The inspirational singer gives C&I a first listen to “The Last Rose of Summer.”
Country singer-songwriter and younger sister of Dolly Parton Stella Parton is celebrating five decades in the entertainment industry with the release of her 40th studio album, Survivor, available on March 29.
Up to this point in her prolific career, Parton had released 39 albums and 32 chart singles. She’s become an accomplished actress and author with three cookbooks, an inspirational memoir, and four starring roles in touring Broadway musicals.
Now, in celebration of 50 years in the business, Parton is coming out with Survivor. Spanning topics from the Me Too movement to divorce to Alzheimer’s disease, the album richly mines life and career and the human condition.
Album highlights include “The Last Rose of Summer,” a touching song inspired by Parton’s parents’ love story.
Recently, we talked with Parton about her 50-year career and the new record and got an exclusive first listen to “The Last Rose of Summer.”
Cowboys & Indians: You’re celebrating five decades in the entertainment business. What have been some career highlights?
Stella Parton: The highlight of my career has to be touring and being able to travel internationally. It has always amazed me to watch the reaction of fans in other countries to American music. I’m happy to have been a part of that.
The lows in my career would definitely be experiencing dishonesty from people in my industry. I guess it is the same in every industry, although I will never get used to it.
C&I: What do you hope your fans take away from your latest album, Survivor?
Parton: I just hope they have a laugh or two. Maybe feel the gamut of emotions. Some of the songs are serious; some are just sarcastic and meant to give the listener a grin or two.
C&I: What was the production process for Survivor like? Do you have any fun stories from the making of it?
Parton: I had fun with this album and kept it as stress-free as possible. I felt since I was in charge, I could take myself off the hot seat. It was a wonderful experience working with Mike Loudermilk. He’s one of the finer musicians I’ve had the great pleasure of working with and a beautiful human being too!
C&I: What’s the story behind the track “The Last Rose of Summer”?
Parton: “The Last Rose of Summer” is actually a song about the passing of my parents. I just fantasized about my dad coming to walk with her in the moonlight. The title came to me the day of my mother’s funeral when it occurred to me that my summer of life was over and I would be entering the autumn of my own life. Thus, my mother was the last rose of summer.
C&I: Your family’s story was recently portrayed in Dolly’s Coat of Many Colors and Christmas of Many Colors movies. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Parton: It was surreal to watch the story of my family portrayed by actors in a film. I mean, really — how many people live to see such a thing occur?
I worked as a consultant on Coat of Many Colors, and it was very important to me that my family be presented in a respectful way.
I did have to hold the line on a few things during production. After all, it is my family, too! That was occasionally overlooked by certain “Hollywood types” in their quest to make a name for themselves at the expense of our family. Overall though, it turned out pretty close to the truth, especially the first film.
Get an exclusive first listen to “The Last Rose of Summer,” below.
Preorder Survivor below.
For more information on Stella Parton, visit her website. Photography: Courtesy Melanie Siegrist.