Dolly Parton made her first appearance on the Grammy Awards since 2001, performing as part of an all-star salute to her work that included Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, Little Big Town, Katy Perry and Maren Morris.
In complementary red Western wear, Perry and Musgraves traded lines on Parton’s crossover hit “Here You Come Again.” Mid-song, they were joined by Parton, the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year, who fittingly remained the center of the entire segment through its conclusion. In a gold embroidered suit, Miley Cyrus came out to share the stage on “Jolene,” harmonizing low and high with Parton, her godmother.
Next up, Maren Morris joined Cyrus and Parton to sing three-part harmony on the Trio version of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush,” including an extended a cappella section. The tribute continued with Little Big Town — LBT member Jimi Westbrook sported a vintage Parton tour T-shirt under his jacket — supporting Parton through “Red Shoes” that built to a rapturous finish. Finally, they closed it out with — what else — the indomitable grooves of “9 to 5,” the group of country and pop performers stretched across the stage with the superstar performer right in the center.
An eight-time Grammy winner, Parton wasn’t nominated in any of this year’s country categories. Musgraves, however, earned multiple nods, including one for Album of the Year, on the strength of her 2018 release Golden Hour. Morris also picked up an impressive five nominations, including Record of the Year for the dance hit “The Middle” with Zedd and Grey. Little Big Town also landed in Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “When Someone Stops Loving You.”
Parton has been prolific in the last few years, releasing four albums since the beginning of 2014. The most recent of those is the soundtrack for the Jennifer Aniston-starring Dumplin’, which featured Parton updating several of her classic hits with Miranda Lambert, Sia and Mavis Staples.