The Watson Twins Bring the Joy — and a Bunch of Dolly Parton Lookalikes — to Their Music Video for 'The Palace'

·4 min read

"The stars aligned. The cosmic force was right. It ended up working out," the sisters tell PEOPLE

Elizabeth O. Baker The Watson Twins
Elizabeth O. Baker The Watson Twins

Each and every year for who knows how long, acclaimed Nashville duo The Watson Twins have been asked to come to Brooklyn to serve as judges at the legendary Dolly Parton Look-Alike Contest, held every year at the equally legendary Mable's Smokehouse.

"And every year we couldn't make it," explains Chandra Watson, 48, during a recent interview with PEOPLE. "And then, we got a crazy idea."

The "crazy" idea had to do with the music video for their current single "The Palace," as both Chandra and her bandmate Leigh and their collective team had spent months tossing around ideas as to the treatment for the video and the possibility of using some Dolly Parton lookalikes.

So after a quick call to Mable's Smokehouse owner Meghan Love, the plan was made to film the music video right there during the sixth annual Dolly Parton Look-Alike Contest.

"The stars aligned," remarks Chandra. "The cosmic force was right. It ended up working out."

Elizabeth O. Baker The Watson Twins
Elizabeth O. Baker The Watson Twins

Indeed, the music video premiering exclusively on PEOPLE is a rip-roaring good time from the very start, with cameras following the real-life action of the contest — that is until The Watson Twins took the stage for their very first performance of the song.

"We literally had three minutes to get it right," laughs Chandra of their performance in the music video for the song set to be featured on their upcoming album HOLLER. "We had one pass and that was it. And we filmed it."

And while the event served as the perfect rainbow to paint the perfect music video with, it also pointed to the bigger picture of the song itself. "I think 'The Palace' is really about finding your community and your people," explains Leigh Watson, who grew up with her identical sister in Louisville, Kentucky. "It's about feeling supported or connected to your environment."

Elizabeth O. Baker The Watson Twins
Elizabeth O. Baker The Watson Twins

But certainly, it did help that the environment matched some of the details of the song too.

"The environment was just truly perfect to sing about the queen of the broken hearts and cigarette smoke and neon lights and tall boys and cheap tequilas," laughs Leigh, 48, of the song written about the actual Nashville Palace, one of the oldest honkytonks in Music City. "I had been to the Palace the night before we wrote the song and done the line dancing class and all the things. Even at the Palace here, you know, it's young, it's old, it's black, it's white, it's all types of people. And just the joy in the room is really infectious."

The only hitch the day of the video shoot was the weather — the temperature was 30 degrees outside with 60-mile-an-hour winds. But those harsh conditions didn't stop The Watson Twins or the many friends they surrounded themselves with that day, including none other than Bridget Everett.

"I was excited to join my friends The Watson Twins on 'The Palace' video," explains the star of the HBO series Somebody, Somewhere, 50. "I love their music, and when you add in Dolly Parton and drag how could I not be involved?"

The Watson Twins Bridget Everett
The Watson Twins Bridget Everett

It's certainly a sweet time for The Watson Twins at the moment, as throughout a career that began in 2006 when they burst onto the scene via their collaboration with indie songstress Jenny Lewis, they truly have seen their share of characters.

'We've been in this industry for a long time," says Leigh, who with her sister has worked as backup vocalists for artists such as Margo Price, Kings of Leon and Willie Nelson. "We're just chalking this moment up to our midlife crescendo. We have decided not to have a crisis and instead have a crescendo. "

"When you get to a certain age or level of experience within the industry, you start to realize the importance of the joy of creating with people is really what we're chasing," adds Chandra. "It's easy to get caught up in the muck and the mundane part of this business versus focusing on just the actual experience and the joy of it. Leigh and I have had enough experience to know that the real reason we do it is because it brings us joy."

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