This is just great, from Tony Rossi, who interviewed Dolly for his podcast at The Christophers:
Dolly grew up in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains in a family of 12 children. Though her parents didn’t have much money, they made up for it with an abundance of love and faith. Dolly told me, “My Grandpa – my mother’s dad – pastored a church called the House of Prayer. We always had Christmas service at that little church. Christmas for us was singing all the great songs, Mama reading the story from the Bible, Grandpa talking about it. But the story of Christ went year-round in our place. We had Wednesday night prayer meetings, Sunday school, Sunday night prayer meetings. I was brought up believing that through God all things are possible and that Jesus loves me. That’s embedded in me. It follows me through everything that I do. It’s in my songs, my heart, my speech. I’m proud to have that in my background. It keeps me humble.”…
… No matter what type of song Dolly is writing, she always finds elements of the divine in the experience. She said, “God is my co-writer and my co-pilot. Anything that I do, I always keep God first and foremost because I feel like that’s where I draw my strength…[Songwriting] is my God-time. I have a little world that I work in with God and leave myself open [to Him]. Some times are better than others, but I enjoy the process because God gave me my gift. We all have our gifts. Some of us don’t use them like we should. It’s like that Scripture in the Bible about hiding [your light] under a bushel basket. If you don’t let it shine, it’ll go out. So I feel like God gave me this gift, and I want to write, create, spread joy, and spread a message. And I want to be there for other people. I know God is there for me.”
There’s much more. Read it all and hear the podcast here.