Dolly Parton and Melissa Etheridge break new ground in their pairing for CMT Crossroads. It marks the first time the series has paired two women artists together. The program premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Friday (Nov. 28) and encores at 2:30 p.m. ET/PT and 8 p.m. ET/PT on Saturday (Nov. 29) and at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday (Nov. 30). In songs and interviews together, Parton and Etheridge explore their mutual admiration society, their fierce devotion to songwriting and their shared passion for the integrity of music. Together, says show host Radney Foster, “they bring grit, power and pure mountain air together.”
Parton, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and winner of Grammy, CMA and IBMA awards, has written thousands of songs in her career. Songs ranging from her trademark compositions “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors” to the million-selling “I Will Always Love You” and the movie anthem “9 to 5” have earner her fans across all music genres.
One of those fans is Etheridge, who sings “I Will Always Love You” on the new tribute album Just Because I’m a Woman: The Songs of Dolly Parton.
“I am very excited about doing CMT Crossroads with Melissa,” Parton tells CMT. “Of course, I’m a fan of the show, but I’m a huge fan of Melissa’s. I’m anxious to hear what we will do together. I’m sure I’m more excited than our fans might be.”
“Dolly transcends all barriers, whether be it ethnicity, gender or age, but most importantly her music has no boundaries,” Etheridge says. “I’m thrilled at the opportunity to perform her songs and to have Dolly sing my songs on CMT Crossroads — it’s an added bonus.”
Etheridge has gone on to sell 27 million albums since the release of her self-titled debut album in 1988. She has won two Grammy awards, was named ASCAP songwriter of the year and written a best-selling autobiography. The musician and activist has won legions of fans with hit songs like “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window.”
Songs on the Parton-Etheridge edition of CMT Crossroads include Etheridge’s “Come to My Window” and “Bring Me Some Water” and Parton’s “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.” The show is also marked by some spirited interview segments and some of Parton’s patented Dolly-isms, including a Viagra joke and other pointed witticisms.
The two talk at some length about songwriting — how they became songwriters and the importance and definition that writing has brought to their lives and careers. Etheridge, in an especially compelling moment, recalls watching Parton perform on the old Porter Wagoner Show on television and realizing that Parton was the first woman artist she had seen who was actually playing guitar and that she had actually written most of the songs she was singing. “I knew then that you had to write your own songs,” says Etheridge.