Willie Nelson, the Outlaw Guru, and Dolly Parton, the
Sage in Stripper Heels, have much to say about how to find
peace and happiness and the core of the heart's desire.
Now each has produced a slim stocking stuffer for the
Christmas season, distilling that wisdom into an afternoon's
read, complete with insight, jokes, song lyrics and a few
entertaining nuggets from their remarkable lives.
If Nelson and Parton are talking, it's worth listening.
These two backwoods bodhisattvas have been contributing to
the greater intelligence of the human race for more than a
Unmotivated by trends, they have found themselves at the
centre of the action multiple times.
After inventing ''outlaw country'', Willie Nelson anticipated
the American song-book craze by about 20 years when he
released Stardust in 1978, introducing a new demographic to
the songs of the greatest generation.
A bona fide country star, Parton fused country and disco with
9 to 5, and wrote the Whitney Houston blockbuster I Will
Always Love You, which has been a radio hit four times in
three different decades.
If they never picked up a musical instrument or stood in
front of a microphone, Parton and Nelson would both still be
legendary as songwriters.
Yet both made themselves into quadruple threats, writing,
playing, singing and performing in movies. They didn't quit
Parton gave an economic bone-marrow transplant to her
Tennessee community with the amusement complex Dollywood,
which became one of the region's largest employers.
Nelson (along with John Mellencamp and Neil Young)
created Farm Aid in 1985 to try to keep family farms from
going bankrupt in the era of industrial agriculture, and they
still carry on.
Their books are different in style and tone.
Nelson's book, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die:
Musings from the Road is a Rabelaisian idyll, mixing
contemporary journal entries (from 2011 and 2012) with
reminiscences from friends and family and plenty of profane
Parton's entry, Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You,
grew out of her University of Tennessee commencement address
in 2009 (a ceremony during which she received an honorary
degree and became Dr Dolly).
Perhaps more self-consciously inspirational, it is also
packed with humour, which never violates a PG rating.