Saturday, April 09, 2022

Kat's Korner: Dolly Parton still has the touch

Kat: Music moves us and it inspires us and it speaks to us.  Not really sure what this says about me, but I love "Snakes In The Grass."

Snakes in the grass
You'd better move fast
You'll be poisoned or be strangled to death
Their fangs, they bite deep
And their venom will creep
Inside you 'til you're gasping for breath
And you can't get away
From these God awful snakes
They will bite and suck 'til they bleed you dry
And when they're done with you
They'll be stalking someone new
Aw, trust me, you'll be lucky to survive
And they won't let you go
No, they're creepy, they're cold
So beware of the snakes in the grass (snakes in the grass)
They strike in a flash
So you better watch your ass
Or fall victim to those snakes in the grass

I really love the song.  In fact, it's my favorite song on Dolly Parton's new album RUN, ROSE, RUN.  Dolly wrote it and the other eleven songs on the album.  

When the album came out a few months ago, I was taking a pass on it.  I know why.  I'm lazy.  I don't pretend otherwise.  I'm also not a fan of James Patterson  I read pretty much everything I come across about John Lennon, for example.  Everything except Patterson's THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN LENNON.  Patterson's forever churning out something and the rare times I've made the mistake of picking up one of his word assemblages (I won't call them "books"), I've thought, "Well, it's good that he keeps trying to write."

RUN, ROSE, RUN is not just a new album from Dolly, it's also a book she's co-written with Patterson.  I wasn't going to read it so I figured I'd skip the album.  But Rebecca really loved it and I also heard a few songs when C.I. would be playing the new release.  

I have no idea the plot of the book and don't care.  I'll probably see the movie that they're supposed to make of it.  But, in the end I was able to enjoy the album without reading the book.  Still, writing a review felt a bit like cheating.  Like I didn't do the work, you know?  The student who wrote the book report by using CliffsNotes?

But then Toni was mad.  First for paying for ROLLING STONE.  She's subscribed for years.  And she hasn't read it in several months.  She was tidying up and saw all the issues she hadn't read and felt it was a waste of paper and money if she didn't at least do a quick skim.  She calls me up ticked with a review of RUN, ROSE, RUN that appears to say the album's good -- or maybe fine -- but not what the writer thought Dolly was capable of or should be doing.

Know what?  I'd love for Dolly to do a blue grass cover of "Tracks Of My Tears."  Know what else?  She doesn't on this album.  And guess what?  I'm okay with that. It's not where she's at in this moment.

And if RUN, ROSE, RUN was a bad or unsatisfying album, I might wish she'd recorded something else instead.  But this is a strong album.  While I love "Snakes In The Grass" the most, all the songs are achievements that will find you singing along and swaying.  

There is no filler on this album, boom-boom-bang-bang-pow-pow, she sings on "Firecracker" and it's an apt description of the album itself.  It's focused, it's driven and it's an achievement.

Maybe some are spoiled on Dolly?  She has released ove 250 albums -- that's studio, live, greatest hits, etc.  RUN, ROSE, RUN is Dolly's 52nd studio album.   And maybe some are a little nonchalant with her charms and talents, maybe even taking for granted just what she accomplishes on this album?

Her duet with Ben Haggard is everything a great country song should be.

Listen to that song, "Demons," and see if it doesn't have you thinking of a broken romance or two you've lived through. 

I've been fighting demons most of my life
So fighting with you makes no sense
I need some heaven and I've had enough hell
I'm an expert in pain and torment
So if you can't be with me
Then please just dismiss me
I guess when it's all said and done
We've all had our demons
I guess I was dreamin'
To think we could fight them as one


Music changes and evolves and we grow with it.  Things change.  For example, Dolly's EAGLE WHEN SHE FLIES was her final vinyl album of the 20th century.  Death of the lp, right?  Wrong.  Predictions proved to be premature.  Vinyl now outsells CDs (digital outsells both).  And starting in 2010 with BETTER DAY, Dolly's returned to releasing her albums on vinyl (and digital and CD). Things change but music remains and great artists know how to communicate.  Dolly's one of our greatest. 

Dolly and Loretta Lynn were among the women carving out space for women in country music early on with both singing and songwriting.  You can rightly note that Elle King, Carrie Underwood, Kasey Musgraves, Mindy McCready and others are  doing that today.  But you better include Dolly on that list because not only did she already do that, she's still doing that.  And country music is the better for it. 

If there's a problem with RUN, ROSE, RUN, I can't find it.  Wait.  Here's one: I love everything on the album.  And this review is winding down so that means I can squeeze in one more track.  Just one. A part of me really wants to go with the duet she does with Nichols ("Lost and Found") but I'm equally in love with "Blue Bonnet Breeze" and I'm going to go with that one because it's a story song and all of us Dolly fans know she does a story song like no one else -- even Cher in her 60s and 70s song cycles couldn't do a story song as strong as Dolly. 

Again, there's a lot to enjoy on this album, 12 amazing tracks.  If you check out RUN, ROSE, RUN,  you're going to love it.  And, as I learned, you don't have to read the book first.