Dolly Parton Recalls Her Musical Heritage Growing Up in the Smokies

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM)

To this day, Dolly Parton remains the queen of country music. Now, with her vast fanbase, Dolly Parton recently spoke out about her musical heritage. She also detailed a little bit about her childhood growing up in the Smokies.

Dolly Parton’s musical career began early, releasing her first song when she was barely a teenager. But in speaking with National Geographic, she revealed one of her earliest memories is of her mother singing old mountain ballads.

“We always had our own mountain music in the Smokies,” Dolly Parton shared. In fact, she said, “We still have that. And I think we’ll always have that.”

According to the outlet, the musical heritage of the South is one of the things the country icon works to preserve at her Pigeon Forge theme park Dollywood. There, gospel, bluegrass, and country music musicians come together, performing in all areas of the park.

While the sound of the Great Smokies has transitioned and diversified over the years, Dolly Parton explained, “There’s different music [now], but it’s still part of the Smokies.” Despite its rustic roots, National Geographic shared the songs of the Great Smokies are not bound by tradition.

Parton said, if anything, the music of the range now classifies as mountain melodies simply because “it’s done here in the Smokies.”

She said of her mountain roots, “You just feel like you’re on sacred ground.”

Dolly Parton Urges Us to Be ‘Mindful’ of Mother Nature

Dolly Parton clearly shares a passion for the sound of the Great Smokies. But while speaking with National Geographic, she detailed humans’ poor treatment of Earth and her love for the Great Smokies overall.

Dolly Parton has become an internationally renowned icon. But, we find her hometown nestled near the Great Smoky Mountains, in Sevierville, Tennessee. She expressed that Sevierville’s mountains feel like “one of those special places that God put here for us to enjoy.”

Further, of her beloved mountain range, she says “the Smokies will never lose their charm and their magic.”

However, that might not be the case if humans continue to dismiss the devolving state of our planet. With that in mind, Dolly Parton urges people to be mindful of our treatment of nature.

She said, “My hope for the environment, for all things living and all things good, just nature in general, [is] that we should pay more attention to how we’re treating our mountains, how we’re treating our world, how we’re treating just everything.”

Dolly Parton compared the current treatment of the planet to “being ugly to your mama.” She added it’s entirely “disrespectful.”

She concluded her time with National Geographic hopeful: “pay more attention – give more love and care to the planet.”