Dolly Parton Week

Six Pack: Dolly Parton, Songwriter

December 2, 2008 // 7 Comments

With more than a hundred chart hits to her name, including 25 #1 singles and 57 top tens, Dolly Parton is the most successful singles artist in country music history.     But even before she was a hit on the radio as a singer, her songs had already been in heavy rotation.  They were just sung by different artists. Throughout the past five decades, there have been countless versions of her songs recorded, so narrowing them down to six is no easy feat.    It might be best to look at this list as an introduction, rather than a conclusion.    Either way, these six cuts are essential listening. “The Last One to Touch Me”, Porter Wagoner from the 1971 album Simple as I Am Parton and Wagoner recorded quite a few of her songs together on their various duet albums, but Wagoner had a hit on his own with a Parton composition Read More

Discussion: Back to the Roots

December 1, 2008 // 14 Comments

Dolly Parton’s award mantle was greatly expanded when she started recording roots albums in the late nineties and through much of this decade, including three Grammys since the release of The Grass is Blue.    Reconnecting with the mountain roots of her childhood and early musical output was a perfect fit. There are several artists I can think of who would benefit from a similar approach.   The one I’d be most interested to hear is Shania Twain.  I’ve been craving an acoustic album from her ever since this CMT Awards show performance with Alison Krauss & Union Station: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kClAZAYK3M Who would you like to see record a roots album?

Dolly Parton, Backwoods Barbie

December 1, 2008 // 4 Comments

Dolly Parton Backwoods Barbie Parton’s return to mainstream country wasn’t as long a wait as press materials suggested.   While she has championed this as her first regular country album in seventeen years, nearly all of her albums from the nineties fit that description, with the sole exception of 1999’s The Grass is Blue.    It’s true, however, that since that project, she’s been more closely associated with the mountain sounds of her Appalachian roots. This musical template was most effectively explored with 2001’s Little Sparrow, but was also referenced more recently on her Halos and Horns and Those Were The Days projects.  As top-notch as those sets were, they have been an extensive exploration of only one part of Parton’s musical personality.  With Backwoods Barbie, she widens the scope, revisiting both the traditional country and pop-flavored sounds she’s had success with throughout her career. Parton’s always been known for her writing, Read More

Discussion: 21st Century Trio

November 30, 2008 // 24 Comments

One of the landmarks of Dolly Parton’s career was the Trio album, her platinum-selling collaboration with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.   It was one of the few country albums in history to receive a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, and it won every major industry award, including the ACM for Top Album. Just as compelling was Parton’s collaboration with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, which went gold despite zero support from country radio.   After another collaboration with Ronstadt and Harris in the late nineties, there hasn’t been another collaboration of the sort from any major country artists. I think this concept needs to be updated for the 21st Century.  My vote is for a Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Carlene Carter album that fulfills the promise of their headlining 1996 tour. Which three artists would you like to see put out a trio album?

Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists: Dolly Parton

November 30, 2008 // 16 Comments

Dolly Parton Week kicks off today with the first of two Favorite Songs by Favorite Artists entries.  Mine will follow later in the week, along with Classic Country Singles, Retro Album Reviews, Six Packs, and an Ultimate Buyer’s Guide, all focusing on the legendary Hall of Famer. – Kevin There really isn’t anything that Dolly Parton can’t do. She has a voice like an angel, but is also capable of showboating with the best of them. She plays several instruments, has written more than her share of classic songs, is an actor, owns a popular amusement park and, most importantly, is involved in many philanthropic efforts. Starting with traditional annual viewings of A Smokey Mountain Christmas on the Disney Channel, Dolly Parton is one of those people that I loved before I even knew what music genres were, let alone country music in particular. So, while I was nervous about Read More