Widely regarded as the country genre's only completely a cappella group, Home Free are pioneers within the format. When it comes to their own influences, though, the band looks to an icon whose musical impact is so great that she sums up what country music means to them.

That artist is Dolly Parton, who not only helped shape the country genre as a whole: She also represents one of the bandmates' formative memories of falling in love with country music. At the 2019 CMA Awards, Parton was also co-hosting the ceremony with fellow music icons Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood; her hosting gig at that year's event had many of the evening's musical attendees reflecting on Parton's impact on the format, and Home Free were no exceptions.

Read on as the band explains why, to them, Parton sums up the meaning of country music.

I mean, it's hard to say. I would say Miss Dolly Parton is the embodiment of country music, and the fact that she's hosting tonight is a dream come true for us. We have not met her yet, but we love everything she does, from her acting to her music.

My mother, when I was a child, played Dolly so many times. I fell asleep to her version of "I Will Always Love You." "Version" -- I mean, she wrote it. So it's the only version, right?!

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