Two of country music's most renowned icons, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, have made something of a resurgence in mainstream media this year.

McEntire released a book, Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots, and Parton did, tooBehind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones. She also has a rock record coming out later this month.

I had the opportunity to sit down with McEntire recently, and one of the things I wanted to know is whether she remembered the first time she ever met Parton.

"The first time I was ever in her presence was September 17, 1977. It was my first time at the Grand Ole Opry," she says, reciting the exact date she saw her in the flesh. "I was gonna get to do two songs, and they came to me and said, 'Well, we're gonna have to take one of your songs,' and I said, 'Why?' They said, 'Well, Dolly Parton just pulled in the parking lot and we're gonna give her one of your songs.'"

I could tell as McEntire was describing the experience that was being genuine — the memory was very vivid to her.

"I said, 'She can have both of them. Can I meet her?'" she recalls "I didn't meet her, but she did walk in front of me, and I thought, 'Oh my God, that's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life.' She kinda floated by. She was just like an angel."

One would draw the conclusion that the two ladies were in heavy competition during the '80s and '80s, but McEntire says no way — that wasn't the case at all.

"Not competition with Dolly. No. I am not a competitor with Dolly," she insists. "Dolly's Dolly. I'm a little over here. Dolly, you know .. she's everything. I've always looked up to her. I've watched. I've learned. I have listened."

McEntire went on to talk about her favorite projects, saying: "My favorite album, two of my favorite albums, is Dolly Parton's first album, Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, and Carole King's Tapestry. I love story songs. I love the intimacy of them telling you a private story about their lives through a song."

McEntire is currently on Season 24 of The VoiceShe has already signed on to coach a team on Season 25, too.

Evan Paul is the host of Taste of Country Nights, a syndicated radio show heard on more than 120 country radio stations nationwide, every night from 7PM to midnight. He plays the best new country music and interviews today's top stars, like Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Dan + Shay, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Lady A, Morgan Wallen, + more! 

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