Dolly Parton 'busted a gut' becoming a 'Rockstar': Behind-the-scenes of her 49th album

'I just want people to really enjoy this Rock album'

One year after being inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, Dolly Parton has made good on her promise to release a Rock album.

LISTEN NOW: Dolly Parton celebrates release of 'Rockstar'

Inspired to be a real “Rockstar,” by her Rock Hall honor, Dolly got together with some of the biggest names in the genre to re-record big hits, while also adding nine original songs including the title track – appropriately tired, “Rockstar.”

“I just want people to really enjoy this Rock album [and] to say it’s really some good music and that I did OK singing it… I really busted a gut tryin’,” Dolly told Katie Neal during a recent Audacy Check In. “It was fun for me. It was a challenge, but it was fun to get to sing these songs. I usually sing so many of my own songs, it’s great to get to sing something else like some classic songs.”

While undeniably adding a new flavor to the 21 re-recorded classics with her globally recognized vocals, Parton said she was sure to not mess up a good thing and was sure to keep the songs recognizable.

“You just kind of have to put your mind to what you’re doing and stay in that zone. That Rock ‘n Roll is a different ‘genre’ as they say. It’s a different style of music all the way around,” she explained. “I didn’t want to sing them so differently that they weren’t recognizable. I wanted to stay as true to the melody and not get too far out of whack.”

Helping her color between the Rock lines was producer Kent Wells as well as several other artists who appear on the project including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Linda Perry, Melissa Etheridge, Steven Tyler, Elton John, Ann Wilson and so many more.

“Just hearing them in my headphones when we were singing together was just amazing to me,” Dolly said of all the stars she got to work with for the project. “Just draggin’ some of those people out of retirement [was a good memory]. They thought, ‘Oh, I’m not doing that much anymore,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’re gonna do it now. I need you to do this.’”

Dolly’s Rockstar album is her 49th studio project and when asked what she has planned for #50 she joked, “If i get put in the R&B Hall of Fame, I’ll have to do an R&B album! I wish I would because I love R&B.”

While we’ve learned to never say never when it comes to the Country Queen, Dolly revealed during her Rockstar album release party in Nashville that she is, in fact, already working on a new project.

“Well, I am writing my life story as a Broadway musical,” she told Jaclyn Stapp during an interview at the event. “I’ve already written the songs, we’re actually recording them now…. We’ve got the book written, so we’re going to hopefully have that coming out in 2025. I’m looking forward to that. So, my next album might be the cast album.”

During her Audacy Check In, Parton also delved into her new book, Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones, and talked about her Rock fan husband's reaction to her latest release. “I wanted it to be really good for him. So, I don’t know if nerves as much as just really having the desire for it to be really great. I think it made me try extra hard ‘cause I wanted it to be something he would think was good," Dolly shared. "When I played it to him, he said, ‘Well, that’s pretty good.’ So for him to say that would be like somebody else jumping up and down and saying, ‘That’s great!’”

As always, there’s exciting things on the horizon from Dolly, but for now, you can catch us channeling our inner Rockstar right along with the Country Queen as her Rockstar album is available now.

To hear more from Dolly, be sure to check out her full Audacy Check In interview hosted by Katie Neal above.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Audacy Check-In