8 | Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors


Native Kentuckian storyteller, choreographer, and live performer Mark Lamb counts the ways that he’s flown on the tails of Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors.” In his warm ‘n’ buttery voice, Mark waxes reminiscent about his brave journey from being a faux fur-sporting third grader, to a fully actualized performance artist and creative soul out and about in NYC today.

About Mark Lamb

Storytelling comes as natural to Mark Lamb as country ham on a biscuit. Hailing from Sturgis, Kentucky, Mark hails from a long line of Southern storytellers. He now resides in New York City where his work as a choreographer and performer has been recognized by The New York Times as “quietly celebratory,” “gently charming,” and as an all-around “expression of communal joy”.

Mark is a 6-time storytelling slam competition winner at the Peabody Award winning Moth storytelling series, and the 2016 Grand Slam champion for the state of Kentucky. Mark’s show “A Boy and His Dolly” was sanctioned by Dolly herself as an official event for the Dollywood Foundation. The show has taken many forms, touring throughout the U.S.A and around the world. See www.marklambdance.org and www.magnoliamouth.com for more about Mark, his projects, his performances, and his passions.


Five Fabulous Extras Regarding Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors”

1. Dolly Parton, who was born on January 19th, 1946, just turned 71 years old. Happy birthday, Dolly! She was just 33 years old when she sang Mark’s favorite version of “Coat of Many Colors” on Country at the BBC in 1979. She released the song in 1971 when she was just 25, and was younger still- – 23 or so – when she scribbled down the song’s lyrics on the back of a dry cleaning receipt while on the road on a tour bus in 1969. Here she is as a child, pictured around the time that she first got her coat of many colors, quilted from scraps by her loving, hardworking mother of 12 children. The original coat has long since been deconstructed and recycled into unknown afterlives as pieces of other garments, but a replica stands proudly on display at the Dollywood theme park and entertainment center in Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

2. Check out Mark’s first winning Moth StorySLAM about Dolly, told in NYC on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at the HousingWorks Bookstore and Café in Soho, Manhattan on a night whose theme was “MAGIC.” He would later title the story “A Boy and His Dolly,” and expand it into a grand, shapeshifting show that he continues to take around the world. Dolly herself has sent her blessings, in the form of a video montage to open the performance!

3. Watch Dolly speak eloquently about her own story behind “Coat of Many Colors,” her personal favorite out of the 3,000+ songs she has written.

4. A made-for-TV movie entitled “Coat of Many Colors” aired on NBC in December 2015, and was viewed by over 13 million people, marking the highest viewership for any network television film since 2012! Here’s Dolly in a duet called “Angel Hill” with Alyvia Alyn Lind, the actress who played her childhood self. The song, which Dolly wrote for the movie, expresses the anticipation she had at age 9 for a new baby sibling, only to suffer the tragedy of losing the child before birth to miscarriage.

5. Dolly has a passion for literacy that runs as strong as her love and talent for music. This is most evident in her Imagination Library – a project and an organization dedicated to providing books, happiness, reading, and educational opportunities to children in under-served communities. After the release of her NBC movie, she also adapted the film into a children’s book by the song’s same name in October 2016. Carrying a strong message of anti-bullying, the book comes with a download of new song pointedly named “Making Fun Ain’t Funny,” and is starting to be used in schools.

Now, weren’t Mark’s recollections like chicken soup for your ears and souls? Subscribe to us on iTunes to hear future stories of music memories told by extraordinary folks. Your ratings and comments help us a lot in connecting with you, our audience, so don’t you hold back!

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