Dolly Parton moved Stephen Colbert to tears during her appearance on The Late Show on Tuesday night (October 20).
During the interview, the country music legend opened up about some of her favorite songs from her childhood while discussing her new book, Songteller: My Life In Lyrics. "Mama was a good singer too and she would just sing a cappella all the time," Parton said of her mother, Avie Lee, who passed away in December 2003. "So many of those songs were sad … There was a song she used to sing called ‘Bury Me Beneath the Willow,’ it was about a girl that was going to get married and her boyfriend left her at the altar."
Parton then started singing some of the tragic tune, leaving the late-night TV host in tears. As his eyes welled up, Colbert laughed in shock, admitting he had "goosebumps" as Parton continued to sing. Colbert then wiped his eyes with a tissue, prompting Parton to say, "I better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can't finish the show."
Following Parton's impromptu performance, Colbert said, "Like a lot of Americans, I'm under a lot of stress right now, Dolly. You got my tripwire right there, I’ll tell you. That was pretty beautiful."
He added, "Isn’t it funny that sometimes there’s nothing happier than a cry?"
Parton related to Colbert's emotional moment saying, "We used to cry when Mama would sing. Mama would cry, we’d cry. Those old songs were just amazing. I think it cleanses your soul. Water is good to wash it out. That’s what tears are for, I think."
Earlier in the interview, Parton discussed how writing songs has become a form of therapy to her and a way to help others.
"There's just something about writing songs that's just kind of, like, my personal time with God," she said. "It's my quiet time; I just go into that little zone, and I just feel like I can express myself in ways that I don't need a doctor for, I don't need therapy, I just sing it all out, write it all out."
"I can write for other people too, like you said," Parton added. "Because I see things happen to other people and I think, 'They don't know how to express how they feel.' They're depressed or they're sad, so I write songs for them as well."
Storyteller is set for release on November 17, but is available for pre-order now.
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