Dolly Parton: Halos and Horns (Shock)

 |   |  <1 min read

Dolly Parton: Halos and Horns (Shock)

Dolly Parton has enjoyed a critical reappraisal these past few years for her excellent bluegrass and back-porch albums The Grass is Blue and Little Sparrow. She turned down that blowtorch voice and went back to her origins in traditional country, but also bought into the style of songs by Billy Joel, Steve Young and Cole Porter.

On paper that looks like an appalling mix, but Parton's smarts, the consistency of tone and the deep subtexts of guilt and redemption made them revelatory albums - even if you didn't like country or bluegrass.

Here she continues to explore a similar emotional terrain (the aching spiritual loneliness of Not For Me and her direct address to her maker on the sonic swell of Hello God), revisits a few personal pieces from her history in a bluegrass style, and offers a couple of unexpected and alarmingly good covers: Bread's warhorse If comes off as heartfelt, and she also offers a reconfigured (with banjo) and lyrically rewritten version of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven.

She also gets saucy on Sugar Hill (sensuality still interests Dolly), and amid the earnestness you can feel she hasn't lost her humour, although for the apocalyptic Raven Dove and Stairway she effectively brings out that blowtorch again.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Outer South (UN SPK)

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Outer South (UN SPK)

You don't have to get too far into this album -- maybe just a few chords in fact -- to click that this isn't the Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) of previous releases, the guy who started by juggling... > Read more

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

The Unthanks: Here's the Tender Coming (Shock)

Mercury Prize nominated or not, the previous album The Bairns by these Geordies -- then under the name Rachel Unthank and the Winterset -- did not do it for me, and hence didn't get posted at... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Christy Moore: The story teller and me

Christy Moore: The story teller and me

Car dealers certainly. Lawyers and politicians of course, when it best suits them. But musicians? I know they gild the truth or embellish it for some self-aggradisement, but I never really expect... > Read more

COMIX ARTIST ART SPIEGELMAN INTERVIEWED 1991: The Maus that Rawed

COMIX ARTIST ART SPIEGELMAN INTERVIEWED 1991: The Maus that Rawed

Art Spiegelman – like many authors one suspects – can’t resist looking for his book in stores. But the categories bookshops have are seldom very useful he says, and his book Maus,... > Read more