Dolly Parton was one of several artists who appeared on CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares on Wednesday evening. The CMT special honored the late Kenny Rogers, who died March 20 from natural causes at age 81, with countless tributes and interviews by his friends and colleagues while raising money for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
One of the more poignant tributes came from Parton, a longtime friend and collaborator of Rogers’. The country singer shared a cover of “Sweet Music Man,” a song Rogers wrote and featured on his 1977 album Daytime Friends. Parton would go on to record it for her 1977 album Here You Come Again, while the song was covered by countless other artists, including Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette, Dottie West and Waylon Jennings.
Parton’s powerful CMT performance had the singer dressed in white while candles flickered behind her. Alone with her acoustic guitar, Parton’s whispered vocals struck a chord as she emotively sang, “Nobody sings a love song quite like you do/ And nobody else can make me sing along/ And nobody else can make me feel things are right when I know they’re wrong.”
The CMT broadcast included additional virtual performances by Gavin DeGraw, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Jennifer Nettles, Lady Antebellum, Lionel Richie, Michael McDonald, Randy Houser, Rascal Flatts and Vince Gill.
Parton’s performance of “Sweet Music Man” is below.