Tributes and tribulations

Chris Stokel-Walker meets the (not) real Dolly and Olly

A mid-terrace in Bensham is a long way from the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but then Andrea Pattison isn’t quite Dolly Parton – at least not without the makeup, the dress and the wig she’s spent most of today trying to source from the north east’s shops specialising in hair extensions. The 44-year-old, though, makes a living by getting up on stage and singing country’s classics in the guise of Sevier County’s most famous set of lungs.

Photography by James Sebright

Photography by James Sebright

Husband Richard Rutherford has been by her side for the best part of a decade. He set up a wedding band; saw her on local television and at jazz clubs around the region; asked her to sing and eventually asked her out. Now, the wedding band is winding up – “which is something I never thought I’d hear myself say,” he admits – and Rutherford’s wife, a Sunderland girl currently living in Gateshead singing famous songs about the trials and tribulations that come from too-long Tennessee nights, has become the centre of attention.


Read the full version in The Northern Correspondent #5