WATCH: Dolly Parton and Lainey Wilson Join Forces For Magical ‘I Will Always Love You’ Duet

Witness the unforgettable moment when Parton and Wilson come together to deliver a spellbinding rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 21, 2024

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Country music legend Dolly Parton teamed up with country superstar Lainey Wilson to deliver an unforgettable performance of one of the most iconic songs of all time, “I Will Always Love You,” during Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala. 

Lainey Wilson and Dolly Parton Sing “I Will Always Love You”

Wearing a stunning outfit featuring sequined bell bottoms paired with a sparkling silver jacket adorned with stars, Wilson led the performance with grace. 

Parton, donning a white pantsuit with gold star accents, beautifully harmonized alongside Wilson throughout the first verse. 

Lainey Wilson, Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy CBS
Lainey Wilson, Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy CBS

On the chorus, the country music powerhouses joined in together, captivating viewers and reminding them of the timeless message of the song.  

This was a moment of pure musical magic and fans can only hope that this recording will be released in the future. 

Re-Live The Incredible Performance

Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala Also featured performances by Carly Pearce, Chris Janson, and more. 

Hosted by Parton herself with co-host Jane Lynch, the one-of-a-kind show also featured a unique runway presentation unveiling the finest in canine fashion. The pups sported dog versions of Dolly Parton’s most iconic outfits as well as elaborately adorned ensembles from Dolly’s Doggy Parton pet line.   

The show also featured appearances by notable personalities such as Iain Armitage from “YOUNG SHELDON,” Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Kristin Chenoweth, Billy Ray Cyrus and Firerose, Margaret Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Carson Kressley, Jim Nantz, Jessica Simpson, and many more. 

The History Of “I Will Always Love You”

“I Will Always Love You” was written solely by Dolly Parton as a message to Porter Wagnor. At the time, she wanted to step away from her role on The Porter Wagoner Show to pursue a solo career.  

“I was trying to get out, go out on my own, and it was taking a big hunk out of his show and the fact that we had one of those love-hate relationships, it was just hard to move on,” Parton told Bobby Bones on The Bobby Bones Show. “He wasn’t listening to anything I had to say. So I went home and wrote that song, took it back the next morning and said, ‘sit down. I need you to hear something.’ I sang it and he was crying, so he said, ‘okay, you can go provided I can produce that record. So he did.”

Dolly Parton - Jolene Cover Art
Dolly Parton – Jolene Cover Art

While Parton’s rendition of the song achieved commercial success, it wasn’t until Whitney Houston recorded it that the song truly took on a new life. 

Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” was featured in the film The Bodyguard and became an international success. After Houston’s untimely passing, Parton pledged to honor her legacy by investing royalties from the song into a Black neighborhood in Nashville. 

Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Dolly Parton; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Performing with Dolly Parton was undoubtedly a dream come true moment for Lainey Wilson, who previously released a Dolly Parton-inspired song, “WWDD” (“What Would Dolly Do”). 

When Did Dolly Parton and Lainey Wilson Meet?

The pair initially met at the 2023 ACM Awards when the Country Music Hall of Famer presented the Louisiana native with the trophy for Female Artist of the Year. 

Later, they teamed up to honor the late Naomi Judd on The Judds’ tribute album with a cover of “Mama He’s Crazy.” Wilson admitted she broke down in hears the first time she heard their duet. 

“I have a video of it somewhere. Somebody captured it. I was on tour with Luke Combs somewhere up north playing a stadium show, and I boohooed cried,” she previously shared. ”And I think everybody feels this way about Dolly, but I do feel like I just know her from a different lifetime and it’s just such an honor to hear our voices right next to each other because she’s such a huge inspiration to me on and off the stage.”

We have a feeling this won’t be the last time Dolly Parton and Lainey Wilson cross paths.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.