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Can You Sing Like Dolly?

The 15th annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition wants to know.

Honoring the songwriting of Sevierville, Tennessee, native Dolly Parton, the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition encourages contestants from across the nation to sing like Dolly. They have more than 3,000 songs to choose from, which can be adapted in his or her own vocal style.

The competition is part of Sevierville’s annual Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass event scheduled for May 17-18 with headliner Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, a barbecue cooking competition and the best bluegrass stars around.

“The Mountain Soul Vocal Competition does a great job showcasing new talent, while also proving that Dolly’s songwriting is incredibly versatile and can easily cross musical genres,” says Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing and Communications Amanda Marr. “Since Dolly Parton is Sevierville’s hometown girl, holding a competition that honors her songwriting ability was a natural fit for us.”

As far as event organizers know, this is the only vocal competition in the world that specifically honors the songwriting of Dolly Parton. Dollywood, her theme park just down the road in Pigeon Forge, assists with prizes for the winners.

The entry deadline for the preliminary round of The Mountain Soul Vocal Competition is April 5. Audition files, sent by mail, will be judged and 30 finalists (20 in the 13-plus category and 10 in the 12 and under category) will be invited to perform during the final rounds at Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass on May 18. Winning competitors will take home cash and prizes, including a recording session in Nashville and the guitar autographed by Dolly Parton.

For inspiration and a complete list of the songs Parton has written, click here. Contestants may submit up to two songs written by Parton per entry, but it’s not necessary or encouraged to impersonate her, either physically or vocally, during the competition. That means channel Dolly and just be yourself.

Christi Daugherty Ta
Confederacy of Dunce