When Dolly Parton was a little girl growing up in Sevierville, Tenn., she put a tobacco stick in a crack in the floor on the porch and topped it with a tin can. She pretended it was a microphone and she was singing on The Grand Ole Opry. Her audience was her siblings who were too young to crawl away and the family’s farm animals.
“I have been in music for a long time, but it has been in me a lot longer,” Parton said. “It was my dream. It’s long, long way from the hills of East Tennessee to Hollywood Hills. It has been a wonderful journey.”
Parton was honored by MusiCares Friday night as its 2019 Person of the Year. Hundreds of people clamored downtown for a fundraising dinner and all-star concert in Parton’s honor at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Hosted by Little Big Town, the evening included performances from Pink (“Jolene”), Miley Cyrus, Shawn Mendes and Mark Ronson (“Islands in the Stream”), Chris Stapleton (“9 to 5”), Don Henley and Vince Gill (“Eagle When She Flies”), Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood (“Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You”), Cam, Jennifer Nettles and Margo Price (“Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”), Yolanda Adams (“I Will Always Love You”) and Brandi Carlile and Willie Nelson (“Everything’s Beautiful in Its Own Way”).
Parton is the first country singer to be named a MusiCares Person of the Year.
“She’s one of the greatest songwriters of our time,” Brooks said before the show. “She just transcends everything. Forget the fact that it’s male or female, she’s above that. She’s Dolly and to think that she’s the first one that MusiCares has recognized from Nashville. She’s paving the way for all women and men. If that’s it, I want to be the woman she is.”