I first heard Jolene performed by my good friend Sean Rielly beside a roaring bonfire on the beach at our place in North Douglas just down the trail from the shack. A few of us attempted to accompany him on hand drums but soon realized our abilities were sub-par compared to Sean’s passionate rendition of the emotional Dolly Parton song.
In the shadows the fire cast on Sean’s furry brown fleece and beard, I saw something I attributed to emotional distress in his face (though it may have been the difficulty he had hitting the higher notes on the 4th Jolene) which replay in my mind every time I hear the song. There was a great segment today on All Things Considered which features Dolly herself discussing the origins of the song. The post contains links to watch Jack White and Mindy Smith performing their interpretations.
Thanks Sean for introducing me to this classic with such a great story behind it.