Home Read Classic Album Review: Dolly Parton | Halos & Horns

Classic Album Review: Dolly Parton | Halos & Horns

The country queen mixes spirituality and bluegrass — along with a dose of Zeppelin.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


She’s still a world-class songwriter. She still sings like a boid. And despite being old enough to qualify for seniors’ rates in some quarters, she’s still as va-va-va-vivaciously bodacious.

Clearly, whatever Dolly Parton is doing, it’s working. And she works it again on the inviting Halos and Horns, the 56-year-old’s third in a series of superb bluegrass-tinged releases. True to its name, the old-timey set is concerned with spiritual matters, from the title track — a moral struggle set to a lazy downhome waltz of fiddles and banjo — to the gospel-flavoured Hello God and the country-blues John Daniel. But Dolly still knows how to raise a little hell, as she makes clear on the zippy Shattered Image and the playful I’m Gone. Nothing raises a bigger smile, though, than her cover of Stairway to Heaven — yes, that Stairway to Heaven — which builds from its delicate opening to a majestic bluegrass epic. The devil’s music never sounded quite so heavenly.