True grit. How does it manifest? If you’re listening to your instincts and defying the conflicting logic presented to you, or working towards a dream harder than you hope for it, then you already know. Having the courage to maintain a seemingly impossible objective requires bravery and stamina and, as we conclude the first edition of Clash’s 15th anniversary year, nobody better embodies this heroic valour than this issue’s final cover star.
Dolly Parton set her eyes on betterment from a very early age. The outlook from the isolated and rural farm on which she grew up in East Tennessee was bleak; career options were limited for the poor – more so for women. Her mother had married at 15, but Dolly’s fate was being shaped by an inherent inquisitiveness much too big for her homestead.
Music was her calling, and drew her out to Nashville, where her career was immediately boosted by the patronage of country star Porter Wagoner. Their duets made Dolly famous, but she was creatively unfulfilled, and yearned for independence. Escaping from out of Porter’s shadow in 1974, Dolly finally began the pioneering ascent of a strong and self-determining artist who instinctively championed women’s rights in a male-dominated industry with honest and authentic songwriting that perfectly portrayed the female perspective in capable, confident ways.
“I was just born with that drive to keep going,” she tells Clash, in an inspiring interview that focus on her steely determination. “Early on, I felt like that spirit, that higher wisdom, told me to just go until [God] said stop. And I’m still going. He ain’t said a word to me about stopping yet. And so I’m gonna go until that time comes.”
For her sheer persistence, for her irrepressible drive, for her timeless songs that have inspired so many, for her fierce (and proudly paid-for) body confidence and flamboyant sex appeal, for every small victory against discrimination she’s fought for, and for a lifetime of “service and devotion,” Dolly Parton is a consummate role model for our times.
Also featured in this issue is Octavian, Lizzo, Lil Pump, Ezra Collective, Loyle Carner, Little Simz, Sigrid, Col3trane, Joji, David Crosby, Soak, and much more.
Clash 111 is available to buy online now ahead of its release next week – get the magazine HERE.