Dolly Parton Is Celebrating Her Birthday With a New Song That Came to Her in a Dream [Listen]
Dolly Parton's 77th birthday is on Thursday (Jan. 19), and she's celebrating with a gift for her fans: A new song.
During a video chat conversation about her new line of Duncan Hines box mixes, Parton tells Taste of Country that the song — called "Don't Make Me =Come Down There" — will deliver her signature lighthearted sense of humor, but it draws inspiration from very serious subject matter.
Parton says the idea of the song started when she was watching troubling news stories on television, and worrying about the state of the world.
"I was just thinking, 'I wonder what God is thinking of us.' Those of us that believe in God. Even if it's not God, like, what is the universe thinking of us? What are we doing?" the country legend reflects.
That night, when she went to sleep, the song — including the inspiration for what would be the lyrics — came to her in what she says was a "scary" dream.
"You know how dreams are mixed up — it was almost like my own dad, but it was a Godly figure," she says. In her dream, the figure said: "Don't make me have to come down there / My children, you'd best beware / I try to be a good father, as all fathers do / But you're on my last nerve, I've had it up to here with you"; "Go to your room and pray 'til you can learn to play fair / Don't make me have to come down there."
The dream was so vivid and alarming that it startled her out of her sleep.
"It woke me up," she says. "So I got up and thought, 'I think it's a message somehow.' So I started writing a song."
While the song wasn't a fit for any projects she had in the works, Parton decided to put it out as a stand-alone track for her birthday, because she feels it carries an important message. While there's some humor to the lyrics, the singer says she hopes fans will take the song's serious side to heart.
"It's mostly to make people think a little more about shaping up a little better and hopefully starting the new year out trying to do just a little better than what we're doing," she adds. "Because we're asking for it."
Parton won't be taking the day off for her birthday — she's booked up with studio sessions, while working on her upcoming rock album — but if she does have a cake, she may opt for a chocolate cake like the ones her mom used to make for her during her childhood.
"Mama used to always make a big chocolate cake with thick chocolate icing for our birthdays, and I always remember that," she says. "... I still love, on my birthday, if I can, to have a chocolate cake and think of mom."
But this year, the singer says she might just whip up a batch of Fabulously Fudgy Brownie Mix or Caramel Turtle Brownie Mix from her new line of box mix Duncan Hines treats. "I think I'm probably just gonna cook up a batch of this stuff!" she says, gesturing to the boxes and sampler platters on the table in front of her. "Take it into the studio for myself and for the musicians."
Starting Feb. 8, a limited number of Parton's baking kits — including all four mixes, a special tea towel, spatula, recipe cards and a note from the singer herself — will be available for purchase online.
See the Top 50 Country Duets of All Time!