Down On Music Row

Album: My Tennessee Mountain Home (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • On June 22, 1964, the day after she became the first person in her family to graduate from high school, Dolly Parton boarded a bus for Nashville with a folder full of her songs that she hoped would land her a record deal. As her song "Down On Music Row" recounts, she pounded the pavement along the iconic music-business district in search of someone to give her a chance. She recalled in her 2020 book, Songteller: "I knew that I could always come back home. I'd always be welcomed. But I told my folks that I wasn't going to come home until I had something to show for it. So I headed out to follow my dream."
  • Although the lyrics skip ahead to her deal at RCA, she actually released her first album, Hello, I'm Dolly via Monument Records in 1967, the same year she started appearing on Porter Wagoner's eponymous TV show. Wagoner, who was on the RCA roster, connected her with the label execs Chet Atkins and Bob Ferguson (who are both mentioned in the song). Ferguson also produced all of Dolly's albums through the mid-'70s.
  • My Tennessee Mountain Home, her 11th solo album, tells the story of Dolly's hardscrabble upbringing in East Tennessee and her journey to Nashville. It yielded one single, the title track, which peaked at #25 on the Country chart.

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