song, as well.  “I know you’re trying for a long career, and I think you’re gonna have it,” encouraged the legend.  It’s no wonder that Gabby ended the interview by saying “You’ve made my life!” The only thing that could top this girls’ chat would be meeting Dolly Parton in person.

Some newlywed advice from Dolly Parton

Gabby Barrett is still under the blissful glow of being a newlywed to her “American Idol” rocker hubby, Cade Foehner.  Judging from the smiles, things are going fine for the couple.  Still, Gabby sought some wisdom from Dolly Parton on how to keep a union alive for a lifetime.  Dolly and Dean tied the knot over 54 years ago.

Dolly stresses that being different is not a bad thing.  “We have very different interests. He doesn’t get into my business and I don’t get into his.”  Surprisingly, the woman known for writing songs that aim straight for the heart suggests thinking of marriage “like a business.” Both partners have needs, viewpoints, and a right to personal space.  She contends that she and Carl “never fight,” and when things get stressful, simply “going to another room” can allow things to defuse.

Differences and distance can be good things

“He’s a homebody and kind of a loner,” Dolly describes her husband.  She remains “a gypsy,” and doesn’t deny that being gone for her work doesn’t hurt their relationship.  The different interests between them “give us new things to talk about.” They value time together at home, Dolly’s country cooking, and even basic snacks, like Vienna sausage. It’s also true that the couple keeps the groundwork of friendship, “and we’re both funny.”

“There’s such a thing as a sensible separation,” says Dolly Parton. Talking it out comes easier then, “and that’s where the love comes in.”

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