Strumming to the Tune of Dolly: Country Songs Celebrating the Queen of Nashville


Dive into the heart of country music with our feature article that spotlights the songs and artists who have paid tribute to the legendary Dolly Parton.

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From Kirstie Kraus’s upcoming release “Dab a Dolly” to classics that have shaped the genre, discover the tracks that honor the Queen of Nashville’s enduring influence on country music. Join us as we explore the melodies and lyrics that echo Dolly’s spirit, and celebrate the icon whose name is synonymous with country music itself.

1 .“Dab a Dolly” by Kirstie Kraus and Christie Huff

“Dab a Dolly” by Kirstie Kraus and Christie Huff is a fresh addition to the list of songs that mention Dolly Parton. The anticipation for this song is high, and it’s expected to be a vibrant celebration of Dolly’s spirit and legacy in country music. Kirstie says she and Christie Huff were inspired by the ‘Dollop of Daisy’ sour cream ads, well known across the USA.

Still love the queen of country, 
Yeah she get's me in every song,
A little Dab a Dolly is good for everyone

2. “What Would Dolly Do?” by Kristin Chenoweth (2011) 

An empowering anthem that asks the listener to channel their inner Dolly Parton in times of trouble. Kristin Chenoweth is a versatile performer, known for her work on Broadway as well as her country and pop albums. #whatwoulddollydo is a trending hashtog on social media, after being covered by Lainey Wilson.

Cause I ask myself
What would Dolly Do?
W-W-Double-D, W-W-Double-D, W-W-Double-D

3. “Southern Voice” by Tim McGraw (2009)

In this song, Tim McGraw mentions Dolly Parton as a symbol of Southern pride and heritage. Tim McGraw is a country superstar with a string of hits and several awards to his name.

Aretha Franklin sold it, Dolly Parton graced it
Rosa Parks rode it, Scarlett O. chased it

4. “Mama, Dolly & Jesus” by Madeline Edwards (2022) 

This song pays homage to the influential figures in the singer’s life, with Dolly Parton representing a source of inspiration and strength. Madeline Edwards is known for her soulful voice and heartfelt songwriting, often blending country with other genres.

I ain't inclined to please ya
Unless you're mama, Dolly or Jesus

5. “Truth Is” by Maybe April (2019)

A heartfelt song that delves into the complexities of emotions and the struggle of moving on from a past relationship. Maybe April is an Americana trio known for their harmonies and storytelling, capturing the essence of life’s raw emotions through their music.

6. Loretta Lynn’s Lincoln by Josh Turner (2006)

Dolly said, 'slide over, J Otis, let me take you downtown
Miss Loretta's waitin' for us at the Orchid Lounge.'

The song is a playful narrative about driving around in a car that once belonged to Loretta Lynn, filled with humorous anecdotes and references to country music culture. Grammy nominated Josh Turner is known for his deep, distinctive voice and traditional country style.

7. “Dear Dolly” by Ashley Anne (2024)

The lyrics reflect a deep admiration for Dolly and seek her guidance to navigate life’s challenges.

Dear Dolly Parton, I don't know what to do
I'm stuck here crying, and I feel like a fool

Ashley Anne’s song resonates with those who find solace and inspiration in Dolly Parton’s music and life story.

8. Blonde by Tigirlily Gold (2023)

“Blonde” by Tigirlily Gold is an upbeat song that celebrates the fun and carefree spirit associated with being blonde, with a nod to Dolly Parton’s iconic style. The lyrics playfully suggest that while you can’t buy happiness, you can buy hair like Dolly’s, which represents a state of mind akin to Parton’s cheerful and bold persona.

9. California Girls – Gretchen Wilson (2005)

A country pop song that takes a playful jab at the stereotypical image of women from California. The track humorously contrasts the glitz and glamour of Hollywood with the down-to-earth qualities of women from other parts of the country. Dolly’s most famous “assets” are the reason for namecheck, in a very positive sense.

Also Mentions

“Diane” by Cam (2020) is a powerful country pop song that offers a fresh perspective on the story told in Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene”. The song takes the viewpoint of the other woman, who doesn’t realize the man she’s dating is married. The lyrics go “I promise I didn’t know he was your man / I would’ve noticed a gold wedding band, Diane”.

You Can Have Him Jolene” by Chapel Hart (2022) is another response to “Jolene”. It got them a Golden Buzzer when competing in America’s Got Talent in 2022 as well as a tweet from Parton herself.

These songs are just a few examples of how Dolly Parton’s influence resonates within the country music scene. Her name evokes a sense of warmth, authenticity, and a pioneering spirit that continues to inspire artists and fans alike. As we await the release of “Dab a Dolly,” we’re reminded of the enduring impact Dolly Parton has on the music world and beyond.

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For a full 25 song playlist, have a listen to this playlist from James Daykin:

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