Dolly Parton Covers Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” For Tribute Album, ‘Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty’

Dolly Parton country music
Dolly Parton

“A southern girl from a southern town…”

I couldn’t think of a more perfect song for Dolly Parton to cover than Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents,” which is out everywhere today as part of the forthcoming tribute album Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty.

Of course, she tweaked the original lyrics only slightly, and says she’s “honored” to be able to cover this song for such a special project:

“I was fortunate enough to get to know Tom over the years. He’s such an iconic artist and important songwriter.

I’m so honored to be a part of this special album and to be able to share my version of one of Tom’s best songs, ‘Southern Accents.'”

“Southern Accents” was the title track to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ 1985 sixth studio album, and was also released as the B-side to “Rebels.”

Actually, it was first recorded when there was friction between the band over what some of the final verses should be and sound like, which led Petty to punch a wall out of frustration, and he ended up breaking his hand in the process.

In general, it’s a tribute to Tom’s southern roots and what he holds dear, and it’s always been on of my favorites in his vast catalog as a southerner myself, so I was absolutely thrilled to find out Dolly was releasing her own version.

Tom Petty told the Los Angeles Times in 2002 that it’s one of his favorites too:

“That may be my favorite among my songs – just in terms of a piece of pure writing. I remember writing it very vividly. It was in the middle of the night and I was playing it on the piano at home in Encino.

I was just singing into my cassette recorder and suddenly these words came out. I was at the point in my career where I was very much trying to find some new ground. I thought I had used up what I had started with and I wanted a new direction.

We had lived in California for about 10 years at that point and I started thinking about growing up in northern Florida, which is a lot different from Miami Beach. It’s close to Georgia and I came from a real Southern family, and I wanted to address that world. Once I came up with this song, I decided to write an entire album about the theme.”

Dolly’s vocals sound great here, and I think she did an absolutely incredible job with this (per the usual). I’ll definitely have it on repeat for the foreseeable future and will treasure her version forever… check it out:

Willie Nelson and his son Lukas Nelson are also featured on “Angel Dream #2,” George Strait’s live rendition of “You Wreck Me” will be included on the tracklist, in addition to songs reimagined by Chris Stapleton, Marty Stuart, Lainey Wilson and Wynonna Judd and many more.

Two former Heartbreakers, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench will also appear on the album on “Ways to Be Wicked” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” which features Margo Price and Rhiannon Giddens, respectively.

You can view the entire all-star cast and tracklist below, which is sure to be one of the most intriguing projects released in 2024. The full album is slated for release on May 31st.

Petty Country tracklist:

1. “I Should Have Known It” – Chris Stapleton
2. “Wildflowers” – Thomas Rhett
3. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” – Luke Combs
4. “Southern Accents” – Dolly Parton
5. “Here Comes My Girl” – Justin Moore
6. “American Girl” – Dierks Bentley
7. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” – Lady A
8. “I Forgive It All” – Jamey Johnson
9. “I Won’t Back Down” – Brothers Osborne
10. “Refugee” – Wynonna Judd & Lainey Wilson
11. “Angel Dream #2” – Willie Nelson & Lukas Nelson
12. “Learning to Fly” – Eli Young Band
13. “Breakdown” – Ryan Hurd feat. Carly Pearce
14. “Yer So Bad” – Steve Earle
15. “Ways to Be Wicked” – Margo Price & Mike Campbell
16. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Midland
17. “Free Fallin’” – The Cadillac Three feat. Breland
18. “I Need To Know” – Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives
19. “Don’t Come Around Here No More” – Rhiannon Giddens feat. Benmont Tench
20. “You Wreck Me (Live)” – George Strait

“Southern Accents”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock