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Album Review

Widely agreed upon as technically perfect, this five-year-in-the-making collaboration among these Oprytown divas should be a diamond — or three diamonds: a Trio II tiara. But this album, for all its harmonic, sopranic vibrato perfection, is not a glassy ride across the entire lake. Let Linda Ronstadt covet the tracks for her own album projects as much as she reportedly had — Dolly Parton walks all over this record in true Dollywood fashion, with Emmylou Harris and Ronstadt chirping deliciously behind her. There are plenty of exceptions to this, as "Feels Like Home" is really Ronstadt's, and Harris treats "You'll Never Be the Sun" with crystal, bitter prayer-book reverence. Even contributing fiddles and pedal-steel guitars drop by to accompany Parton without a flaw. It isn't her fault her voice, as distinct as the rarest and loudest bird in a forest populated by rare and loud birds, outsculpts the tone and impact of any song she sings with others. She and the gals score a soaring version of the old Carter Family classic "Lover's Return" in a heartbreaking three-parter; the baffling choice to include a Parton-heavy Neil Young standard about the survival and solitude of the dope-drenched '60s, "After the Gold Rush," is, well, baffling. Parton changes his lyrics to say, "I felt like I could cry," instead of voicing the song's former urge to procure some mind-altering substances. In general, a gem along the beautiful lines of cubic zirconium, from the most well-intended and loving of real-deal songbird girlfriends.

Biography

Born: 19 January 1946 in Locust Ridge, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

It's difficult to find a country performer who has moved from her country roots to international fame more successfully than Dolly Parton. Her autobiographical single "Coat of Many Colors" shows the poverty of growing up one of 12 children on a rundown farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. At 12 years old, she was appearing on Knoxville television; at 13 she was recording on a small label and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. Her 1967 hit "Dumb Blonde" (which she's not) caught Porter Wagoner's ear, and...
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