Lydia Hamessley.

Professor of Music Lydia Hamessley was recently interviewed for an article in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. Titled “Nu de VS verdeelder zijn dan ooit, klampen Amerikanen zich vast aan één vrouw: Dolly Parton” (“Now that the US is more divided than ever, Americans are clinging to one woman: Dolly Parton”), the article focuses on the surging popularity in recent years of Dolly Parton and her music.

Alex Burgerhoorn, author of the article, wrote, “At the start of a new election year, the torn-up America discovered the ‘great connector’ in the 74-year-old Dolly Parton. What does the country singer have to offer the divided nation?”

Hamessley, whose book about Parton’s songs is expected in the fall, described what it is about the singer and her music that reaches people. “Dolly writes what she knows. No idealization of poverty. No moralizing. That is what makes it so powerful,” she said. Hamessley also gave an example of how Parton takes her responsibility as a role model seriously, choosing to not talk publicly about others.

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