Leslie Jordan Reveals He Ditched Tanya Tucker for a Chance to Meet Dolly Parton

by Chris Piner

Being in the public spotlight, many celebrities know what it’s like to have fans freak out over meeting them. But for comedian and actor Leslie Jordan, he is one of those fans when it comes to country music legend, Dolly Parton. Appearing on the gospel album Company’s Comin, Jordan discussed what it was like teaming up with numerous artists including, Tanya Tucker, Chris and Morgane Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Parton, and several others. Among all the singers featured on the album, Dolly Parton was the prized star for Jordan. 

While speaking on the Dave Cobb Southern Accents Radio on Apple Music Country, Leslie Jordan joked about how he spent years begging Parton’s employee Steve Summers to make the meeting happen. Although Jordan brought up the country singer numerous times, Summers answered “when the time is right, it’ll happen.”

It did eventually happen, but the time came when Jordan was recording with Tucker. After getting the call, the actor admitted, “Well, I just left Tanya sitting. I did. ’Bye Tanya, I’m off to see Dolly.’”

Leslie Jordan Didn’t Let COVID-19 Stop Him From Meeting Dolly Parton

Meeting with Dolly Parton at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leslie Jordan didn’t have a chance to hug the icon or remove his mask. But either way, he was thrilled to be meeting her. “We sat down and glommed onto one another and didn’t shut up for about an hour. And people say to me, ’Well, what’s she like?’ Well, you know exactly what she’s like. You know exactly. Dolly is Dolly. And I now get up in the morning, and I say to myself, if I have a problem, ’Well, what would Dolly do?’”

Trying not to focus on Parton too much, Jordan shared his experience with the Stapletons. “They’re such a wonderful couple and so giving to each other. He said, ’I really think that Morgane should do this verse right here. And then he said, ’I’ll come in.’ Well, we got a horn section out of New Orleans that came … to come in right before he came in. And every time I hear it, I almost wet my pants.”

The Friendship Between Comedian And Rocker

One singer that made Leslie Jordan nervous was Vedder. While not knowing him personally, he had to use a friend of one of his neighbors to set up a dinner meeting. But those jitters soon vanished as they bonded over music. “I just loved it. He’s a poet. So I asked him, and then we sent him a song that Danny Myrick and Travis Howard wrote for him, which turned out to be one of my favorites on the album. And then when he sent us his track of ’Above Me,’… oh, I just sobbed. I just sobbed. I count him as a friend. I count him as a good friend.”