Dolly Parton and Kelsea Ballerini Inspire ACM Awards With ‘Big Dreams and Faded Jeans’

There's nothing more timeless than big dreams, faded jeans ... and Dolly Parton.

Written by Naomi Parton
Dolly Parton and Kelsea Ballerini Inspire ACM Awards With ‘Big Dreams and Faded Jeans’
Kelsea Ballerini and Dolly Parton; Image Courtesy of Academy of Country Music

The thing about Dolly Parton is — just like blue jeans — she’s timeless and never goes out of style. Which is exactly why the host of this year’s 57th annual ACM Awards can effortlessly bring anyone in Vegas to their feet, and did, as she debuted her new single, “Big Dreams and Faded Jeans.”

Strumming her guitar, Dolly brought the sunny style of storytelling she’s loved for to the autobiographical song. Looking like a summer dream in her bright yellow button-up and — of course — blue jeans, she sang lines of “bustin’ at the seams” (no, not those seams) and admitted “my desire is always greater than my fear.”

Another blonde country queen in her own right, Kelsea Ballerini joined her for the second verse in a baby blue romper and cowboy boots. Having Ballerini onstage made the performance even more poignant: just two Tennessee girls who, without a doubt, have seen some of their biggest dreams come true. Probably while wearing blue jeans much of the time.

Watching tonight from all over the country, a new crop of little girls with big dreams were surely convinced that “Nashville is the place to be.” 

“Big Dreams and Faded Dreams” is part of a bold new project that includes Parton’s first ever novel, Run, Rose, Run, which the country legend co-wrote with best-selling author James Patterson. All about an aspiring country singer who’s songs hide dark secrets from her past, the project also includes a full album written and performed by Parton, with songs inspired by the story. Parton’s Run, Rose, Run novel came out today (March 7), and the album arrived on Friday (March 4).

Marking the first time a major country awards show aired exclusively as a live stream, the 57th annual ACM Awards took place on Monday (March 7) at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium. Co-hosted by Dolly Parton with Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett, the show featured more than 20 performances and was carried by Amazon Prime Video. Check out full coverage of the 2022 ACM Awards here, including a full list of winners.