13 Amazing Singers Like Dolly Parton: Similar Artists

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Dolly Parton is a luminary in the world of country music. With her distinct high-pitched twang, her presence in country music — bedazzled with rhinestones and marked by her melodic storytelling — is difficult to emulate.

But Parton’s influence doesn’t stop with her; it reverberates across decades and resonates with both traditional and modern country audiences.

In this article, we explore 13 amazing singers like Dolly Parton who have incorporated her signature style into their own musical identities. Continue reading to discover these talented performers and their discographies.

Dolly Parton by RCA Records

1. Reba McEntire

As one of the most recognizable names in country music, Reba McEntire ascended quickly to superstar status. Known as the Queen of Country, she left an indelible mark on the music industry, with record sales that surpassed 75 million worldwide.

Throughout her illustrious career, McEntire’s talent and passion for country music haven’t gone unnoticed. She received three Grammy Awards and claimed seven CMA Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Her close friendship with Dolly Parton led to a collaboration on a revived version of “Does He Love You.” As two prominent female superstars, their influence continues to shape today’s country music scene.

2. Loretta Lynn

The famous coal miner’s daughter has honest songwriting roots that make Loretta Lynn relatable and a compatriot of Dolly Parton.

Both women emerged from humble beginnings and redefined country music. The lyrics touch on the raw realities of rural life. Songs like Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” resonate with poverty, family, and resilience.

Their powerful music, laced with storytelling, lends a voice to many fans. Award-wise, Lynn’s portfolio contains multiple Grammy Awards, and she was the first woman to win the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year. Both artists’ journeys meet and cross from poverty to country music royalty, solidifying their statuses as icons in the genre.

3. Tammy Wynette

The First Lady of Country Music Tammy Wynette established an enduring legacy with her heartfelt songs. Drawing comparisons to Dolly Parton’s style, Wynette explores love, adversity, and empowerment to tell her story.

Signature tracks like Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” and Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” transcend time and resonate with listeners across generations.

Beyond their artistry, both singers bravely navigated the male-dominated musical era. Wynette’s truthful tales unveil women’s hardships and make her an influential voice.

Having secured many awards, including the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Wynette’s impact alongside Parton continues to shape country music by amplifying women’s stories and their experiences.

4. Patsy Cline

With her deep, resonant voice, Patsy Cline stands as a pillar in country music, much like Dolly Parton.

Cline’s poignant, timeless tracks, like “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces,” rival the emotional resonance of Parton’s classics. Both artists seamlessly capture the raw emotions tied to love, dreams, and heartache.

Cline’s groundbreaking achievements include being the first woman inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Parton and Cline never had a chance to work together due to Cline’s untimely passing, but they shared a mutual admiration.

Their undeniable synergy and profound contributions make them iconic figures on the pages of country music history.

5. Emmylou Harris

Next is Emmylou Harris. Her ethereal voice blends seamlessly with folk and bluegrass and intertwines with Dolly Parton’s recognizable twang. The duo collaborated on the acclaimed Trio albums alongside Linda Ronstadt.

One of Harris’s standout tracks, “Boulder to Birmingham,” showcases her emotive vocals and lyrical prowess, echoing the heartfelt narrative and memorable melody found in Parton’s iconic song “Jolene.”

Throughout her career, Harris’s talent has been recognized with numerous accolades. With 14 Grammy Awards and an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Harris’s legacy, much like Parton’s, is a testament to the reign of authenticity in music.

6. Shania Twain

The Queen of Country Pop, Shania Twain’s skill at blending country and pop has drawn comparisons to Dolly Parton’s crossover appeal. Both women helped to transform the country genre, making it accessible to global audiences.

Like Parton, Shania’s music defines a perspective on love, independence, and womanhood. Twain’s megahits, including “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “You’re Still the One,” mirror the catchiness and depth of Parton’s catalog.

With five Grammy Awards and the title of best-selling female country artist of all time, Twain’s trajectory meets Dolly’s in breaking barriers and redefining country music.

Read next: Our post on the greatest female country singers of the 1990s.

7. Carrie Underwood

Since her American Idol victory, Carrie Underwood‘s vocals and compelling narratives established her as a modern counterpart to Dolly Parton. She’s also Sunday Night Football’s favorite kickoff singer.

