sat 02/07/2022

Album: Dolly Parton - Run Rose Run | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Dolly Parton - Run Rose Run

Album: Dolly Parton - Run Rose Run

Dolly's ebullient soundtrack to her first-ever novel, written with James Patterson

Dolly: smart lines, punchlines and folky wisdom

I tried, I really did. Took a shot at my best, and fell short, Yup, I couldn’t get beyond the opening chapters of Dolly Parton’s first novel, written with that veteran of popular page-turnin’, James Patterson. The best bit for me was on the first page, and it was pure Dolly, but in 22 little words, not 80,000. “Is it easy? No it ain’t.

Can I fix it? No I cain’t. But I sure ain’t gonna take it lying down.”

That, more or less, is the country zen koan that encapsulates the adventures of the young heroine singer, Ms AnnieLee Keyes, budding on the precipice of stardom and catastrophe that is the plot of Run Rose Run. There’s no doubting there are secrets from the past for our heroine to escape from and run into, but as the chorus of one of the songs goes, “I’m gonna woman up and take it like a man”.

The album itself is good-quality Parton, 12 new original songs that provide the skeleton and sinews of the plot, the setting and the characters the novel stretches out to 400-plus pages. The music’s a hot mix of bluegrass and acoustic, down-home country, and her voice rubs its far-reaching purity with the gravel of age.

These 12 lean, vivid songs fit in to fewer than 40 minutes of playing time, starting off with the opportunity-grabbing “Run” before pitching into the soft country rock of “Big Dreams and Faded Jeans” that sets our heroine on the road - “put out my thumb and wish for luck” - and towards the album’s best duet, on the singalong “Demons” with Ben Haggard, one of the Sons of Merle, and he sure sounds like his old man. The high-octane “Driven” is a Dolly hymn to striving over surviving, complete with demon fiddle, while “Woman Up And Take it Like a Man” is sassy, funny, and twists its own country take on the gender wars with a big shout-out chorus. Oh, and don't skip the infectious bluegrass wisdom of “Dark Night, Bright Future”.

These are songs inbued with smart lines, punchlines and folky wisdom not a million country miles down the road from her old bosom buddy Willie Nelson’s recent run of albums with Buddy Cannon. They’ve duetted together, Dolly and Willie, but as far as I know, they’ve not sat down and written together and then got up and sung it. That would be something to write a novel about.

Tim Cumming's website / @CummingTim

The music’s a hot mix of bluegrass and acoustic, down-home country, and her voice rubs that far-reaching soprano with the gravel of experience

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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