Stephen Colbert had one iconic guest on The Late Show and Dolly Parton gave one iconic performance that brought the host to tears. 

The Twitter account put it more succinctly, saying “@DollyParton sings ‘Bury Me Beneath The Willow’ and I think somebody is cutting onions.”

As per E!, the evidence was there for all to see during the virtual performance on Tuesday, October 20th. Colbert surely wasn’t the only one either. The country music superstar was giving an impromptu a cappella performance of ‘Bury Me Beneath The Willow’ as an example of the songs her mother would sing to her.

As she sang, Colbert was spotted with his glasses off dabbing his eyes with a tissue. He laughed, he cried, he smiled, he looked shocked. Colbert was clearly caught off-guard by Parton’s lilting singing.

The traditional folk song in question is also about someone asking to be buried underneath a willow tree before they kill themselves, heartbroken by a lover (bearing some similarity to her all-time classic song ‘Jolene’). Give a man a fighting chance, Dolly.

She noticed the impact her singing was having, quipping to Colbert, “I better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can’t finish the show.”

Colbert acknowledged the feelings of current times. “Like a lot of Americans,” he said, “I’m under a lot of stress right now, Dolly.”

 But, as he pointed out, “Isn’t it funny that sometimes there’s nothing happier than a cry?”

Parton was a guest on Colbert’s show to discuss her new coffee table book Songteller: My Life in Lyrics (out on November 17th) and her forthcoming Christmas album.

Parton also discussed her favourite songs she’d written, citing the title track to her 1971 album Coat of Many Colors as her number one. ‘I Will Always Love You’, ‘Down from Dover’, and the aforementioned ‘Jolene’ all got a mention as well.

Check out the full Dolly Parton interview with  Stephen Colbert: