Dolly Parton, “Jesus & Gravity”

Dolly Parton is a pro.  Not only is her voice as strong as ever, at the age of 62, she can still expertly keep up with the modern sound of country music. While “Better Get To Livin’”, the lead single from her upcoming album Backwoods Barbie, was very good, this one is even better.

While this song was not written by her, it might as well have been. In this song, Dolly acknowledges that something more than “dumb luck” is responsible for her success. She sings, “Every time I get too high up on my horse, I fall.” She admits that there are times when she acts as though her success is all her own doing, but then something reminds her that it’s Jesus who “lifts her up” and Gravity that “holds her down.”

In less capable hands, this song could be trite, however, Dolly’s strength and humility penetrate quite sincerely and she delivers a powerful performance that is worthy of a church revival. In addition, Dolly, once again, proves that she can hold her own as the front woman of a gospel choir.

Written by Betsy Ulmer & Craig Wiseman

Grade: A

Listen: Jesus & Gravity

Buy: Jesus & Gravity


  1. I purchased the CD this week – very inconsistant effort – some good songs some very mediocre songs – my copy was purchased at Target which had live versions of “Jolene” and “Two Doors Down” as ‘bonus’ cuts

    All in all, I liked her bluegrass albums much more than this album

  2. Paul, I think your assessment of Dolly’s album is very fair. I think I’ll always be partial to her non-eighties music and her bluegrass albums. I bought her album as well, but not from target. I have to remember to always look at Target first! I have to listen to it a couple more more times, because it often takes me awhile to completely warm up to an album.

  3. Leeanne – you need to check several sources because Best Buy, Target, Circuit City and other chains sometimes have will different bonus items . Best Buy had one bonus track this time. Sometimes the bonus is free downloads which I shy away from (unless the price is the best going) as I have yet to download anything, sometimes the bonus item is a DVD or a sampler CD of some sort

    The Target version of Martina McBride’s best album, TIMELESS, had FOUR bonus tracks on it

  4. Yeah, I tend to like Target’s exclusive bonus tracks better. I have the Martina CD from Target and Brad Paisley’s Time Well Wasted, which had a CD with four bonus tracks.

  5. The iTunes version had bonus live cuts as well, of “I Will Always Love You” and “The Grass is Blue.”

    I’m going to review the album sometime soon, maybe this weekend. I’m still getting used to hearing Dolly’s voice outside of the mountain/bluegrass/roots thing she’s been doing for the past few years. Her voice is very much that of a 60 year old woman, and it’s weird to hear her in sonic settings where you expect her to sound like she did on “9 to 5.”

  6. I love the way her voice sounds now, but it seemed a more natural fit with the roots arrangements. I’m still working out how I feel about the album because I haven’t gotten used to the production yet. It’s growing on me.

  7. I really like this album, even though I do preferthe last few bluegrass albums put out (Little Sparrow, Halos & Horns,etc.).

  8. LOVE THIS ALBUM!!!!! I’m glad Dolly returned to her country music roots. Songs on this album are well written and Dolly’s voice is strong than ever!!!! I’m not a huge fan of the song “Only Dreamin'” but its okay. I love her covers of “Drives Me Crazy” and “The Tracks of My Tears.”

    Dolly Parton is truly the Queen of Country Music!

  9. This is one of those albums that WILL grow on you. I felt a little let down after listening to it the first time, but now I love it. “Jesus & Gravity” is supposed to be her highest debuting single since “Romeo” back in 1993. “Better Get to The Liv’n” spent over 16 weeks on the country charts, despite a low peaking position. This is a stronger effort from her than “Those Were The Days”.

  10. I really like the melody of “Jesus and Gravity,” and Dolly does a great job with it. But I wonder if it’s too Christ-packed even for country radio. There’s a lot of Jesus in there. I bought Dolly’s latest album over the weekend and was seriously bummed out by it at first. A lot of her songwriting seemed derivative of past efforts. But I was driving through a snowstorm at the time, so maybe my mood wasn’t so good. Subsequent listens have gone better, although I agree with other posts that it’s wildly inconsistent, which has always been an issue with Dolly’s more pop-flavored albums.

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