On Tuesday night, the venerable Dolly Parton appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and moved Colbert to tears. There to promote her new book, Songteller, and her new album, Holly Dolly Christmas, the country superstar began to reminisce about how her mom used to sing around the house. She then broke into song, singing “Bury Me Beneath the Willows,” and that proved too much for Colbert. At first you could see him telling someone offscreen that he had goosebumps. The next time it cut back to him, Colbert was wiping tears from his eyes. Parton stopped just long enough to ask Colbert if he was crying before going right back to singing.
Parton finally stopped singing, saying, “So I better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can’t finish the show.” “Like a lot of Americans, I’m under a lot of stress right now, Dolly,” Colbert replied, laughing as he continued to wipe away tears. “And, uh, you got under my tripwire right there, I’ll tell you right there ... that was pretty beautiful.”
It turned out to be a therapeutic moment of sorts for Colbert.
“Isn’t it funny that sometimes there’s nothing happier than a cry?” Colbert asked. “Yeah, I think it cleanses your soul,” Parton answered. “I think water’s good to wash it out. That’s what tears are for, I think.”
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