Dolly Parton had a long road to fame working in many different fields of the music world before finding success as a solo recording artist and later creating her own label, Dolly Records. She started writing songs as a young girl (the fourth of twelve siblings in a family that was described as “dirt poor”) in the eastern mountainous region of Tennessee. Her earliest collaborator was her uncle, Bill Owens, who helped her to get her start in the music industry writing songs for other artists to perform. It is not apparent from glancing at a picture of Dolly- she even jokes at her live shows to roars of laughter from her audience, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap”- but she is, in fact, one of America’s most prolific song writers and has received and array of accolades, nominations and awards throughout her career. One of her best known songs is I Will Always Love You, catapulted to iconic status by Whitney Houston’s rendition.
In 2016, Dolly Parton’s music career is still going strong as she releases her 43rd studio album Pure & Simple, showing the world that this septuagenerian has still got what it takes. In addition to this release, she has embarked on a tour of North America to promote the album. Most people her age are happy to settle down into their golden retirement years, but clearly there is no slowing this lady down!
The album is a collection of love songs penned solely by Dolly Parton. The first single from the album, also titled Pure & Simple, sets the tone. The track is aptly named; it certainly follows the common sense phrase “less is more”. The uncluttered instrumentation allows for the clean and clear sound of each country musician playing mandolin, pedal steel, guitar and drums to shine through supporting Dolly’s well paced and innocuous melody that beams “I just love you pure and simple, can’t believe you’re really mine”. Her vocal delivery is so earnest one can’t help getting caught up in the romance that she most likely wrote this love song for her husband of 50 years, Carl Thomas Dean.