To promote her new book Songteller: My Life in Lyrics on CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Dolly Parton went back well before the thousands of songs she's written for an example of a tune that shaped her childhood.
After being asked by Colbert about the old songs her mother, Avie Lee Owens, would sing to her children at home, Parton performed "Bury Me Beneath the Willow."
The song, known in country music circles because it was recorded by The Carter Family, indeed tells a story. It's a messed-up one about a woman who kills herself after being left by her fiancee.
Once Parton starts singing, Colbert tells someone off-camera that the a cappella performance is giving him goosebumps. A mix of tears and laughter followed from the comedian and late-night host.
"I better hush before you cry yourself to death and you can't finish the show," Parton said as Colbert cried some of his pandemic-induced worries away.
"Like a lot of Americans, I'm under a lot of stress right now, Dolly!," Colbert said. "You got under my trip wire right there, that was pretty beautiful."
In the same Tuesday night (Oct. 20) interview, Parton shared what it felt like to hear Whitney Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You," named "Down From Dover" and "Coat of Many Colors" as two personal favorites from her massive back catalog and sung a few lines of a song in progress titled "I Love You, Whether You Like It Or Not."
Expect more holiday cheer from Parton before Black Friday. Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square debuts next month on Netflix.