It is now commonplace to hear references to Merle Haggard or George Jones in contemporary country songs, but there are still surprisingly few references to country-music legend and America’s Most-Liked Person Dolly Parton, despite her massive influence. Singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson is out to correct that, offering up “WWDD” (short for “What Would Dolly Do”) as a mantra for better living, no matter who you are.
Written by Louisiana native Wilson with Casey Beathard and Michael Heeney, “WWDD” mixes a stomping beat with grimy electric guitars out of Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones and the arena-size choruses of Eighties Bruce Springsteen. She recalls hearing Parton on the radio for the first time and being transfixed: “Like a country-music modern-day apostle/Yeah, I leaned in like every word was gospel,” she sings of the woman she thinks of as her “go-to compass” and “golden rule.” In the video, she sprays and teases her hair like her idol might, dancing around her room in a bold animal-print robe.
“If we all did it a little more like Dolly, we’d be lookin’ at a world with a little less rain and a lot more rainbows,” Wilson says. “She’s an icon around the world for a reason — from her music, to the way she gives, to her business sense, to the way she looks, to her lighthearted witty sense of humor — no one does it quite like Dolly does.”
“WWDD” follows Wilson’s 2019 Redneck Hollywood EP, which was released by BBR Music Group and includes the tracks “Dirty Looks” and “LA.”