You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dolly Parton

Launching her first full-scale tour in more than a decade with this sold-out perf, Dolly Parton brought a good bit of that East Tennessee atmosphere with her. The audience breathed it in hungrily, maintaining a rapt silence through delicate songs like "Little Sparrow" and hooting unabashedly for party-starters such as "Orange Blossom Special."

With:
Band: Dolly Parton, Steve Turner, Kent Wells, Jimmy Mattingly, Richard Dennison, Gary "Biscuit" Davis, Brent Truitt, Terry Eldredge, Randy Kohr.

Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in the heart of her Tennessee mountain home. Launching her first full-scale tour in more than a decade with this sold-out perf, Parton brought a good bit of that East Tennessee atmosphere with her. The audience breathed it in hungrily, maintaining a rapt silence through delicate songs like “Little Sparrow” and hooting unabashedly for party-starters such as “Orange Blossom Special.”

Parton, who accompanied herself on guitar, mandolin, banjo and harmonica, devoted a good portion of the 90-minute set to winsome songs that beautifully showcased her fragile soprano (including an appropriately trembling take on Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush”). She did kick out the jams now and again, though, with the best of the uptempo numbers being a cover of Collective Soul’s “Shine” and her own “Jolene.”

Parton continues to draw a crowd in part due to her winning personality: Rather than lecture about the superiority of her current path, she prods listeners along with humor, noting that her band can play “bluegrass, folk and even hick-hop.” That intro, naturally enough, led to the singer hamming her way through “Who Let the Hogs Out?”

For most of the set, Parton hopscotched from her recent bluegrass albums — including the just-released Sugar Hill disc “Halos and Horns” — and her earliest material. In sharp contrast to most of her peers, the singer chose to relegate her crossover hits, rather than mistily recalled oldies, to the dreaded midset medley.

But even that ordinarily hoary interlude was treated to a spin when Parton called members of her backing band — the nattily dressed Blueniques — to centerstage to serve up five-part a capella renditions of “Islands in the Stream” and “Here You Come Again.”

It wasn’t so much that Parton was dismissing those songs, or the set-ending “I Will Always Love You,” for that matter. It was simply that, in like generations of country girls before her, she’s learned she must go where her heart leads.

Parton plays the House of Blues in Los Angeles on Aug. 7. The show is already sold-out.

Dolly Parton

Irving Plaza; 900 capacity; $50

Production: Presented by House of Blues Concerts. Reviewed July 10, 2002.

Cast: Band: Dolly Parton, Steve Turner, Kent Wells, Jimmy Mattingly, Richard Dennison, Gary "Biscuit" Davis, Brent Truitt, Terry Eldredge, Randy Kohr.

More Music

  • Sam Smith Cancels iHeartRadio Performance Due

    Sam Smith Pulls Out of iHeartRadio Performance Due to Vocal Emergency

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

  • Patti Davis Patti Davis, daughter of

    Patti Davis Defends Christine Blasey Ford, Recalls Sexual Assault by Prominent Music Exec

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

  • Benny Medina'The Today Show', New York,

    D.A. Declines to Charge Benny Medina With 2004 Sexual Assault

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

  • J. ColeWireless Festival, Day 1, Finsbury

    J. Cole Announces New Date for Dreamville Festival Postponed by Hurricane Florence

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

  • Singer Win Butler performs with Canadian

    Concert Review: Arcade Fire Perform Debut Album 'Funeral' in Its Entirety

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

  • Jakob Dylan2018 Film Festival Opening Night

    LA Film Festival: Jakob Dylan Talks Music Documentary 'Echo in the Canyon'

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

  • The Hex

    Album Review: Richard Swift's 'The Hex'

    Plenty of successful country performers have effectively turned their backs on Nashville in an effort to devote their attention to roots music, but few “conversions” were more surprising than Dolly Parton’s. Several years back, the brassy icon shed the trappings of Music City — save for those beloved, overdone outfits — and nestled deep in […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content