Video: Dolly Parton Speaks About Her New Book ‘Songteller: My Life in Lyrics’

by Jennifer Shea

Dolly Parton has a new book out.

The book, “Songteller: My Life in Lyrics,” features old pictures, stories behind the songs, accounts of Parton’s frame of mind at the time she wrote them and more. 

The country music singer has written over 3,000 songs and won ten Grammy Awards. She also recently released a new Christmas album, “A Holly Dolly Christmas,” that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. 

Dolly Parton, ‘Songteller’

Parton appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday to talk about her new book and sing Colbert a song. 

“When we were trying to name the book, I was going to be talking about songs that I had written, and I really think of myself as a songteller, ’cause I write songs, but I tell stories in my songs,” she said, by way of explaining the book’s title. “So that just popped into my mind, songteller – I thought, well, that’s a good name for my coffee table book that has about 170 some odd songs of mine.”

Parton said she enjoys songwriting most, because it gives her the opportunity to write and commune with God.

“I love to sing, and I certainly love to sing the songs I do write, and I love to perform, I love my fans,” she said. “But there’s just something about writing songs that’s just kind of like my personal time with God. You know, I don’t need anything other than just me and whatever instrument I’m using at the time. It’s my quiet time; I just go into that little zone.”

Parton added that she enjoys writing for other people, as well. She said she sees things happen to people and wants to help them express themselves, so she writes their experiences up in song.

A Moving Performance

Then she went on to perform an a capella version of “Bury Me Beneath the Willow,” which she said her mother used to sing. 

As Parton sang, Colbert broke out laughing, then started wiping his eyes.

“I better hush before you cry yourself to death, and we can’t finish the show,” Parton quipped. “We used to cry when mama would sing, though.” 

“Like a lot of Americans, I’m under a lot of stress right now,” Colbert explained. “You got under my tripwire right there.”