Both singers excel at weaving tales of love, faith, and resilience. Underwood’s tracks, like “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats,” resonate with the expressive power of Parton’s classics. Carrie and Dolly unite their efforts to inspire and uplift their fans on their perspective platforms.

Having clinched seven Grammy Awards and numerous country music awards, Underwood’s influence is reminiscent of Parton’s lasting impact on the genre.

8. Faith Hill

With her commercial success spanning both the country and pop music charts, Faith Hill has become one of the most successful country music artists of her generation.

Hill’s musical repertoire includes numerous chart-topping hits, such as “Breathe” and “This Kiss.” These songs, much like those of fellow country icon Dolly Parton, are celebrated for their poetic exploration of love and the human condition.

Beyond her music career, Hill has also made a name for herself in acting, a move that mirrors Parton’s own transition into film with the hit movie 9 to 5. Hill’s acting credits span across film and television.

9. Tanya Tucker

Our next singer, Tanya Tucker, shares a strong kinship with Dolly Parton with her distinctive, gritty vocals and unapologetic stance. Her portfolio includes dozens of top-10 and top-40 songs.

Both women stormed the country scene at a young age — Tucker made it big with “Delta Dawn” at just 13. Their music touches upon love but doesn’t shy away from adversity and responds with a resilience that resonates deeply with their fan base.

Over the years, Tucker’s contributions received multiple awards, including two recent Grammy Awards for her successful comeback album While I’m Livin’. Just as Parton’s legacy is entrenched in country folklore, Tucker’s tenacity and talent solidify her as a country music icon and unforgettable singer.

10. Crystal Gayle

Kentucky native Crystal Gayle is instantly recognizable for her long, flowing locks and classic voice, often drawing comparisons to Dolly Parton in terms of musical eloquence.

Both artists merge country with pop elements seamlessly. Gayle’s hits, like “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” and “Talking in Your Sleep,” signify her versatile artistry mirroring Dolly’s crossover appeal. Their career transcends decades, genres, and many awards, with Gayle securing a Grammy Award and multiple Country Music Association awards.

Gayle and Parton represent the quintessence of grace and talent in country pop and touch fans across many generations. They continue to inspire and influence the music world with their enduring charm and musical prowess.

11. Miranda Lambert

Next up is Miranda Lambert, a force to be reckoned with in the country music scene. Known for her fiery lyrics and strong vocals, she has been compared to Dolly Parton for her ability to blend country and pop elements in her music.

Lambert’s songs, like “The House That Built Me” and “Bluebird,” showcase her talent for storytelling and emotional depth, much like Dolly’s poignant tunes. Her music transcends genres, resonating with both country and pop music fans.

In addition to her solo career, Lambert is part of the country music group Pistol Annies. With two Grammy Awards and a record number of ACM Female Vocalist of the Year wins, Lambert’s imprint on country music is undeniable.

12. Martina McBride

The petite powerhouse Martina McBride also draws comparisons to Dolly Parton for her vocal range and commitment to storytelling through song.

Like Parton, McBride can deliver ballads that tug at the heartstrings. Her “Concrete Angel” and “Independence Day” are powerful examples of her capacity to spotlight pressing societal issues.

Beyond music, McBride is generous in philanthropy. With her initiative Team Music Is Love, she mirrors Parton’s charitable spirit, evident in the latter’s Imagination Library project.

Garnering multiple awards, including the Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year (which she’s won four times), McBride’s embodies country music is unquestionably on par with the legendary Dolly Parton.

13. Anne Murray

We close with Anne Murray. Her beautiful voice led the way for Canadian icons like Celine Dion and Shania Twain. Dominating the country scene for decades, Murray also crosses genres from pop to country and adult contemporary music.

Parton and Murray have unmistakable voices and a gift for choosing lyrics that speak directly to their audiences. Murray’s chart breakers “Snowbird” and “You Needed Me” deliver the same messages as Parton’s “Little Sparrow” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Murray was the first Canadian woman to win a CMA Award for Album of the Year 1984 and set records as Parton has throughout her career.

Summing Up Our List Of Artists Like Dolly Parton

As evidenced by these singers, Dolly Parton’s legacy shines as a beacon of artistry, resilience, and innovation in the ever-evolving world of country music.

Whether through heart-wrenching ballads, assertive anthems, or tales of love and loss, these women have stood as a testament to Parton’s enduring impact on country music.

Who have we missed that should be on this list? Let us know, and we’ll add them for you!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.