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

Belle and Sebastian: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador)

Belle and Sebastian: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador)

One of the must-see acts at Laneway, B&S from Scotland have over two decades quietly built a large fanbase for their gorgeously melodic, cleverly literate and often wry pop-rock which owes... > Read more

The Verlaines: Untimely Meditations (Flying Nun)

The Verlaines: Untimely Meditations (Flying Nun)

Of the original Flying Nun bands, the Verlaines – the flexible vehicle for Graeme Downes – are still the most ambitious. Downes' lyrical depth and mercurial melodies deliver... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF  . . . (2014): Kiss pokes tongue at honour? No!

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF . . . (2014): Kiss pokes tongue at honour? No!

Trust Gene Simmons of Kiss to inject some controversy into the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today (April 10, US time). While so many others are happy to take the accolade,... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE COMMERCIAL ALBUM: Well, if you're so smart . . .

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE COMMERCIAL ALBUM: Well, if you're so smart . . .

The code for a commercially successful pop song is relatively simple to crack: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, a different but similar bit (usually referred to as the bridge or middle eight), then... > Read more