Artist of the Month: Dolly Parton

Buyer’s Guide: Dolly Parton

December 30, 2008 // 17 Comments

Building a music collection used to be a far more difficult thing, a dogged hunt through record stores and mail order catalogs, hoping to find what you were looking for.   The advent of the internet made things easier, but it wasn’t until music could be downloaded digitally that a deep music collection could be built with far less effort. However, all of this available music can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to get a handle on the catalog of an established artist.  Country Universe is here to help.   Our Buyer’s Guides will walk you through the music that is digitally available for a given artist, starting with the essential purchases for new listeners, and working through the entire digital catalog until even the completist fan will be sated.    You can also sample each album in its entirety, and purchase any song or album that you like through Amazon’s MP3 Read More

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Dolly Parton

December 21, 2008 // 16 Comments

Earlier this month, my friend and colleague Leeann Ward shared her favorite songs by Dolly Parton.    I’m happy to now share mine. My respect for Parton as an artist knows no bounds.  I don’t think there is another figure in country music that is visible in so many of the contours of the genre’s history.    Given that I have a taste for country, pop, bluegrass, and damn fine songwriting, it was no small feat picking just twenty-five songs.    This is just a sampling of her deep catalog, one that is long overdue to be fully reissued.   Some of these tracks are hard to find, but most can be downloaded digitally or purchased on CDs, though you may need to scour compilations to find them. #25 “Those Were the Days” Those Were the Days, 2005 The title track from Parton’s third collection of cover songs is all bittersweet nostalgia, looking back Read More

Discussion: Recommend a Track – Christmas Edition

December 19, 2008 // 19 Comments

I wrote last week about my affection for sad Christmas songs.   The only upbeat Christmas songs I usually like are the spiritual ones.   But good Lord, do I love this piece of fluff from Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riEdwNtQpHs “With Bells On” is one of the only country Christmas songs that won’t make me change the radio station.   You can find it on Kenny & Dolly’s album Once Upon a Christmas. What Christmas track do you recommend tonight?

Classic Country Singles: Dolly Parton, “Coat of Many Colors”

December 7, 2008 // 16 Comments

Coat of Many Colors Dolly Parton 1971 Written by Dolly Parton When asked her favorite song among all those she has written, Dolly Parton always answers, “Coat of Many Colors.”   It’s a true story from her childhood that speaks volumes about her pride for her own heritage, much like Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” She writes in her autobiography that when she was a young girl, her family was “as poor as Job’s turkey.”  People from the area would drop off bags of clothing scraps for them to use for clothing for the children.   Parton’s mother usually tried to make the scraps match as much as possible when tailoring an outfit, but knowing Dolly’s personality, she decided to make a coat “out of the brightest, most different colors she could find.  This was going to be a colorful coat with no apologies.” As documented in the song, Parton’s mother told Read More

Discussion: Recommend a Track

December 5, 2008 // 12 Comments

Tonight’s Recommend a Track, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?”, has been recorded three times by its songwriter Dolly Parton.  First, as a solo tune, it was the B-side to the 1982 version of “I Will Always Love You.”   Then in 1990, it was cut as a duet with Randy Travis on his album Heroes and Friends. Tonight’s recommendation is the third recording of the song, this time with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. Finally, the song is recorded in a pure country style, with Harris singing lead.  It’s the best showcase for one of Parton’s best lyrics. What’s your recommendation tonight?