Music

'My Tennessee Mountain Home': Dolly Parton's Tribute to Her Smoky Mountain Childhood

Photo of Dolly Parton, performing live onstage at the UK Country Music Festival (Photo by Andrew Putler/Redferns)

Dolly Parton is the queen of country music. She has written smash hits like "I Will Always Love You," "Jolene," "Coat of Many Colors," and, yet another autobiographical masterpiece: "My Tennessee Mountain Home."

Parton grew up in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, as one of 12 children. When writing her 1973 concept album My Tennessee Mountain Home, she drew on her experiences of growing up poor in rural Appalachia. "My Tennessee Mountain Home" serves as the centerpiece of the record and highlights memories of Parton's, such as holding hands on a porch swing, watching fireflies, and walking home from church with those you love. In fact, the cover of My Tennessee Mountain Home album is the house that Parton and her family lived in throughout her childhood.

The album is home to other great tracks that tell the story of Parton's life. She wrote "Dr. Robert F. Thomas" in honor of the mountain doctor who delivered her in her her Tennessee cabin. (He received a sack of cornmeal as payment.) "Down on Music Row," tells the story of her first days in Nashville as she tried to get a record deal. In the song, she offers thanks to legendary guitarist Chet Atkins and producer Bob Ferguson who helped her.

Read More: Rooted in Country: Ginger Minj on Dolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors'

The album also features "In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)" from the 1969 album of the same name.

Parton released "My Tennessee Mountain Home" as a single in 1972, and it reached No. 15 on the US Hot Country Singles chart. The song now serves as a theme song for her theme park Dollywood. You'll hear Dolly sing the song as you walk up the steps to visit the replica of her real life Tennesee Mountain Home inside Dollywood.

If you're interested in the autobiographical record of Parton's, here's the tracklist:

"The Letter"

"I Remember"

"Old Black Kettle"

"Daddy's Working Boots"

?"Dr. Robert F. Thomas"

?"In The Good Old Days (When Times were Bad)"

"My Tennessee Mountain Home"

?"Wrong Direction Home"

"Back Home"

'The Better Part of Life"

"Down on Music Row"

"Sacred Memories"

 

'Tennessee Mountain Home' Lyrics:

Sittin' on the front porch on a summer afternoon
In a straightback chair on two legs, leans against the wall
Watch the kids a' playin' with June bugs on a string
And chase the glowin' fireflies when evenin' shadows fall
In my Tennessee mountain home
Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
Crickets sing in the fields near by
Honeysuckle vine clings to the fence along the lane
Their fragrance makes the summer wind so sweet
And on a distant hilltop, an eagle spreads it's wings
An' a songbird on a fence post sings a melody
In my Tennessee mountain home
Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
Crickets sing in the fields near by
Walkin' home from church on a Sunday with the one ya' love
Just laughin', talkin', making future plans
And when the folks ain't lookin', you might steal a kiss or two
Sittin' in the porch swing, holdin' hands
In my Tennessee mountain home
Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
Crickets sing in the fields near by

 

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'My Tennessee Mountain Home': Dolly Parton's Tribute to Her Smoky Mountain Childhood