Album Review: Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ (Original Soundtrack)

The new Netflix movie ‘Dumplin’ begins with the heroine Willowdean Dickson in her car, singing along to Dolly Parton’s debut single ‘Dumb Blonde’, a song about subverting the expectations of those who judge you unfairly on appearances. The film, based on Julie Murphy’s wonderful novel, concerns a plus size teen who decides to enter a beauty contest as a protest and finds out she really is pageant material after all. Continue reading “Album Review: Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ (Original Soundtrack)”

Music Book Club November: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson

The subtitle to Wanda Jackson’s engaging memoir signals an important conflict at the heart of her career: she started as a country singer but found herself serendipitously transported to the world of rock and roll, firstly thanks to her boyfriend Elvis and more recently due to the dedicated fandom of the rockabilly scene. Yet she never left country music behind and you can tell as you read her life story that in her heart she wishes for more recognition from the genre she began singing in. Continue reading “Music Book Club November: ‘Every Night is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ by Wanda Jackson”

Dolly Parton’s Discography: ‘The Bargain Store’ – Album Review

In 1975 Dolly Parton found herself at the high point of her country music career, being in the middle of a run of four number one singles and finally winning the CMA for Female Artist of the Year. Her first album of that year was the controversial classic ‘The Bargain Store’, one of the strongest collections of songs Dolly was to release in this impressively productive period. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: ‘The Bargain Store’ – Album Review”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Love is Like A Butterfly

Love is like a Butterfly is one of the sweetest songs Dolly Parton ever recorded and was the title track to her second solo album of 1974, the follow up to Jolene. With its fluttering piano, Butterfly may not be a traditional country song but it celebrates love and nature in a simple way that fits with Dolly’s musical vision. It was her third number one in a row and became her signature song at the time, eventually chosen the theme tune to her first TV solo show in 1976. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Love is Like A Butterfly”

Live Review: Kacey Musgraves, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

Golden Hour may have divided the country music purists but one glance around the crowd entering the building on this chilly Glasgow evening proves that Kacey Musgraves’s move towards the mainstream is paying off. She has managed to keep the more mature country music fans and brought in a mix of younger, mainly female and LGBT fans, whose energy and glitter are welcome additions to any audience. Continue reading “Live Review: Kacey Musgraves, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow”

Album Review: Pistol Annies – Interstate Gospel

Five long years have passed since the Pistol Annies’ second album Annie Up and in that time Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley have all released critically acclaimed solo albums and been through some serious living. Thankfully Holler, Hippie and Lone Star Annie have finally found time in their busy and dramatic lives to reunite and record this new album, Interstate Gospel. And thank God they did because we need women’s voices in music, specifically country music, more than ever. Continue reading “Album Review: Pistol Annies – Interstate Gospel”

Under Her Influence: Songs Inspired by Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’

After writing my recent post about Dolly Parton’s 1974 album Jolene, I thought I would delve a little deeper into the title song and contemplate its influence on country music and beyond. Of course this song has generated endless cover versions from artists as wide ranging as The White Stripes, Reba McEntire, Strawberry Switchblade and Olivia Newton John but what I’m interested in is how Jolene has inspired the songwriting of others.

Jolene connected with listeners because it was a nakedly vulnerable song, full of fear, desperation, panic and even paranoia. Partly what makes this song memorable is the simplicity of that repeated use of Jolene, sung over thirty times and the ominous beat underneath. But it is the characters that Dolly created who really make this song so iconic. We sympathise with the narrator because everyone has doubted themselves or felt that stab of jealousy when your beloved notices another. And the title character is so vividly drawn, with her ‘flaming locks of auburn hair…ivory skin and eyes of emerald green’ that you can’t help wanting to know more about Jolene’s story.

Here is a brief list of songs, some which are written in direct response to Jolene, others which just echo this modern classic but all of which owe a debt to Dolly. Continue reading “Under Her Influence: Songs Inspired by Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’”

Dolly Parton’s Discography: Jolene

From the ominous opening beat of Jolene, it’s immediately clear that this song is unlike anything else Dolly Parton had ever recorded in her career. Sonically the groove is dark and menacing, with the repeated ‘Jolene’ sounding more and more desperate as the song goes on. The simplicity of the structure adds to appeal of the song – three chords and the truth is no cliche when it is done this well. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography: Jolene”

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