Miranda Lambert Cites Dolly Parton As Her Country Music Icon
PBS is gearing up for the release of the extensive 8 part, 16-hour Country Music Documentary starting September 15th directed by Ken Burns. And ahead of the release, PBS is trying to engage the country music public by asking people to share who their favorite country music icon is, what their favorite country song is, and what their first country music concert was. Fans can post videos to social media with the hashtag “#MyCountryMusicPBS,” or submit their videos via their website to have a chance to be featured as part of the promotion before and during the airing of the film.
To prime the pump, PBS asked a few famous country music personalities to participate, including Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, who spoke about who first inspired them, and who they look up to as a country music icon.
“Probably Dolly Parton,” Miranda Lambert responded. “When you think of a woman that’s built an empire, that’s the face that comes up in my mind. She’s done everything, and is still going on eleven, and it’s just such an inspiration.”
Vince Gill’s selection was Merle Haggard, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Not only has Vince regularly cited Merle as one of his greatest inspirations, his new album Okie out August 23rd has a song on it called “A World Without Haggard,” which is a tribute to Merle.
“The way that he wrote songs spoke to me maybe differently than anybody ever has, and I would attribute some of it to the fact that he went to prison,” Vince Gill says. “He knew what it felt like to not be free. And it made him tell the truth in a way that was just so much more engaging to me as a listener. I love the way he sang, I love the way he played, he had a great band. Everything he did was right up my alley.”
Ray Benson’s response was, “Musically, it’s old fiddle players that I first heard when I played in a square dance band. I heard fiddle fiddle music for the first time and I just fell in love with it. And then when I heard Hank Williams, that was it. Hank Williams was the reason I decided to dedicate my musical life to country Western music.”
The PBS Country Music documentary will include footage from 56 separate interviews with artists and historians, including interviews with 40 Country Music Hall of Famers, and a few artists who have passed away since film production was commenced. Some of the principal commentators include Marty Stuart—who producer Dayton Duncan calls the “Human avatar thread in our tapestry”—as well as Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and Ray Benson. The film will also utilize ample archive footage, including from the iconic film “Heartworn Highways,” footage from country music variety shows, and other archive material.
Over 500 songs are featured throughout the film, from small snippets to full performances. The film starts all the way back in 1923 with Fiddlin’ John Carson who began performing at an Atlanta radio station and became a star, and goes to roughly 1996 with the death of Bill Monroe, and the revitalization of Johnny Cash’s career via his work with Rick Rubin and his American Recordings projects.
Who does @MirandaLambert consider to be her country music icon? We caught up with her backstage at the 2019 @CountryMusic Fest to find out. #MyCountryMusicPBS pic.twitter.com/IWlJUhI3IK
— PBS (@PBS) August 14, 2019
Find out who Vince Gill (@VGcom) considers to be his country music icon — and share your story using the hashtag #MyCountryMusicPBS or on the website for the chance to be featured: https://t.co/6NrC5NvPdT pic.twitter.com/cQssab7taS
— PBS (@PBS) August 9, 2019
Find out who inspired Ray Benson’s love of country music — and share your story using #MyCountryMusicPBS or on our website for the chance to be featured: https://t.co/6NrC5NvPdT pic.twitter.com/xClgSPPxVI
— PBS (@PBS) July 31, 2019
August 18, 2019 @ 11:18 am
Nice timing Trig.
Let the comments begin.
August 18, 2019 @ 11:21 am
Common answers for men: Merle, Hank, Willie, Waylon
Common answers for women: Loretta, Dolly, Shania, Cline,
August 18, 2019 @ 5:24 pm
Leave Shania out of this… LOL! Is that really a common answer? I hear Tammy and Emmylou more, even The Dixie Chicks.
August 18, 2019 @ 8:28 pm
Don’t forget Reba.
August 19, 2019 @ 6:45 am
Not my doing. I can’t stand Shania. She wrecked the genre.
Look at who most modern female singers in Nashville cite. Shania is always up there.
I did forget Reba. I knew one singer was slipping my mind.
August 20, 2019 @ 10:29 am
No Possum or Randy?
August 18, 2019 @ 11:57 am
Wonder how many teenage girls are going to offer up “Florida-Georgia Line” or “Kane Brown” as their personal “icons.” Assuming they even know what PBS is.
