In a recent interview, Dolly Parton discussed her upcoming rock album and disclosed how she obtained approval to perform “Free Bird” from the widow of late Lynyrd Skynyrd musician Ronnie Van Zant. The country singer decided to do her own rendition of the Lynyrd Skynyrd hit while collaborating with producer Kent Wells on her new album “Rockstar.” Speaking recently about the success with Louder Sound, she revealed:
“Kent Wells has been my bandleader, guitarist, and producer/arranger for the past thirty-odd years. He was working on an album for Lynyrd Skynyrd as I was getting ready to make “Rockstar.” They asked if I would sing on a new rendition of “Free Bird” as they knew that Kent and I collaborated. And it came out beautifully. The country music star went on to detail how she eventually obtained the rock star’s widow’s consent:
“Afterwards, after we have their permission, how about including ‘Free Bird’ on my rock album as well?” I asked Kent. That’s what we actually did. The widow of Ronnie Van Zant then agreed to allow us to utilize his voice on the song. Although she wouldn’t let Lynyrd Skynyrd do it, she declared, “I’ll do it for Dolly!” Ronnie was so able to be used there. His vocal was just put in because his phrasing was so straightforward—we had previously recorded it.
Other Names Besides Ronnie Van Zant Are on the Cover. In addition to collaborating with the late rocker’s widow to use his voice, Parton also collaborated with two additional musicians to finish the song’s cover. Parton’s rendition of “Free Bird” also includes former drummer Artimus Pyle and original guitarist Gary Rossington of Skynyrd. Sadly, Rossington passed away in March of this year, so he won’t be able to hear the cover. Rather, the song will function as a memorial.
The New Album by Dolly Parton Is Mostly Rock Covers. Despite being a country singer by trade, Parton made the decision to leave her genre and create a rock album that has only rock interpretations of pop and rock hits. She not only had the idea to record a rock album, but she also performed every song on it. The singer collaborated with a variety of vocalists, the majority of whom were the songs’ original performers, such as Miley Cyrus, Sting, Paul McCartney, and Pat Benatar. On November 17, the album will be released.