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Dolly Parton

DollyPartonBlue Smoke
Dolly Records/Sony Music

Dolly Parton would be one of the best known country artists on the planet having gained fans that wouldn’t usually purchase records of her genre. At 68 years of age, Blue Smoke is her 42nd album and one that prompted her recent world tour.

Title track, Blue Smoke, comes in with many of the country staple’s covers with mention of trains, mountains and cheating, all wrapped up in a tidy bluegrass moment. Many have turned their hand to Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, yet Parton exceeds all expectations with her brightly delivered up tempo twang.

There is plenty of pop smarts throughout Blue Smoke, yet Parton still finds time to pull in a tune that brings a tear to a young father’s eye in Miss You-Miss Me and a stirring telling of Banks Of The Ohio. Parton is still able to match it with the pop divas on the epic, Try. Women half her age would give their right arm for her sass and assured delivery on this uplifting anthem.

Blue Smoke is an album that shows why Parton is still so revered and has such stadium filling capacity. Without the glitter and glamour of her stage show, Blue Smoke stands up due to the quality of song.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT