Dolly Parton Recruits Kelsea Ballerini for “RUN, ROSE, RUN”

Dolly Parton is revisiting audiobooks with her new “RUN, ROSE, RUN,” and she’s recruited fellow East Tennessee girl Kelsea Ballerini to join her.

Parton will headline the audiobook cast of “RUN, ROSE, RUN,” a Nashville-based thriller she co-wrote with bestselling author James Patterson. Parton plays Ruthanna Ryder, a beloved country icon on the verge of retiring, when a talented young singer (AnnieLee) wins over audiences at her bar.

Ballerini will read the part of AnnieLee, Parton’s character’s protégé.

Parton described AnnieLee as “a brilliant young singer/songwriter with a mysteriously dark past” and said she knew Ballerini “could bring the right balance of vulnerability, ferocity, and sparkling wit to the character.”

“I think our fans are going to love hearing us in a totally different way than they’re used to,” Parton said in a release. “And they’re going to love following our characters on their unpredictable journeys through the Nashville music scene and beyond. We just can’t wait to share our performances, woven into the work of the rest of the amazing cast of professional narrators, with ‘RUN, ROSE, RUN’!”

Ballerini said working on any project with Parton was a “dream job” for anyone, “especially a young artist in country music.”

“As a writer myself, to be asked to join this project that is also a collaboration with James Patterson – another incredible storyteller, not to mention best-selling author – has been truly thrilling,” Ballerini said. “It is an incredible privilege to voice the story and character of AnnieLee, a girl who has seen the worst of what people can do to each other but who still has the pure ambition to want bigger and better things for herself. She has an unwavering belief in her innate talent and relentlessly pulls herself from the depths of hell into finding her platform to share her gifts with the world.”

“RUN, ROSE, RUN” will be released March 7.