Dolly Parton Shares Why She Chose to Sing “Southern Accents” on ‘Petty Country’ Album, Discusses Song’s Emotional Video

Dolly Parton has recorded a version of the 1985 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song “Southern Accents” for the upcoming tribute album Petty Country, which will be released on June 21. A video clip has been posted on the country icon’s social media sites in which Parton discusses how she felt about the late Tom Petty and why she he had an affinity for the song.

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She also talked about the emotional new music video for her rendition of “Southern Accents,” which features her surrounded by various mementos and items that belonged to Petty.

[RELATED: Tom Petty Tribute Album To Include a Tweaked Dolly Parton Cover of “Southern Accents”]

“Well, I have loved Tom Petty forever,” Parton declared in the clip. “And I love the song ‘Southern Accents,’ … because I’m a Southern girl from a Southern town.”

Parton also recalled that when she was asked if she would take part in the tribute album, she agreed, and then requested to sing “Southern Accents.”

“They said, ‘Absolutely, because you’d be the perfect one to do it,’” she shared. “So I was glad to get that one. Everybody seems to like that song if you’ve got an accent, especially a Southern one.”

Parton on the New “Southern Accents” Video

The new “Southern Accents” music video premiered in early April. It features Parton in a room surrounded by Petty memorabilia, including several guitars, stage worn jackets, sunglasses, old photos, handwritten lyrics to the song, and partially smoked cigarettes in an ashtray.

While Parton sings, various candid film clips from throughout Petty’s life are projected on the wall.

“When I came in [for the video shoot], I didn’t know that we were going to have all of his real things, like this … [Rickenbacker] guitar here that he was so famous for,” Parton noted. “And just to be able to just touch that and to know that he … played so many shows with that. And his hat and all these wonderful … little pieces of him.”

She continued, “[T]hen just finding that little piece of paper with his own handwriting, where he wrote ‘Southern Accents,’ I just thought it was great.”

Parton also commented about the film footage and home movies featuring Petty that was incorporated into the video.

“[T]hey’ve had a video playing all day where he’s with his parents and when he was a little boy, and even when he was grown with his own kids,” she said. “It’s just been very moving and very touching to me … just to feel him. It’s almost like I’m in his house somehow.”

Parton added, “I wish I had known him more and I had more time to spend with him, but I feel like I’m spending time with him today.”

More About “Southern Accents”

Parton’s “Southern Accents” video begins with a segment of an audio interview with Petty talking about the tune.

“I would start writing and start singing, and it seems that the best songs often just appear,” he said. “When the phrase ‘southern accents’ hit me, off we went.”

“Southern Accents” was featured on the 1985 the title track of the Petty and the Heartbreakers album of the same name. The album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.

About the Petty Country Album

As previously reported, Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty will feature various Petty songs covered by such popular country artists as Parton, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Luke Combs, Lainey Wilson, and more. Heartbreakers members Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench also contributed to the album.

Petty Country Track List:

  1. “I Should Have Known It” – Chris Stapleton
  2. “Wildflowers” – Thomas Rhett
  3. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” – Luke Combs
  4. “Southern Accents” – Dolly Parton
  5. “Here Comes My Girl” – Justin Moore
  6. “American Girl” – Dierks Bentley
  7. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” – Lady A
  8. “I Forgive It All” – Jamey Johnson
  9. “I Won’t Back Down” – Brothers Osborne
  10. “Refugee” – Wynonna Judd and Lainey Wilson
  11. “Angel Dream #2” – Willie and Lukas Nelson
  12. “Learning to Fly” – Eli Young Band
  13. “Breakdown” – Ryan Hurd and Carly Pearce
  14. “Yer So Bad” – Steve Earle
  15. “Ways to Be Wicked” – Margo Price and Mike Campbell
  16. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Midland
  17. “Free Fallin’” – The Cadillac Three with Breland
  18. “I Need to Know” – Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
  19. “Don’t Come Around Here No More” – Rhiannon Giddens and Benmont Tench
  20. “You Wreck Me” – George Strait

Photo by GC Images/GC Images; Courtesy of Big Machine Records

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