It’s Dolly Parton’s 77th birthday, and she’s celebrating in true country icon fashion — sharing a new song with an excessively long title that first came to her in a dream. “Don’t Make Me Have to Come Down There” is what she says God warned from the top of a mountain in a dream so powerful it woke her up out of her sleep.
“I got up, I started writing this song over a period of weeks, months,” Parton said in an Instagram video announcing the song’s release. “I finished it as things would come to me, and I just felt like I should drop it on my birthday. So, I hope you enjoy it.”
The singer opened the video by singing happy birthday to herself but adding that she’d rather give the gift of music on this day than receive anything herself. “It’s a song that came to me in a dream and I felt like it was worth putting out there,” she said. “Something special — well, it’s special to me.”
In the song, Parton recounts the dream just as she had it. “Last night I had a dream about God/He was standing on a mountain top/Looking down, around in such dismay,” she sings. “And in my dream I heard him say/Don’t make me have to come down there/My children, you had best beware/If you don’t pay attention, consequences will be dire/Don’t make me have to come down there.”
“Don’t Make Me Have to Come Down There” finds the musician writing about “politics, earthquakes, erratic weather, pandemics, war, and hate” while detailing the danger of the division that comes with it.
The new song is still as country as Parton is known for being, but she has a few rock records up her sleeve and tucked away for an upcoming record she believes will justify (at least to herself) her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The currently unnamed album will feature appearances from Cher, P!nk, Brandi Carlile, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Paul McCartney, Steve Perry, and Steven Tyler.