August 18, 2019 @ 12:15 pm
I downloaded “A World Without Haggard” two days ago and have been listening to it nonstop…fantastic song.
August 19, 2019 @ 7:43 am
I happened to be in Nashville the weekend after Haggard died, and Vince played the Opry that night… He sang ‘World Without Haggard’ with just him and Paul Franklin on steel. It was a musical moment I’ll never forget. Obviously he had just wrote the song, and that was his first performance of it. It was beautiful, and I’ve been waiting on a recorded version of it wondering if it was ever coming.
August 18, 2019 @ 12:18 pm
Anybody who has watched any Vince Gill interview knew it was Merle Haggard and he even explains that Merle Haggard was the total package singer/songwriter/musician. Miranda kinda surprised me as I would’ve thought Loretta Lynn or Patty Loveless. Rays is typical but atleast he didn’t just limit it to Bob Wills.
August 18, 2019 @ 2:17 pm
Miranda hasn’t thought about it. She says “probably Dolly Parton”. No mention of her music, jut the empire. She probably meant Shania, or Olivia Newton John.
August 18, 2019 @ 3:02 pm
You honestly think Miranda doesn’t know country music?
August 18, 2019 @ 3:17 pm
Have you listened to her music? Especially lately.
August 18, 2019 @ 6:14 pm
I get what you mean & agree about her new music but she knows country.
August 18, 2019 @ 1:48 pm
Hope I can remember to tune in
August 18, 2019 @ 2:04 pm
i’d answer lester flatt or hank snow.
August 18, 2019 @ 2:19 pm
I’m shocked you didn’t work Sturgill into the story.,.,
August 18, 2019 @ 6:42 pm
That is too funny.
August 18, 2019 @ 3:36 pm
Because it’s Ken Burns, I know this is going to be a fantastic documentary. He is probably the best working documentary filmmaker out there. If he didn’t just do TV he’d undoubtedly have an Oscar by now.
August 18, 2019 @ 3:47 pm
No doubt about it Miranda loves and looks up to Loretta, she loves Patty Lovelace. She is right about Dolly achieving the unthinkable empire, starting with her music/songwriting. Dolly has worked hard same as Miranda. Miranda hasn’t done bad herself. A little Gal from east Texas who had no money, but two loving parents who have spent their life there by her side. Her Dad from the beginning was out on road with her….Mother has taken care of the Fan Club and all merchandise (which Miranda owns all rights to)
August 18, 2019 @ 4:23 pm
August 18, 2019 @ 4:43 pm
Linda could’ve had a singing sister.
August 18, 2019 @ 5:46 pm
“I’m the only mfer alive to ever make Patty Lovelace gag.”
August 18, 2019 @ 5:15 pm
Many years ago, my dad introduced me to Jim Reeves, Ray Price, and Patsy Cline. (And Hee-Haw!) He had good taste. But shortly after that I discovered Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle, and country music finally became cool to me.
August 18, 2019 @ 5:27 pm
Tanya is my queen for women. Maybe Bobbie Gentry.
Men… I don’t know I came late to the game so Alan Jackson is up there. But once I got in deep Merle Haggard is too authentic to ignore.
August 18, 2019 @ 7:55 pm
I have many country singers I like,first albums were Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton. Concert,was Kenny Rogers, in LOS
Vegas,at Golden Nugget, I just missed ,a tambourine he tossed out, cause I was pregnant. That was in 86. Then I seen Loretta lynn, in Janesville, Wisconsin at 4h fair,my daughter was,a couple months olds,missed the autograph signature on picture, cause tornado siren going off I got hit, in oh back by a cow., I seen many more at the fair, Janesville, Wisconsin. My was to see Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton to perform together had a chance to, but had to take care my grandmother, who needed help,my parents had to be out of town. Miranda Lambert ,I love you,you Dolly can perform I love to see.carol
August 18, 2019 @ 8:01 pm
Grew up listening to Willie, Waylon and Roger Miller. First concert was Buck Owens.
August 18, 2019 @ 9:45 pm
Huh. I would’ve expected her to say Merle Haggard since she aspired to his songwriting.
August 18, 2019 @ 11:26 pm
I didn’t grow up listening to country music . I had no favourites . I listened to and played (professionally ) just about every other genre of popular music BUT country for the longest time . then I moved west and the only gigs were country gigs which meant doing some SERIOUS wood-shedding and educating on my part if I wanted to eat . and I fell head over heels in love with country .
I was in my 30s so it was the writing , the playing and the great vocalists that grabbed me …..not the fact that it was ingrained as a youngster around the house . I became a fan of so many REAL artists ….REAL gifted country singers . the more time I spent exploring the genre , the more my awe and appreciation for the musicians , one-of-a-kind vocalists and the skilled songwriters grew . I’d certainly cite merle and dolly as inspirations ……along with randy travis , joe nichols , patty loveless , …but for me ….there are just too many legendary aritsts to narrow it down to just those few . I hear very very few mainstream artists today who I’d consider an inspiration or even a uniquely gifted talent and a COUNTRY singer but you don’t have to look far to find these REAL talents .
This is why I’m a huge advocate of keeping the genre honest and embracing the uniqueness of REAL talent . I came to the music with no knowledge of these legends and was unexpectedly inspired and moved . I want a younger listener to have that same experience . they aren’t getting it from ‘country ‘ radio today .
August 19, 2019 @ 6:45 am
meh, safe answer. I would have been more impressed if she would have said Tanya Tucker or Dottie West.
August 19, 2019 @ 9:27 am
Loved how Ray called it Country WESTERN music. My grandpa always called it Country & Western music.
Miranda’s answer sounded quite unplanned, so maybe she should get a pass for it, but it was kind of disappointing to hear her focus on the business of country music, rather than the music itself.
For me, it was Dwight Yoakam. The first time I heard a Dwight song, I was hooked on country music for life. He was like a lightning rod to Hank Williams and all the “old stuff” my grandpa still listened to. For the first time I could see the family tree of country music; it had always been there, I just hadn’t noticed it until that moment.
August 19, 2019 @ 9:43 am
I’m a huge 90’s country fan so I would have to say George Strait &Alan Jackson on the female side I would have to go with my personal favorite Sara Evans.
August 19, 2019 @ 3:47 pm
If sarah hadn’t somewhat embraced the pop influences i think she could have been patty loveless or lee-ann womack-type legendary . i love sarah evans’ voice and when she does sing a COUNTRY song …NONE of the current crop of wannabes can hold a candle to her ….not the antebellums , the big little towns , the ashley monroes, the pearces , ..you name em.
sarah has a GREAT voice AND she still records the odd great song . but because its far more pop- centric it falls between the cracks pretty quickly . pop thinks she’s a country singer and country barely knows she exists anymore . this didn’t have to be the case , in my estimation .
Strait Country 81
August 19, 2019 @ 10:37 am
Guys: George Strait all the songs from Lead On are the 1st country songs I knew all the way through.
Women: It would be Reba had she stuck to her country sound so I’ll say Patty Loveless
August 19, 2019 @ 7:49 pm
Patty Loveless is the last great female country singer. To me, Patsy and Loretta Lynn are the greatest of all time (I’m not a Patsy Cline fan).
August 19, 2019 @ 10:56 am
I like many singers dolly, Loretta lynn, george strait , allen jackson, willie ,miranda lambert, reba an more from 70’s 80’s 90’s
Jan D Basehart
August 20, 2019 @ 10:04 am
For me, it is none other than the incomparable Patsy Cline. My mom was a book keeper at the Wheelus AFB NCO Club and used to order all the 45s for the the jukeboxes. My sister and I would make sure she always placed that order Patsy heavy.
August 20, 2019 @ 11:51 am
I love country music. Always have. But one thing that I find irritating is that country singers do a lot more name-dropping than any other genre’s artists do (I am aware of exceptions to this rule, such as Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”, but they are exceptions.)
From Garth’s “There’s two kings of country music: George Jones and George Strait!” acceptance speech to “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” to “Bob Wills Is Still the King”, it gets kinda old after a while. There are a few “safe” answers to this question when asked of any artist.
I’d be more impressed if an artist who was asked this question would answer with something other than the obvious names like Jones, Hank, Waylon, Loretta, Dolly, Tammy, etc.
Or if an artist simply said “You know, I’m not gonna sit here and do a bunch of name-dropping to win me some “cool” points.” That would be the best answer.
September 22, 2019 @ 9:07 pm
MIRANDA lamberts music is just absolutely horrible to me. She is an extreme bore and sings like a darn cat.