'Halos & Horns' Triumphs
By Duane Gordon
June 3, 2002
The "Halos" part of the title is right on target, as Dolly's upcoming CD is 57-and-a-half minutes of pure heaven! The 14 cuts run from somber ballads to uptempo foot-stompers, with emotion and spirituality thrown in for good measure. The most moving cuts are the soul-jarring "Hello God" and "Raven Dove," both written on Sept. 12, putting to melody the sentiments of many Americans and our internal fight to digest last year's horrific attacks. "Sugar Hill" is a fun and lively tune, with an especially effective portion of the song's arrangement allowing Dolly's reverberating vocals to be backed just by a strong bass singer. "I'm Gone," another uptempo treat, is hilarious, with Dolly explaining to her now-ex that he is free to tell people that she was abducted by a UFO or went into witness protection, but whatever he tells others, he can be sure and say that she's gone. "These Old Bones" is an entertaining story-song featuring Dolly "channeling" her mother's voice in the tale of a bone-throwing mountain fortune teller with one of her classic plot twist endings. Her re-recording of "What A Heartache" is achingly beautiful, with instrumentation similar to her re-recording of "Down From Dover" from Little Sparrow, and "Not For Me" flows with bittersweet emotion. Her cover of Bread's "If" is simply gorgeous. But, by far, the highlight of the album is its finale, her six-and-a-half-minute treatment of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven," which starts out with acoustic guitars softly playing the rifts familiar to just about every ear in the world as Dolly's angelic soprano emotes the visions of its poetic verses. Dripping with solemn violins, the song builds and builds, adding drums and a background choir to a bluegrass revival. Getting this CD is akin to buying a stairway to heaven, as its sounds, both sweet and heart-wrenching, are as close as the afterlife that most of us will hear while on this world. I smell Grammy No. 8!
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'Halos & Horns'
Dolly's third bluegrass release, Halos & Horns, is in stores now!
Get your copy here!
Read Dolly's own track-by-track commentary on the album here!
Read Sugar Hill Records' story by Bob Oermann about the CD here!
Read Sugar Hill's press release about the tour here!
Read the album's complete liner notes here!
Visit Sugar Hill's page here.
Listen to the full album on Netscape's Online Listening Party here
Get the sheet music songbook today! Click here!
The Basics The Tour The Band Reviews And More
Release Date: July 9, 2002
Producer: Dolly Parton
Label: Sugar Hill Records/Blue Eye Records
Track Listing: (underlined tracks feature samples from Sugar Hill Records)"Halos and Horns" (Dolly Parton)
"Sugar Hill" (Dolly Parton)
"Not for Me" (Dolly Parton)
"Hello God" (Dolly Parton)
"If" (David Gates)
(originally recorded by Bread)
"Shattered Image" (Dolly Parton)
(originally recorded on All I Can Do)
"These Old Bones" (Dolly Parton)
"What a Heartache" (Dolly Parton)
(originally recorded on Rhinestone and Eagle When She Flies)
"I'm Gone" (Dolly Parton)
"Raven Dove" (Dolly Parton)
"Dagger Through the Heart" (Dolly Parton) * the first single (download full song here and see a video clip here!)
"If Only" (Dolly Parton)
"John Daniel" (Dolly Parton)
"Stairway to Heaven" (Jimmy Page/Robert Plant)
(originally recorded by Led Zeppelin)
The Blue-niquesGary Davis - Acoustic guitar, banjo
Kent Wells - Acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Robert Hale - Acoustic guitar
Randy Kohrs - Dobro, wabash guitar, Weissenborn guitar
Jimmy Mattingly - Fiddle, viola
Brent Truitt - Mandolin
Terry Eldredge - Acoustic bass
Steve Turner - Drums, washboard, tambourine, bones
Bob Carlin - Clawhammer banjo
Darrell Webb - Mandolin
David Sutton - Harmonica
Richard Dennison - Piano
Harmony Vocals: Beth Stevens, April Stevens, Darrell Webb, Richard Dennison, Randy Kohrs, Terry Eldredge, The Kingdom Heirs (Steven French, Arthur Rich, David Sutton, Eric Bennett), Vicki Hampton, Jennifer O'Brien, Robert Hale
News And Reviews
Read the Dollymania review at left!
