Kermit the Frog wasn't the only global celebrity to make a surprise appearance at this past weekend's Newport Folk Festival. The mysterious Saturday (June 27) set billed as "The Collaboration" ended up being a Brandi Carlile-curated celebration of women in country, folk and roots music. The all-star jam session featuring the likes of Judy Collins, Amy Ray, Sheryl Crow, Jade Bird, Lucy Dacus and Maggie Rogers was made legendary by none other than Dolly Parton.
While joined by Highwomen bandmates Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby, Carlile introduced a guest whose voice, personality and charitable heart are all bigger than any genre label or historic festival.
During her time on stage, Parton sang classic crowd-pleaser "I Will Always Love You" with Carlile. Fittingly, Parton wore a sparkly, wagon wheel-adorned outfit like the Nudie suits made famous by the song's inspiration, Porter Wagoner.
She also sang "Jolene," "Just Because I'm a Woman" and "Eagle When She Flies" with The Highwomen. Parton capped it all off by performing "9 to 5" with a massive choir of her musical daughters.
"This is kind of all about the girls, and I love being one of the girls," said Parton during her stage banter. "Of course, I love my men too. Don't get me wrong. I've always had one of my own. I've had the same one for 53 years, as a matter of fact. But I love to be up here with all this girl power. I love to see us do good."
Carlisle, a fan of the Newport Folk Festival dating back to The Indigo Girls' heyday, applauded organizers for hosting an inclusive event. "Today on its 60th anniversary, the Newport Folk Festival is going to have its first all-female headlining show," she said from stage. "Thank you for being on the right side of history again."