Listen to Dolly Parton's 'Never-Before-Released' Vocals on Rendition of 'In the Sweet By and By'
Dolly Parton has always had a special love for gospel music.
PEOPLE can exclusively share the country legend's rendition of "In the Sweet By and By" alongside Cordle, Jackson, Salley and Walker from the upcoming Country Faith Bluegrass album — a dream come true for the album's producer.
"When Deborah Evans Price and I first sat down to put together a 'wish list' of the artists we would love to have on the new Country Faith Bluegrass album, Dolly was at the very top!" Jerry Salley, who's featured on the song and produced the album, tells PEOPLE. "So, I reached out to my dear friend, Tom Rutledge, at Dolly's office to see if she might consider recording a new track for the project. When she found out that many of her friends would be included on the album, she kindly agreed."
Some of the other artists to be featured on the album? Vince Gill, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Alison Krauss, Dale Ann Bradley, The Del McCoury Band and Darin and Brooke Aldridge.
"As I was producing the project in 2020 (during the pandemic), Dolly preferred not to venture out to the studio but graciously offered to send me a never-before-released vocal of her singing the gospel standard, 'In The Sweet By and By,'" Salley says. "With one guitar accompanying the vocal, and told me I could take it and do whatever I wanted to with it as long as it met her final approval, of course."
"I took the original guitar off the track and literally arranged and built a full bluegrass band around her beautiful vocal, double-timing the tempo after the first chorus, and then adding myself, along with friends Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle and Bradley Walker to sing the harmony vocals as a bluegrass quartet reminiscent of an acoustic Jordanaires," he adds, saying that "Dolly loved the recording."
For Salley, he says it was "one of the greatest opportunities of my career" to produce a song with Parton's vocals.
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"I will forever be grateful to Dolly for trusting me and allowing me to work with her on this project," he adds.
This isn't Parton's first rendition of the gospel song. She included a rendition of it in her 2001 album Little Sparrow, along with several other gospel tracks.
PEOPLE also previously shared a clip of Parton performing "In the Sweet By and By" alongside her siblings for her variety show Dolly.
The new song comes a day after PEOPLE announced that Parton would be releasing her first novel Run, Rose, Run with James Patterson, along with a new album.
"I cannot be more excited about the release of my very first novel Run, Rose, Run with the great James Patterson. I also have a new album to go along with the book," Parton told PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "All new songs were written based on the characters and situations in the book. I hope you enjoy the book and the songs as much as we've enjoyed putting it all together!"
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