As multimedia options have grown for consumers, so has the reach of Dolly Parton. For example, Radiolab co-host and former Nashville resident Jad Abumrad recently announced his partnership with the country singer for the Dolly Parton's America podcast. The nine-part series debuts this fall and considers what Parton's rags-to-riches story reveals about the nation at large.
"She's been called the 'Great Unifier' for her rare ability to bring people together across divides," wrote Abumrad in a tweet announcing the podcast. "What does (Parton's) story tell us about America? I've been going back home to Nashville to figure it out."
In a follow-up tweet, Abumrad cited Sara Smarsh's four-part series on Parton published in 2017 by No Depression as the source for the suitable nickname "The Great Qualifier." Like her peer Willie Nelson, Parton's cultural appeal and her acceptance of others knows few cultural, political or religious boundaries.
Abumrad co-hosts the Peabody Award-winning podcast Radiolab with Robert Krulwich. The New York-based program tackles scientific and philosophical questions.
Other Parton projects arriving by years' end include the Hallmark holiday film Christmas in Dollywood and Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, an eight-part series of Netflix films based on Parton's songs. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Netflix series will adapt the songs "Jolene," "These Old Bones," "J.J. Sneed," "If I Had Wings," "Cracker Jack," "Sugar Hill," "Down from Dover" and "Two Doors Down" into stories reflecting Parton's down-home values. Stars involved that'll be instantly recognizable for country music fans include Nashville's Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Designing Women's Delta Burke.
Parton balances these various platforms with her ongoing music career. She made headlines last Saturday (July 27) during an all-woman set at Newport Folk Festival which was curated by Brandi Carlile.