Matching gorgeous, willowy vocals with a sense of full-circle peace — and a timeless country sound — the stunning track is a gentle ballad with a huge presence. Arthur wrote and co-produced the track herself, then on a whim, asked Parton to join her, and she says now it’s a magic milestone on multiple levels.
“This song is so special to me for many reasons,” Arthur says. “Not only am I singing with one of my greatest musical heroes, but the sound of my mother’s heartbeat is heard throughout the song. I really wanted to arrange a choir section, so I brought in a few close friends and family members to sing. Having them included gives it an even deeper meaning as well.”
The unlikely duet partners first got acquainted when Arthur portrayed Parton as an 8-year-old actor in a production of her musical life story, Paradise Road, and then reconnected while Arthur was a contestant on Fox’s American Idol. So when the fellow native of East Tennessee reached out with an early version of “Hand Me Downs,” Parton jumped on board.
“I’d be honored to sing on ‘Hand Me Downs,'” Parton reportedly said. “Us East Tennessee girls gotta stick together.”
“This blood that’s running through my veins / Has given me life and my last name / From the inside out / I’m covered in hand me downs / All I’ve been given I’ll pass it on / I’ve learned to love who I’ve become / From the inside out / Covered in hand me downs,” goes the chorus.
“Hand Me Downs” is out now.