March 25: CMT on Wednesday announced the final four nominees in each category for the 2004 Flame Worthy Music Video Awards, and Dolly and Mindy Smith didn't make the cut. Dolly had received two preliminary nominations in a field of eight videos for Flame Worthy Female Video Of The Year for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns and for Flame Worthy Cameo Of The Year for her appearance in Smith's "Jolene" from Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs Of Dolly Parton, but neither made the final list. Earning nominations for the female honor are Martina McBride for "This One's For The Girls," Reba for "I'm Gonna Take That Mountain," Sara Evans for "Perfect" and Shania Twain for "Forever And For Always." Getting nominations in the cameo category are Jake the Dog in Dierks Bentley's "What Was I Thinkin'," Joe Don's rear end in Rascal Flatts' "I Melt," Motocross rider Kenny Bartram and BMX rider Kevin Robinson in Chris Cagle's "Chicks Dig It" and the cast of Brad Paisley's "Celebrity" (Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi, Little Jimmy Dickens, Trista Rehn and William Shatner). Likewise, Smith's "Jolene" had gotten a preliminary nod for Flame Worthy Breakthrough Video Of The Year, and its director, Trey Fanjoy, for Flame Worthy Video Director Of The Year, but neither was in nominations announced this week. Toby Keith headed up the nominations with four, followed by Kenney Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Alan Jackson with three each. Voting for the final nominees continues through April 18, and awards will be handed out live on CMT in the ceremony hosted by Dolly April 21.
Feb. 25: Dolly snagged two nods in the preliminary nominations for the 2004 CMT Flame Worthy Video Awards, and Mindy Smith's "Jolene" from the tribute project Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs Of Dolly Parton also is up for some awards as well. Dolly will host and perform on the live awards telecast from Nashville on April 21. Dolly is one of eight preliminary nominees for Flame Worthy Female Video Of The Year for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns and is up for a new category, Flame Worthy Cameo Of The Year, for her appearance in Smith's "Jolene." On the female side, other preliminary nominees are Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Reba, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Shania Twain. For the cameo side, other hopefuls are the cast of Brad Paisley's "Celebrity," Marilu Henner, the cast of Chris Cagle's "Chicks Dig It," Jake the Dog for Dierks Bentley's "What Was I Thinkin'," Joe Don's rear end in "I Melt," Gena Lee Nolin and Bob Eubanks. "Jolene" puts Smith up for Flame Worthy Breakthrough Video Of The Year, and its director, Trey Fanjoy, is up for Flame Worthy Video Director Of The Year. Votes may be cast here through March 21 (you must register as a CMT.com user first, though). Final nominees, four in each category, will be announced March 24, with votes from that date through April 18 to choose the winners. CMT.com also features two awesome new "red hot" Dolly shots on the site to promote the awards -- one on the main page here and one on the Flameworthy news page here. They are also available in the site's Dolly photo gallery available here.
Feb. 9: The late June Carter Cash's "Keep On The Sunny Side" bested Dolly's "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns for the Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy at Sunday's awards show. Dolly, who has earned 41 career nominations and won seven Grammy Awards in the past, also faced Patty Loveless' "On Your Way Home," Martina McBride's "This One's For The Girls" and Shania Twain's "Forever And Always."
Dec. 5: Dolly earned her 41st Grammy nomination when the potential winners for next year's awards were announced on Thursday morning. Her single "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns will face off against the late June Carter Cash's "Keep On The Sunny Side," Patty Loveless' "On Your Way Home," Martina McBride's "This One's For The Girls" and Shania Twain's "Forever And Always" for Best Female Country Vocal Performance when awards are handed out in Los Angeles on Feb. 8. It is her 18th nomination in a category which she has previously won three times. She has received a total of seven Grammy Awards, most recently in this same category when "Shine" from Little Sparrow earned her the trophy in 2002.
Sept. 19: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls back off the bluegrass albums chart after logging in a 56th chart week last week at No. 14, Billboard announced Thursday in the Sept. 27 charts. It had previously peaked at No. 2 bluegrass, No. 4 country.
Sept. 12: Dolly's Halos & Horns re-enters the bluegrass albums tally for a 56th chart week, coming in at No. 14 in the Sept. 20 numbers, Billboard announced Thursday. Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns falls out of CMT's weekly Top 20 Countdown, the network announced Thursday night. The video, which was No. 19 last week, spent 11 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 7.
Sept. 10: The International Country Gospel Music Association recently announced the winners of its annual awards program, the 47th Annual Gold Cross Awards, and Dolly took home Single Of The Year for "Hello God" from Halos & Horns. Congratulations! Thanks, Tony!
Sept. 5: Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns falls seven notches on CMT's weekly Top 20 Countdown, the network announced Thursday night. The video drops to No. 19 in its 11th week. It had peaked at No. 7.
Aug. 22: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls back off the 15-position bluegrass albums chart Aug. 30 after coming in at No. 15 the previous week, Billboard announced Thursday. It had peaked at No. 2 and spent 55 weeks on the chart.Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns continues its march toward the top of CMT's weekly Top 20 Countdown, moving up two spots to No. 7 in its ninth week, the network announced Thursday night.
Aug. 15: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses two spots to come in at No. 15 on the bluegrass albums chart in its 55th week for the Aug. 23 tally, Billboard announced Thursday. Dolly's psychedelic video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns shoots into the Top 10 on CMT's weekly Top 20 Countdown, moving up two spots to No. 9 in its eighth week, the network announced Thursday night.
Aug. 9: Dolly's psychedelic video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns continues to inch toward the Top 10 on CMT's weekly Top 20 Countdown, moving up one more notch to No. 11 this week, the network announced Thursday night.
Aug. 8: Dolly's Halos & Horns moves up two to No. 13 on the bluegrass albums chart in its 54th week for the Aug. 16 numbers, Billboard announced Thursday.
Aug. 1: Dolly's Halos & Horns returns to the bluegrass albums chart in the Aug. 9 tally, coming in at No. 15 on the 15-position list, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD, which peaked at No. 4 country and No. 2 bluegrass, is in its 53rd week on the bluegrass side. Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns moves up one more spot this week to No. 12 on the CMT Top 20 Video Countdown, the network announced Thursday night. The video is in its sixth week on the chart. (Remember to help get Dolly played more! Request the video on CMT's MWL here and Great American Country's countdown here!)
July 26: Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns moves up one more spot this week to No. 13 on the CMT Top 20 Video Countdown, the network announced Thursday night. The video is in its fifth week on the chart. (Remember to help get Dolly played more! Request the video on CMT's MWL here and Great American Country's countdown here!)
July 25: After a full year on the bluegrass albums chart, Dolly's Halos & Horns falls off that 15-position tally in the Aug. 2 numbers, down from No. 14 the previous week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD had spent 52 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 2.
July 23: On the August European Christian Country Chart from The Netherlands, Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns jumps up 27 spots to No. 3 in just its second month on their chart. Unfortunately, her Dottie Rambo duet on "Stand By The River" falls off the 100-position chart, down from No. 20 last month. That song had peaked at No. 12 and spent a total of six months on the foreign chart.
July 22: Billboard on Monday finally updated the bluegrass albums chart, and Dolly's Halos & Horns falls one spot on the July 26 tally to No. 14 in its 52nd chart week. The CD, which has spent a full year on the chart, peaked at No. 2.
July 19: Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns moves up two more spots this week to No. 14 on the CMT Top 20 Video Countdown, the network announced Thursday night. The video is in its fourth week on the chart. (Remember to help get Dolly played more! Request the video on CMT's MWL here and Great American Country's countdown here!)
July 11: Dolly's Halos & Horns gains one on the bluegrass albums chart to reach No. 13 in its 51st chart week, Billboard announced Thursday in the July 19 charts.The video for Dolly's "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns moves up one more spot to No. 16 in its third week on the CMT Top 20 Countdown, the network announced Thursday night.
July 5: Dolly's video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns moved up two spots to No. 17 Thursday night in its second week on CMT's top 20 countdown.
July 4: Dolly's Halos & Horns remains steady on the bluegrass albums chart at No. 14 in its 50th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday in the July 12 charts.
June 30: Dolly's "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns debuted last week on CMT's Top 20 Countdown at No. 19, and it's still one of the network's five Hot Shot videos for the week! Thanks, Justin! Remember to request Dolly's video on CMT's MWL here and Great American Country's weekly countdown here.Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns is at No. 63 on the God's Country top 75 international Christian country music chart for July. The song peaked at No. 12 in April.
June 27: Dolly's Halos & Horns gains one notch on the bluegrass albums chart to No. 14 in its 49th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday in the July 5 charts.
June 23: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls three spots on the bluegrass albums chart to No. 15 in its 48th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday in the June 28 charts.
June 13: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches up one spot on the bluegrass albums chart to No. 12 in its 47th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
June 7: Great American Country (GAC) on Friday evening premiered Dolly's "I'm Gone" video from Halos & Horns. Their schedule shows the video to repeat on the cable network this weekend at 12:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 3 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday; 8:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday; and 12:30 p.m. Monday (all times Eastern). And CMT's broadcast schedule for the video over the weekend is 1:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Saturday and 2:30 a.m. Monday (plus repeats of Dolly's MWL Star episode which premiered the video earlier this week at 9 p.m. Saturday, midnight Sunday, 8 p.m. Monday and 11:30 p.m. next Friday). Remember to cast your votes daily for Dolly's video on CMT's MWL here and GAC's weekly countdown here! In addition, Phil over at Voice Of An Angel has posted an online version of the video that you may download.Sugar Hill Records on Friday added a page touting the new Super Audio CDs the label is releasing on Tuesday. Dolly's Halos & Horns will be issued as a stereo SACD hybrid and Little Sparrow will come out as a multi-channel and stereo SACD hybrid. "Hybrid" means the discs also contain the regular CD version that may be heard on any CD player in addition to the enhanced audio which may be played back on an SACD player. Multi-channel recordings have even more sound features. Reserve your copy by clicking on the album titles above, and read more from the label here.
June 6: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches down one spot on the June 14 bluegrass albums chart to No. 13 in its 46th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
June 2: "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns drops five on the PowerSource bluegrass singles chart to No. 21 for June, while "Hello God" from the album falls 21 places on the Christian country singles chart to No. 36. "Hello God" had previously peaked at No. 2.
May 30: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches up one spot on the June 6 bluegrass albums chart to No. 12 in its 45th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
May 23: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses four spots on the May 31 bluegrass albums chart to reach No. 13 in its 44th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
May 20: Sugar Hill Records tells me that Dolly is scheduled to tape her appearance on CMT's Most Wanted Live Star show next week (scroll down to May 19 news for details). Although no premiere date has been announced yet, the show will include the new video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns when it is broadcast. The video was directed by Sophie Mueller, whose previous credits include work for No Doubt, Pink, Annie Lennox and Nickel Creek (whom I saw, by the way, perform at Jubilee Jam in Jackson, Miss., over the weekend, and they were awesome!) In addition, the label confirms that the release date for Dolly's tribute CD, Just Because I'm A Woman: Celebrating The Songs Of Dolly Parton, has been pushed back from its original Sept. 9 tentative release date, which Dollymania was the first to report back in April. The star-studded CD is now expected to drop in October.
May 16: Dolly's Halos & Horns remains steady at No. 9 on the May 24 bluegrass albums chart in its 43rd chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
May 9: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches down one to No. 9 on the May 17 bluegrass albums chart in its 42nd chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
May 6: Dolly's songs are losing some steam on the PowerSource official monthly charts for May. In the Christian country chart, "Hello God" from Halos & Horns drops 13 places to No. 15, down from April's peak at No. 2. On the same chart, her duet of "Stand By The River" with Dottie Rambo falls 28 spots to No. 62, down from No. 34 last month. The single reached No. 1 in December. On the magazine's Southern Gospel chart, "Stand By The River" inches down eight notches to No. 58 and falls off the 35-position bluegrass singles chart, down from No. 33 the previous month. Also on the bluegrass chart, two other songs from Halos are falling. "I'm Gone" is down three to No. 16, while the CD's title track drops five to No. 26. The songs peaked at No. 10 and No. 15, respectively, in March.
May 5: "Hello God" from Dolly's Halos & Horns falls off the 20-position PowerSource unofficial weekly Christian country singles countdown, down from No. 20 in its 15th chart week. The song had previously spent three weeks at No. 1. Also, the song loses 19 places on the God's Country international country gospel chart for May, reaching No. 31. It had peaked at No. 12 in April.
May 2: Dolly's Halos & Horns remains steady at No. 8 on the May 10 bluegrass albums chart in its 41st chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
April 26: "Hello God" from Dolly's Halos & Horns loses five more spots on the weekly Christian country countdown from Power Source to come in at No. 20, it was announced Friday. It previously spent three weeks at No. 1 on the chart.
April 25: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses two spots to come in at No. 8 on the May 3 bluegrass albums chart in its 40th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday.
April 21: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns slips another five spots on the PowerSource weekly Christian country countdown, it was announced Friday, coming in at No. 15. It had spent three weeks at No. 1. The song also falls of the Indie World Country chart, down from No. 16. It had spent one week at No. 1 on that chart.
April 18: Dolly's Halos & Horns gains two spots to come in at No. 6 on the April 26 bluegrass albums chart in its 39th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. Its gain, however, was not enough for it to re-appear on the 75-position country albums tally, where it had peaked at No. 4 but dropped off after 38 weeks last week.
April 14: "Hello God" from Halos & Horns continues its slide down the charts. On the weekly unofficial PowerSource Christian country singles countdown, it drops three spots to No. 10, it was announced Friday. It had previously spent three weeks at No. 1 on their chart. On the Indie World Country independent label country singles chart, the single drops 15 spots to No. 16, down from No. 1 last week, it was announced Friday.
April 11: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls off the 75-position country albums chart in the April 19 tally, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD, which had peaked at No. 4 country, No. 58 pop, No. 2 bluegrass, No. 3 independent labels and No. 11 Internet sales in July, spent 38 weeks on the country chart. The CD drops two spaces to No. 8 on the bluegrass albums chart in its 38th week there. A representative of Sugar Hill Records tells me that the label is no longer releasing sales information on Dolly's albums, but an outside source said last week that Halos & Horns had passed The Grass Is Blue and Little Sparrow in sales recently. If true, that would mean it's sold at least 205,000, which is where Sparrow stood as of the last sales update published here a little more than two months ago. At that time, Halos was past 153,000, and Grass was at 186,000.
Launch had a great story on Wednesday about Dollywood's Festival of Nations, adding that she was filming a video for "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns in Los Angeles this week. (Sugar Hill Records tells me the video shoot is scheduled for this weekend, but no release date has been set yet.) Read the full story here.
April 9: Dolly's gospel recordings are continuing to do well, according to new charts that have come out. The PowerSource official April monthly countdowns shows "Hello God" from Halos & Horns gaining two to come in at No. 2 for the month on the Christian country chart, while her former No. 1 duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," loses 10 spots to reach No. 34. "Stand By The River" drops 13 places to No. 50 on the month's Southern Gospel chart and 10 notches to No. 33 on the bluegrass singles chart. Dolly's other entries on the bluegrass chart are starting to slip as well. "I'm Gone" is down three to No. 13, while "Halos And Horns" falls six to No. 21. I'm also told that the Singing News chart for May, which was just released, sees "Stand By The River" moving up seven spots to No. 54, while it debuts at No. 86 on the Southern Gospel chart of U.S. Gospel News for April. Thanks, Robert for the last two!
April 7: Halos & Horns falls 11 spots to No. 75 on the April 12 country albums chart in its 38th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. Since the country chart only contains 75 positions, the album will likely end its run on the chart in coming weeks. The CD drops one space to No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart. Dolly's "Hello God" Halos & Horns moved up one notch to capture the No. 1 spot for the week on the Indie World Country independent label country singles chart, it was announced Friday. When the PowerSource weekly Christian country singles chart came out the same day, the song had dropped three spots to No. 7. It had held the No. 1 spot for three weeks earlier this year on their chart.
April 1: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns drops three spots to No. 4 on this week's PowerSource weekly Christian country singles countdown after its third week at No. 1, it was announced Monday.
March 31: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns increased two more notches on the Indie World Country independent label country singles chart to reach No. 2 for the week, it was announced Friday.
March 28: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls two spots to No. 64 on the April 5 country albums chart in its 37th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD remains steady at No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart.
March 26: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns re-captured the No. 1 spot for a third week when PowerSource announced its weekly Christian country countdown for last weekend. The song had spent the last two weeks in the top 5 after two previous weeks at No. 1. It jumped four spots on the chart to return to No. 1. The song also increased one notch on the Indie World Country independent label country singles chart to No. 4 for the week.
March 21: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls seven spots to No. 62 on the March 29 country albums chart in its 36th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD loses one notch to No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart.
March 17: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns has mixed chart news this week. It drops one on the Power Source weekly Christian country countdown to come in at No. 5 (it had previously been No. 1 for two weeks in a row on this chart), but on the Indie World Country independent labels country singles chart, it shoots up 17 notches to No. 5.
March 14: Dolly's Halos & Horns falls six spots to No. 55 on the March 22 country albums chart in its 35th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD remains steady at No. 4 on the bluegrass albums chart for its 34th week but drops back off the independent label albums chart, down from No. 40 last week. The Green Man Review: Roots And Branches Of Music And Literature this week handed out its "Greenies" Awards online, and critic Stephen Hunt chose Dolly for Best CD in the North American Traditions category for Halos & Horns, noting that the publication's music production editor David Kidney called it "a beautiful album to listen to." Read the full list of honorees here.
March 12: Unfortunately, Dolly didn't get enough votes for "Dagger Through The Heart" to make it into the final five nominees of the CMT Flameworthy Video Awards for Flameworthy Female Video Of The Year, it was announced Tuesday. The video had been one of the 10 finalists for the award, for which she was nominated last year for "Shine." This year's five nominees are: Terri Clark, "I Just Wanna Be Mad;" Martina McBride, "Concrete Angel;" Faith Hill, "Cry;" Shania Twain, "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!" and Rebecca Lynn Howard, "Forgive." You may cast your vote for your favorites here.
March 10: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns is seeing some chart movement this weekend. After two weeks at No. 1 on the PowerSource unofficial weekly Christian country countdown it falls this week three spots to No. 4, while her duet of "Stand By The River" with Dottie Rambo falls out of the top 20, down from No. 20. On the Indie World Country chart, "Hello God" moves up two spots to No. 22. And on the God's Country International Music Chart for February, "Hello God" gains six places to reach No. 12, while "Stand By The River" drops 11 to No. 88.
March 7: Dolly's Halos & Horns jumps up seven spots to come in at No. 49 on the March 15 country albums chart in its 34th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD inches up two to No. 4 on the bluegrass albums chart for its 33rd week and re-enters the independent label albums chart at No. 40 for a 28th week.
March 3: The official monthly charts for March by Power Source magazine are out now, and Dolly has some impressive showings. The Christian country singles chart finds "Hello God" from Halos & Horns moving up five to No. 4 while "Stand By The River" with Dottie Rambo drops six to No. 24. The charts are based on airplay from a couple of weeks before, and given that "Hello God" has been No. 1 on their weekly chart for two weeks in a row, it now stands a good shot at becoming Dolly's second official gospel No. 1 on the magazine's April chart ("Stand By The River" was her first No. 1 in December). On their bluegrass singles chart, "I'm Gone" jumps up 13 notches to No. 10, while "Halos And Horns" moves up 12 spaces to No. 15 and "Stand By The River" falls five to No. 23. On their Southern gospel chart, "Stand By The River" falls eight spots to No. 29.
March 1: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns retains the No. 1 spot for a second week in a row in the unofficial weekly Christian country music countdown by PowerSource magazine. On the same chart, "Stand By The River," her duet with gospel legend Dottie Rambo and a former No. 1 on the chart itself, slips one spot to No. 20. In addition, "Hello God" comes in at No. 24 this week on the Indie World Country independent label country singles chart.
Feb. 28: Dolly's Halos & Horns gains three spots to come in at No. 56 on the March 8 country albums chart in its 33rd chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD remains steady at No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart.
Feb. 24: Faith Hill's pop-leaning "Cry" beat out Dolly's traditional country "Dagger Through The Heart" for Best Female Country Vocal Performance at Sunday night's Grammys in pre-show awards, and the Dixie Chicks' Home beat her Halos & Horns for Best Country Album, the only country honor handed out during the awards' live telecast. The Chicks are now tied with Dolly for the fourth-most Grammy wins for female country performers at seven awards. Alison Krauss is first with 13, followed by Dolly's Trio pal Emmylou Harris with 11. The other one-third of the Trio, Linda Ronstadt, who won three of her 10 awards in the country field, is third. Rounding out the totals are fifth-place record holders Mary Chapin-Carpenter, the Judds, Anne Murray and Olivia Newton-John with five each and Shania Twain at sixth with four awards. Other country acts taking home trophies included Nickel Creek, Best Contemporary Folk Album, This Side; Riders In The Sky, Best Musical Album For Children, Monsters Inc.: Scream Factory Favorites; Kevin Reagan, Best Recording Package, for the Dixie Chicks' Home; Johnny Cash, Best Male Country Vocal Performance, "Give My Love To Rose;" The Dixie Chicks, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, "Long Time Gone;" Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, "Mendocino County Line;" the Dixie Chicks, Best Country Instrumental Performance, "Lil' Jack Slade;" Alan Jackson, Best Country Song, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning);" Jim Lauderdale, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Best Bluegrass Album, Lost In The Lonesome Pines.The Miami Herald on Sunday predicted wins for the Dixie Chicks for Best Country Album and Martina McBride for Best Female Country Vocal Performance but noted that Dolly's CD would be "deserving" of the country album prize as it is the best album of her career and that her "Dagger Through The Heart" should've won the female country award because it was "far and away" the best performance of the five nominees. Also, Newsweek on Sunday said Dolly should've won Best Country Album but that the Dixie Chicks or Alan Jackson would likely win because of their massive sales.
