Concord RecordsYou may know Kristin Chenoweth as the accomplished actress who played Glinda in the Broadway smash Wicked. But did you know she’s also an Oklahoma native and a lifelong country music fan who performed at Nashville’s now-defunct Opryland USA theme park?

Just this week, the Emmy and Tony winner came to Music City for ABC’s annual CMA Country Christmas special. And today, her “female-empowered record” For the Girls comes out, with her country roots on full display: Both Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire duet with Kristin on the album.

“My original path was… country and gospel,” Kristin tells ABC Audio. “And then I went another way, with New York, and I’ve always come back. As long as Nashville has me, I come back.”

“I feel like it’s a huge part of my roots. It’s what I grew up with,” she continues. “Though I’m operatically trained, why shouldn’t I get to sing what is my soul? I asked Dolly and Reba because they’re my favorite.”

Though schedules made it impossible for Kristin to be face-to-face with her heroes, they still managed to be together while recording. 

“Thank goodness for FaceTime!” Kristin laughs. “Because we were both in different places. And thank goodness for FaceTime with Reba… [on] ‘I’m A Woman.’”

For the female-centered covers record, Kristin and Dolly do Parton’s biggest hit, “I Will Always Love You.”

“It made me feel good,” Kristin explains. “Dolly was like, ‘Oh I like that lick you did. Now I’m gonna do that lick.’ It’s like, ‘Oh man! She’s excited about singing this song.’”

“When… I got the final cut, I videoed her crying, and then she videoed me back…” Kristin continues.

“She said, “Are you crying ’cause you love it or hate it.?’ I said, ‘I love it.’

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