There are few things that can unite us these days: the power of pizza, a nice nap, and, of course, Dolly Parton. On Sunday’s Grammys broadcast, Parton was joined on the stage by a laundry list of performers from goddaughter Miley Cyrus to Katy Perry to perform some of her biggest hits. The result was proof: Dolly is still country’s greatest of all time.
The medley kicked off with Kacey Musgraves and Perry’s rendition of “Here You Come Again,” with Parton joining halfway through. She followed that with a performance of “Jolene” alongside Cyrus. The medley was rounded with powerful performances of past hits, including a cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” from Trio II with Maren Morris and Cyrus and then “Red Shoes,” for which Parton was joined by Little Big Town. Though the other artists added a special touch, the moment belonged to Dolly: the big-haired southern songstress whose legacy has cleared the way for so many of the women she shared the stage with tonight.
The whole medley was a moment to recognize the deep impact Parton has had on country music and beyond. It’s also an opportunity to callback that amazing version of “Jolene” that Cyrus quietly recorded in her Backyard Sessions.
Though it’s been a banner year for Parton, her appearance tonight comes after being named MusiCares Person of the Year. She accepted the honor last night, where she gave an eight-minute speech, discussing her career and being a woman in an industry driven by so many men, saying, “I’ve never met a man whose ass I couldn’t kick if he didn’t treat me with the right respect.” Watch the rest of the speech here:
Respect, Dolly. Keep giving us music to listen to; we’ll keep showing up to hear it.