If Carrie Bradshaw’s narration of “I couldn’t help but wonder …” was the cultural voice of the early 2000s, then the voices of American men working for public radio are the 2010s equivalent. In his popular new podcast Dolly Parton’s America, Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad interrogates Parton’s history and her enduring appeal, particularly in the context of Trump’s America. He melds archival tape and his own interviews with the country singer, and talks to her fans and country music experts, to explore why the 73-year-old is still so beloved across age, race, economic and geographic lines. While listening to its first six episodes, I couldn’t help but wonder: “Why now?” By the time I was born, Parton had already earned millions from writing I Will Always Love You 26 years earlier; she’d starred in the film 9 to 5, Jane Fonda’s call-to-arms for women in the workplace; and established a theme park in her name and image. For every generation since the baby boomers, Parton has always been in our consciousness, whether as a punchline or a headliner. Despite this endurance, over her 50-year career, she’s perhaps never been more prominent in pop culture than she is right now. Along with… Read full this story
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