Black Music Matters Festival

Dolly Parton

Better Day – 2011 (Dolly)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Dolly Parton

If Dolly Parton were to host a summer replacement daytime TV show, her new record album could very well be the soundtrack. It is so totally Dolly - an hour's worth of can-do, I'm-country-gol'-dang-it-but-don't-forget-I'm-Hollywood, yet never abandoning the singer-songwriter that's been her overriding trademark.

It gets a little silly, which you expect from Dolly. In fact, the song she co-wrote with Mac Davis, Country Is as Country Does - gets a lot silly. The other 11 songs are so bubbly and upbeat (check Shine Like the Sun and Together You and I) that it's borderline annoying-like when she's a guest with Jay or Dave.

Breezy and cheery aside, from the get-go we're immediately enveloped by Parton's unmistakable voice, dipping and swaying over A-list musicians who remain in check to unleash Dolly's always-charming power, grace and personality.

And what show wouldn't be complete without guests? Besides Davis (that's the Where Have You Been segment), Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss chime in on the mellow Somebody's Missing You, while the bluegrass super-duo of Dailey & Vincent help out with Country Is as Country Does.

So, the album doesn't break new ground or push Parton's professional envelope into any new or compelling territory. At 65, she's covered just about everything within reach-remember her version of Stairway to Heaven? And really, so what? The album is a solid hour of entertainment-fun, catchy and a little insightful-just what you'd expect from Dolly.