Dolly’s Discography: Hello, I’m Dolly

One of my 2018 blog resolutions was to review an artist’s entire discography, inspired by the incredible blog The Diana Ross Project. I contemplated a few possible artists but in the end the chosen one could only be Dolly Parton. These posts will consist of track by track reviews of the solo albums in order of release.

In February 1967 Dolly Parton announced herself to the world with her debut album Hello, I’m Dolly. She was only 21 but had been singing since she was a child and trying to make a name for herself after moving to Nashville when she graduated high school. Initially her record label Monument hoped she could be a pop singer but her early singles failed to chart. She was paid $50 a week to write for the label and when songs she penned with her uncle Bill Owens became hits for other artists, Dolly was finally given a chance to record a country album. And boy, did she grab the opportunity with both hands, and she’s never let go since. Dolly wrote or co-wrote ten of the twelve songs, covering themes of sexism, adultery and heartbreak. This album generated her first hits and eventually brought her to the attention of Porter Wagoner. Continue reading “Dolly’s Discography: Hello, I’m Dolly”

Album Review: CupcakKe – Ephorize

When analysing the album of the year polls in December one thing was clear: rap is the dominant genre in music right now. Yet in 2017 albums by female rappers were almost completely shut out from critical and commercial success. In the Stereogum Rap Top 40 Albums of the Year only a handful of women appeared, most of whom were somewhat underground artists like Princess Nokia and Rapsody, in comparison to most of the men on the lists who are populating the mainstream.

Cardi B might have had one of the biggest songs of the year but she’s not an album artist yet, concerning herself with singles and mixtapes instead. Her music is going stratospheric but will she just end up being the one woman who is successful in this era (as per this Pitchfork ‘women in rap’ theory), or can she open the door for a wider range of female rappers to enter the music scene?

Rapper CupcakKe has made a promising start to the year, presenting her unique vision on this engaging and exhilarating album Ephorize. Continue reading “Album Review: CupcakKe – Ephorize”

Album Review: Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black

When The Staple Singers started out in the sixties they had a simple mission, as outlined by Pops himself: ‘We want to sing about what’s happening in the world today, and if it’s something bad, we want to sing a song to try to fix it.” Fast forward fifty years and the world is as broken as ever. You’d forgive Mavis Staples if she was disillusioned with the mission. As she says ‘lately, things are looking worse than they have ever looked.’ And yet, as she sings on this album, there’s no time for crying. If All I Was Was Black is an album concerned with bringing harmony and hope back to the poor huddled masses.  Continue reading “Album Review: Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black”

Album Review : Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket Of Wind Resistance

On the cover of A Pocket of Wind Resistance Karine Polwart’s profile merges with images of the natural world: birds, trees, leaves seem to be a part of her just like brain, blood and bone. Together with Pippa Murphy’s spellbinding soundscapes she has produced a hymn to motherhood, nature, life and death. A companion piece to her one woman theatre show Wind Resistance, to call this work an ‘album’ barely scratches the surface of the ambition of its songs, stories, poetry and politics. This is a piece of compelling conceptual art.  Continue reading “Album Review : Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket Of Wind Resistance”

Album Review: The Just Joans – You Might Be Smiling Now…

It’s shite being Scottish, especially in winter when it’s dark by four o’clock, the streets freeze over and everyone is in a worse mood than usual. Thankfully we have the new album from The Just Joans, the self proclaimed ‘laziest band in Scotland’, to brighten up the dreich days and nichts. Modern life might be rubbish but You Might Be Smiling Now… finds glitter in the gutters of Glasgow.  Continue reading “Album Review: The Just Joans – You Might Be Smiling Now…”

Album Review: Steph Cameron – Daybreak Over Jackson Street

Steph Cameron hails from Saskatoon, the same Canadian town as Joni Mitchell, she’s been a busker living on the streets and her debut album was called ‘Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady.’ So far, so perfect. ‘Daybreak Over Jackson Street’ lives up to expectations, proving that honest hearted folk songs can be a powerful force for good in the world.  Continue reading “Album Review: Steph Cameron – Daybreak Over Jackson Street”

Album Review: Lo Carmen – Lovers Dreamers Fighters

Australian singer Lo Carmen recorded her sixth album Lovers Dreamers Fighters in the Butcher Shoppe studio in Nashville, working with David ‘Ferg’ Ferguson (who has also recently engineered Sturgill Simpson’s album). Together with a host of fantastic musicians including Dave Roe, Matt Combs, Russ Pahl plus guests Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Emma Swift she has created one of the most distinctive Americana albums of the year.  Continue reading “Album Review: Lo Carmen – Lovers Dreamers Fighters”

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