My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Dolly Parton – ‘Blue Smoke’

blue smokeYou never know quite what to expect from a Dolly Parton record. Her career has spanned the gamut from, quite literally the sublime to the ridiculous, and the purest traditional sounds to the most blatant of pop. Happily her new single is Dolly at her most traditional, and it’s an excellent song too – the best thing I’ve heard from her since 2008’s ‘Backwoods Barbie’. She wrote the song herself, and it combines a joyful sound with a complicated emotional mood, with the protagonist positive about moving on from a bad relationship as he heads on up the mountains withe her “suitcase full of heartaches”

Opening with instrumentation copying the sound of a train, the song uses the metaphor of a train journey as the protagonist leaves a failed relationship.

I know I’m gonna miss you but I hope it ain’t for long
And i wonder if youll even gonna notice that im gone
Oh It hurts to know you cheated and it hurts to know you lied
But it hurts me even worse to know you never even tried
I packed my suitcase full of heartaches headin’ for the train depot
And I bought a one-way ticket on the train they call Blue Smoke

Dolly’s vocal is bright and engaged throughout (she sounds a generation younger than her chronological age). Halfway through the mod lifts with gospel style backing vocals and handclaps, as though the act of leaving and going back home has cheered her up. The arrangement is brilliantly played bluegrass. Leaving on a one way ticket never sounded so good.

The album of the same title has already been released in Australia, where Dolly has started her current world tour, and is out elsewhere in May. It sounds as though the album is likely to be more eclectic, but this single is fabulous. You can download it now, and I strongly recommend doing so. Radio may ignore it, but that’s their loss.

Grade: A+

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2 responses to “Single Review: Dolly Parton – ‘Blue Smoke’

  1. Razor X March 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I also like this one a lot.

  2. Paul W Dennis March 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I concur – it’s a pretty solid album , not quite an A+ but an easy A. This isn’t the best song on the album

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