Dolly Parton often moves audiences with her voice and lyrics, but even she seemed surprised when late-night television host Stephen Colbert teared up at her impromptu song during their recent interview.

Parton appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night (Oct. 20) to discuss her new book Songteller, and the pair's conversation turned to music that Parton's mother, Avie Lee, used to sing to the now country legend and her 11 siblings. As Parton sang a few lines of an old bluegrass standard, "Bury Me Beneath the Willow," Colbert could be seen miming to others on set that he had goosebumps — and then, when she continued, he grabbed a tissue to dot his eyes.

"I better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can't finish the show," Parton concludes, after taking note of Colbert's emotions.

"Like a lot of Americans, I'm under a lot of stress right now, Dolly," Colbert says, laughing. "You got my tripwire right there, I'll tell you right there. That was pretty beautiful."

Parton admits that she and her siblings often cried with their mother would sing to them, to which Colbert asks her, "Isn't it funny that sometimes there's nothing happier than a cry?"

"Yeah, I think that cleanses your soul," Parton muses. "Water's good to wash it out. That's what tears are for, I think."

Songteller culls together the stories of 175 of Parton's famous songs, along with never-before-seen photos and memorabilia, creating a visual memoir and annotated songbook. To Colbert, Parton explains that the book earned its name "because I write songs, but I tell stories in my songs.

"There's just something about writing songs that's just kind of, like, my personal time with God," she says. "It's my quiet time; I just go into that little zone, and I just feel like I can express myself in ways that I don't need a doctor for, I don't have to have therapy, I can just kind of sing it all out, write it all out."

Nashville historian Robert K. Oermann co-authored Dolly Parton, Songteller with the country legend. The book is set for release on Nov. 17, but is available for pre-order now; a deluxe edition of the book will be release on Jan. 19, 2021, Parton's 75th birthday.

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