Dolly Parton has a once-in-a-lifetime voice that can bring people to tears.
Just ask Stephen Colbert.
The “Jolene” singer was the special guest on Tuesday’s episode of The Late Show, where she discussed her new book, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, and the songs that her mother used to sing to her. “Mama used to sing all those songs brought over from the old world. Mama was a good singer, too, and she would just sing a capella all the time,” Parton said. “So many of those songs were sad, and as I say, some of them just ‘plum pitiful.’ But there was a song she used to sing called ‘Bury Me Beneath the Willow.’ It was about a girl that was going to get married, and her boyfriend left her at the altar or whatever, so she died, of course, she killed herself, I suppose.” Cue the waterworks.
Parton must be used to people having an emotional breakdown during her songs, because she asked Colbert, “Are you crying?” but continued singing. “I’d better hush before you cry yourself to death and can’t finish your show,” she joked afterwards. “Like a lot of Americans, I’m under a lot of stress right now, Dolly,” Colbert said through tears of joy and sadness. “You got under my tripwire right there, I’ll tell you right there, that was pretty beautiful… Isn’t it funny that sometimes there’s nothing happier than crying?”
You can watch the clip above, and Dolly’s Christmas on the Square on November 22.