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

Dion: Tank Full of Blues (Blue Horizon)

Dion: Tank Full of Blues (Blue Horizon)

Dion's first hits – the classics Runaround Sue and The Wanderer – came before the Beatles even got into a British recording studio and by then, in his early 20s, he'd already been... > Read more

Eric Clapton: Clapton (Reprise)

Eric Clapton: Clapton (Reprise)

It's fair to say Eric Clapton at 20, while playing with John Mayall's Blues Breakers, never gave much thought to a “career”. Yet with this new album he can reflect on more than 40... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Beef stir-fry with peppers by Womad 2014 guest Abundance Mutori of Mokoomba

Beef stir-fry with peppers by Womad 2014 guest Abundance Mutori of Mokoomba

Bassist Abundance Mutori of the Zimbabwean band Mokoomba is bound to brew up a musical stew when the band play at Womad in March (dates below), but he's also happy to offer this, the recipe for a... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY WINGING IT IN THE SEVENTIES (2014): Venus and Mars, At The Speed Of Sound revisited

PAUL McCARTNEY WINGING IT IN THE SEVENTIES (2014): Venus and Mars, At The Speed Of Sound revisited

If you're going to celebrate the end of a recording session why not have the party aboard the Queen Mary which is permanently docked at Long Beach, California?And why not invite a couple of... > Read more