Dolly Parton offered information but no advice to the remaining contestants on NBC’s The Voice as she visited the TV singing competition on Tuesday, December 8th. She also performed a lovely version of her beloved 1971 hit “Coat of Many Colors” and talked about the upcoming “faith-based” film inspired by the song’s autobiographical lyrics.
Strumming an acoustic guitar, Parton delivered a gentle, somewhat haunting version of the fan favorite that the singer-songwriter said is “just a sweet little song [that] means more to me than the others.”
The tune was written about a handmade coat Parton’s mother Avie Lee sewed together for her when she was a young girl. One of 12 children from a poor family raised in the backwoods of east Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, Parton is now one of the world’s wealthiest, most recognizable women but remains humble when it comes to sharing her gift of song. After her performance, host Carson Daly asked her about her time spent with the aspiring singers who are currently in the semi-finals of The Voice.
“They were so sweet and so nice. They reminded me of when I had big dreams,” she told Daly. “They asked for advice; I don’t do advice. I’ll give you some information.”
Parton also explained that Coat of Many Colors (which airs Thursday), is neither a Christmas movie nor all about her but more about family and faith, which are elements common to TV specials and films at this time of year. The film stars Alyvia Alyn Lind in the role of Parton as a child. Singer Jennifer Nettles plays her mother and veteran actor Ricky Schroder plays her dad. The film touches on the subjects of bullying and ridicule, which Parton says she was subjected to by classmates when she wore her colorful new coat to school.
“I’ve had so many people tell me through the years that this song itself has had a healing effect on them, whether it’s about their race, their nationality, whether they were overweight or whether they were crippled, people just identify with it,” Parton told Rolling Stone Country and other reporters at a preview for the film last summer. “When people make you feel less about yourself, it’s a hard thing to deal with.”
Next up from Parton will be an NBC film based on her classic song, “Jolene.” Coat of Many Colors airs Thursday, December 10th at 9:00 p.m. ET.