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Virtual Speaker Series – Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton

April 6, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Join the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Tuesday, April 6, 7:00pm for a conversation with author Lydia R. Hamessley about her book Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton’s success as a performer and pop culture phenomenon has overshadowed her achievements as a songwriter. But she sees herself as a songwriter first, and with good reason. Parton’s compositions like “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” have become American standards with an impact far beyond country music. Hamessley will share insights into the impact of Parton’s background on her songs; the ways that those songs have explored women’s lives, poverty, love and heartbreak; and the genius and creativity of Parton’s songwriting.

Lydia Hamessley is Professor of Music at Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) where she teaches courses in country music, medieval and Renaissance music, music in film, and world music. She received her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota in 1991. She writes on old-time and bluegrass music, with an emphasis on women and Southern Appalachia. She has also written about the banjo in nineteenth-century America; Appalachian murder ballads; and Peggy Seeger. She appeared in the BBC2 documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am, which is currently available on Netflix. She is also a clawhammer banjo player.

“Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton” is free and open to the public, but please register to attend.


Birthplace of Country Music Museum
520 Birthplace of Country Music Way
Bristol, VA 24201 United States
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