Dolly Parton knows you’re having a tough year, and she wants to help.
The legendary country singer announced this week that she’s releasing her first Christmas album in 30 years. “A Holly Dolly Christmas” will be released on October 2, and will feature several original songs alongside holiday classics.
“I figured since everybody probably wouldn’t get to celebrate Christmas as usual this year, I wanted to be creative instead of sitting around at the house this summer,” Parton, 74, said in a statement. “So I put on my mask, gloves and practiced social distancing, as well as all of the wonderful musicians and singers, and we proceeded to put together what I think is some of the best work that I’ve ever done.”
She wrote five songs by herself for the new album, and co-wrote another. The first single “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas” is a duet with Canadian singer Michael Bublé. Some of the other famous voices you’ll hear on the record include Willie Nelson, Jimmy Fallon and Parton’s goddaughter, Miley Cyrus.
The last time Parton released a Christmas album was “Home for Christmas” in 1990. That album was all classic Christmas songs, no originals.
Parton’s rendition of the terrifically mournful but still upbeat song “Hard Candy Christmas” is famous, but that song isn’t actually one of her own — it was written earlier, for the musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Parton sang it when she starred in the 1982 movie adaptation.
Parton is doing her part to try to help 2020 be less terrible. In April, she donated USD $1 million to efforts to research a COVID-19 vaccine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, in part inspired by one of the hospital’s surgeons, her “longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad.” The music legend’s somewhat unlikely friendship with the Lebanese-born surgeon was explored in “Dolly Parton’s America,” last year’s fascinating podcast about her cultural legacy hosted by the doctor’s son, radio host Jad Abumrad.
And in another act of pandemic kindness, for ten weeks, Parton helped virtually put kids to bed by reading children’s books on her social media channels. The project was part of her Imagination Library initiative, which donates books to young kids in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, and Australia.
And just in case you were worried about her politics, given that she rarely expressed political opinions and refused to denounce Trump? She expressed support for Black Lives Matter in an interview with Billboard.
“Of course Black lives matter,” she told the outlet. “Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”