Country legend Dolly Parton gave two standout performances during the 2023 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards while hosting the show alongside country musician Garth Brooks on May 11.
First, the 77-year-old “Jolene” singer paid homage to the late country stars Loretta Lynn and Naomi Judd by singing the hymn “Precious Memories” a cappella to honor their legacies. Both Lynn and Judd died in 2022 — Lynn at the age of 90, and Judd at the age of 76.
Parton was close with both singers. Speaking of Lynn fondly on stage, Parton said she was “a hero and one of the most important, but still down-to-earth singer-songwriters in history.”
She also spoke kindly about Judd and reminisced about their mutual love of big hair and bold makeup.
“And of course Naomi and I, well, we’re the same age, both real GOATs, Capricorns, and we loved big hair,” she said. “I still do. And we loved that makeup. But above all else, we loved each other.”
About Parton’s performance, co-host Brooks chimed in, agreeing it was important to honor the legacy of performers who had passed.
“Tonight we lovingly remember all those we’ve lost in our country music family,” he said to the crowd. “And we promise to do our best to keep the circle forever unbroken in their memory.”
To close out the show, Parton performed a single from her forthcoming album “Rockstar” called “World on Fire.” “Rockstar” represents a departure from Parton’s usual country songs and will include nine original rock songs and 21 covers.
“Rockstar” will be out in November, and Variety reports that the list of guest singers on the album is extensive: Elton John, Lizzo, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus will all join her on the album, and Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney will even cover “Let It Be” with her.
After earning a nomination and entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year, Parton vowed to make a rock album, saying it was something she’d always wanted to do, anyway. Now that she’s made good on her promise, you can watch her perform her first single from “Rockstar”:
“I’m so excited to finally present my first Rock and Roll album Rockstar! I am very honored and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure,” Parton said in an earlier press release, People reports.
We’re not surprised to see Dolly rocking the house!