Lydia Hamessley, the Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Music, was a guest on the 1A Record Club series, produced by WAMU and distributed by NPR. The show followed the November release of Parton’s Rockstar album that features covers of classic rock songs and collaborations with such well-known stars as Elton John, Pat Benatar, Lizzo, and Paul McCartney.
In “The 1A Record Club Listens to Dolly Parton’s Rockstar,” Hamessley and other expert guests discussed the legendary performer’s background, her music, and her enduring appeal.
Hamessley said that Parton was a “rock star from her very first recording,” made at the age of 13 when she recorded “Puppy Love,” a song she had written with her uncle when she was 11. “It’s a real upbeat quick little rockabilly number,” Hamessley said.
Regarding Dolly Parton, the person, Hamessley said she thinks the core of Parton’s identity is, “as she says, I just love people. And respect everyone. And then write music that is something that uplifts them.” This, Hamessley said, is “why people are drawn to her,” noting “that she can be a kind of model for how people might be in the world.”