Around this time, Dolly noticed that her record label was dropping its veteran performers in favor of younger acts. The ones who were still on the roster had little control over what they did and who they did it with. Frustrated, she reached out to producer Steve Buckingham, whom she met when they were both working with Ricky Skaggs, to help resurrect her career. "She told me, 'I want to make a real country record, but all of the bigwigs say I can't do it,'" Buckingham told Style Weekly
. "I thought, 'Jeez, if you can't trust Dolly Parton to make a country record.'"
With Buckingham's help, Eagle When She Flies
was a hit, selling more than a million copies in the US. Although he told Dolly he wasn't looking for credit, she still listed him as co-producer and took care of his production royalties. "She wrote me the check herself," Buckingham said.
The pair worked together on a number of other albums, including Dolly's acclaimed bluegrass release in 1999 - The Grass Is Blue