On This Day: Dolly Parton Releases ‘My Tennessee Mountain Home’ Album in 1973

by Katie Maloney

Forty-eight years ago, Dolly Parton released her album about growing up in the mountains of Tennessee.

Dolly Parton has always had an exceptional ability to write songs about being grateful for what she has while acknowledging the sometimes difficult realities of life. In her song, “Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly sings about growing up poor with her family in Tennessee. During the song, she sings, “My coat of many colors that my momma made for me. Made only from rags but I wore it so proudly. Although we had no money, I was rich as I could be. In my coat of many colors my momma made for me.”

Her 1973 album My Tennessee Mountain Home, shares the same theme. With songs like “Old Black Kettle,” “My Tennessee Home,” and “Daddy’s Work Boots,” Dolly focuses more on appreciating the simple life, than on the poverty she and her family faced. However, Dolly also acknowledges the challenges she navigated growing up with her song “In The Good Old Days (When Things Were Bad).” During the song she sings, “No amount of money could buy from me the memories that I have of then. No amount of money could pay me to go back and live through it again.”

Dolly Parton Recorded The First Letter She Ever Wrote To Her Parents After Moving To Nashville

Perhaps one of the most moving recordings on Dolly’s My Tennessee Mountain Home album isn’t even a song. Instead, it’s simply a recording of Dolly Parton reading a very special letter. During the first track on the album titled “The Letter,” Dolly reads the first letter she ever wrote to her parents after moving to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. During the recording, she reads, “I didn’t realize how much I loved you and all them noisy kids until I left. And I didn’t realize how hard it was to leave home either until I started to leave and everybody started crying including me. I cried almost all the way to Nashville. And I wanted to turn around a few times and come back. But you know how bad I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville and be a singer and songwriter. And I believe that if I try long enough and hard enough that someday I’ll make it.”

My Tennessee Mountain Home spent 10 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and peaked in the 19th spot.

Dolly Parton’s “The Letter”