Dolly Parton on her official Tennessee State Song
In my Tennessee mountain home, life is as peaceful as a baby’s sigh / In my Tennessee mountain home, the crickets sing in the nearby fields.
In an interview with National Geographic Travel, Dolly Parton sang some of the lyrics to one of Tennessee’s official state songs.
In February, Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey introduced Senate Bill 2148 making Parton’s “My Tennessee Mountain Home” an official state song. A tribute to the corner of East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains where she grew up, the song was originally released on December 4, 1972, reached No. 15 on the US Country Singles Chart and was later re-released on her 1994 live album Songs from the heart.
“My Tennessee Mountain Home”, is currently one of 11 official state songs, including “Rocky Top”, “Tennessee Waltz”, “My Homeland, Tennessee”, “When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee”, “A Tennessee Bicentennial Rap: 1796 -1996,” “Smoky Mountain Rain” and the most recent inductee “I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee” by country/bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent.
“It’s just about the kids out in the yard catching June bugs, you know, on a string, and all the stuff you do here in the Smokies,” Parton said of his song. . “And just like my other songs, ‘these are my mountains, my people, my valleys, my streams.’… These are my mountains. It’s my house.”
Ahead of Earth Day on April 22, Parton also spoke about the Smoky Mountains and how they compare to country music. Speaking of making music in the Smokies, Parton said mountain music has always blended with everything around it.
“We’ve always had our own mountain music in the Smokies, and we still do,” she said. “And I think we will always have that. It’s like country music. There’s a certain type of country music—old country music. There will always be someone who will.
Parton added, “But look, now, what country music has done. It’s a new sound, but it’s still country music. And it’s like everything here. There’s different music, but it’s still part of the Smokies, if nothing else because it’s done here in the Smokies. There’s always a certain feeling about doing it in the Smokies that you just feel like you’re on hallowed ground. So you respect the land and you respect what you do.
Photo: Gillian Laub