Feb. 22: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns moves up one spot to become this weekend's No. 1 song on the PowerSource unofficial weekly Christian country singles chart, it was announced Friday. Her duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," itself No. 1 for two weeks a couple of months ago, drops three to No. 19. We'll have to wait a little longer to see where the song charts on the magazine's official monthly countdown, where "Stand By The River" in December became Dolly's first official No. 1 gospel single.The handful of additional Grammy predictions I've seen are still not expecting Dolly to win, but here are a few comments from some of them. One critic in Connecticut's Norwich Bulletin said about Best Country Album: "Dixie Chicks will probably win. I think Dolly Parton should win though. It's a great record." The Louisville Courier-Journal puts Dolly's odds in the category at 10-1, even with those of Willie Nelson but better than Joe Nichols' 15-1 (The Chicks are 4-1 and Alan Jackson 3-2.) And the Salt Lake Tribune, which says the Chicks should and will win, noted: "Parton's excellent bluegrass album is at a disadvantage because of its independent label release." Look for updates here Sunday night immediately after the winners in Dolly's categories are announced. She's up for Best Country Album for Halos & Horns and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the album's single "Dagger Through The Heart."
Feb. 21: Dolly's Halos & Horns slips two spots to No. 59 on the March 1 country albums chart in its 32nd chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD remains steady at No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart.
Feb. 17: Dolly's "Hello God" remained steady at No. 2 on the weekend's PowerSource Christian country singles countdown, while "Stand By The River," her duet with Dottie Rambo lost one notch to No. 16. Also, on the monthly Country Gospel Connection radio airplay chart for February, "Hello God" is No. 9, while "Stand By The River" is No. 10.
Feb. 14: Dolly's Halos & Horns gains four spots to come in at No. 57 on the Feb. 22 country albums chart in its 31st chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD also gains one to reach No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart. The Associated Press on Thursday issued a few predictions for the Grammy Awards, which now are a little more than a week away, and their critics think the Dixie Chicks' Home will win over Dolly's Halos & Horns for Best Country Album. Read the story here.
Feb. 13: Dolly's video for "Dagger Through The Heart" is a preliminary nominee for CMT's second annual Flameworthy Video Awards, the network announced Wednesday. Her video for "Shine" was nominated last year but lost to Martina McBride's "Blessed." Each fan who registers with CMT.com may vote once for their favorites in the preliminary voting through March 9. Each category will be trimmed from the 10 initial nominees to five finalists, who will be announced on March 11, at which time fans may vote again through April 5. Winners will be announced April 7. Dolly, nominated for Flameworthy Female Video of the Year, faces Jessica Andrews' "There's More to Me Than You," Rebecca Lynn Howard's "Forgive," Deana Carter's "There's No Limit," Martina McBride's "Concrete Angel," Terri Clark's "I Just Wanna be Mad," Jennifer Hanson's "Beautiful Goodbye," Shania Twain's "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!," Faith Hill's "Cry" and Lee Ann Womack's "Something Worth Leaving Behind." Click here to vote for Dolly!
Feb. 10: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns shot up another five spots on the weekend's PowerSource unofficial weekly countdown show, coming in at No. 2. Her duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," lost one notch to No. 15.
Feb. 7: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses three spots to come in at No. 61 on the Feb. 15 country albums chart in its 30th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD remains steady at No. 7 on the bluegrass albums chart.
It's been a while now since I've given you an update on Dolly's sales figures, and I've started getting e-mails from fans who want to keep up with the numbers. So, thanks to the folks at Sugar Hill Records, here they are: Since its release in July, Halos & Horns has sold 153,000 copies, up about 28,000 since the last update here two months ago, meaning in that time it has averaged about 3,100 copies sold per week. Little Sparrow is at 205,000 units, or 4,000 more since the last update. And The Grass Is Blue stands at 186,000, or about 4,000 more since the last update. Also, I'm told that while final details are still being worked out on the tribute album to Dolly which will be issued by Sugar Hill, the label is planning a fall 2003 release date. As was reported here previously, Dolly has agreed to participate in matching singers with her songs and may even perform on a few tracks on the disc. Shania Twain has asked to sing "Coat Of Many Colors," according to published reports, and other artists the label has said have expressed interest in participating include Alison Krauss, Sinead O'Conner, Norah Jones, Aimee Mann and the Dixie Chicks. Thanks, Rob!
Feb. 3: A source close to Dolly's career who wishes to remain anonymous tells Dollymania that Dolly has dissolved her band the Blueniques at the present time to "pursue some other things right now." The source adds that she does plan to reunite with the band at a later date and that Randy Kohrs, who led the group and sang a solo at the start of each of her concerts during her tour this summer, is expected to join the Dixie Chicks' band. The news suggests that a new Dolly tour, which she said would likely come if her 2002 concerts were successful, may be on hold until at least late 2003 or early 2004. Thanks!Dolly is all over the February issue of PowerSource magazine, in the mail now to Christian Country Music Association members. Dolly and gospel legend Dottie Rambo have a three-page article and the cover photo for their duet "Stand By The River," the magazine's No. 1 song for December, making it Dolly's first official gospel No. 1. In the February chart, Dolly's "Hello God" moves up 29 spots to No. 9, while "Stand By The River" falls 12 to No. 18. Dolly is also all over the magazine's bluegrass chart with "Stand By The River" at No. 18 (down from No. 15), "I'm Gone" debuting at No. 23 and "Halos And Horns" debuting at No. 27.
Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns gains one notch this weekend to No. 7 on the PowerSource Christian country countdown. Dolly's duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," remained steady at No. 14 again this week. Also the God's Country International Music Chart, Dolly moves up one this week as the No. 7 most played gospel artist overseas, and "Stand By The River" falls 34 spots to No. 77 on their countdown, while "Hello God" jumps up 43 spots to No. 18!
Jan. 31: Dolly's Halos & Horns remains steady at No. 58 on the Feb. 8 country albums chart in its 29th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD also remains steady at No. 7 on the bluegrass albums chart.
Jan. 27: Gospel station WFLQ is still seeing Dolly. Her "Hello God" remains steady at No. 9 in last week's countdown, while her "Stand By The River" with Dottie Rambo also remains steady at No. 19.
Jan. 25: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns moves up five spots this week on the PowerSource Christian country music countdown to No. 8, while her duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," remains steady at No. 14, it was announced Friday. I was also alerted to the God's Country International Music Chart, where Dolly is shown as the No. 8 most played gospel artist overseas, and "Stand By The River" is No. 43 on their countdown, while "Hello God" is No. 61.
Jan. 24: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches down four spots to reach No. 58 on the Feb. 1 country albums chart in its 28th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD remains steady at No. 7 on the bluegrass albums chart but falls off the independent label albums chart, down from last week's No. 38.
Jan. 22: Sanctuary Records, the European distributor of Dolly's Sugar Hill recordings, released its 2002 earnings on Sunday, and, as happened the past two years, dramatic increases were attributed largely to Dolly, this year being the release of her Halos & Horns. The company saw pre-tax profits rise 25 percent to 14.2 million pounds and annual sales jump 44 percent to 118.1 million pounds, compared to an industry average increase of just 3 percent. Dolly's CD debuted at No. 1 on the country albums chart in Great Britain and held the top spot for 10 weeks this year, also peaking at No. 37 pop. Its success also propelled her other two releases on Sanctuary, The Grass Is Blue and Little Sparrow, into the country top 10 again, with Sparrow logging a total of more than a year and a half in the top 20. Read the story on Ananova here.
Jan. 20: Although I haven't seen the magazine yet, my pal Chris over at Dolly Parton Central reported on his news page Sunday that Dolly is all over the place in the Country Music magazine annual critics poll of the best music of 2002 in the February/March issue on newsstands now. He reported that Dolly ranked No. 5 for Artist Of The Year, No. 2 for Female Vocalist Of The Year (her friend and frequent back-up singer Alison Krauss was No. 1), her album Halos & Horns No. 9 for Album Of the Year and her summer 2002 concert tour No. 3 for Live Act Of The Year. Visit Chris' site here.
Jan. 18: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns debuts this weekend on the PowerSource weekly top 20 Christian country chart at No. 13, it was announced Friday. Dolly's duet with Dottie Rambo, "Stand By The River," remains steady at No. 14. As was previously reported here, the magazine's official chart, which is tabulated monthly, debuted "Hello God" at No. 38 for January while "Stand By The River," No. 1 for December, fell to No. 6 for the month.
Jan 17: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches down one spot to reach No. 54 on the Jan. 25 country albums chart in its 27th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD loses one notch to No. 7 on the bluegrass albums chart but gains eight places on the independent label albums chart to come in at No. 38.
Jan. 14: Gospel station WFLQ released its top 20 chart on Monday, and Dolly's got two spots! "Hello God" moves up one spot for the week to No. 9, while "Stand By The River" with Dottie Rambo falls 15 spots to No. 19. Also, I'm told that the Solid Gospel program has been airing "River" in heavy rotation. Everyone e-mail their requests for it to the show here!
Jan. 13: Halos & Horns has made another best of year list. The Los Angeles weekly publication Entertainment Today offered its critics' reviews of 2002 in Friday's issue, and Paul Andersen chose Halos as the seventh-best recording of the year. Others on his list included Brandy, Norah Jones, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay and Queens Of The Stone Age. Read the full story here.One entry got left out of the PowerSource January chart update posted here Thursday night: Dolly's "Hello God" debuts on the monthly Christian country music chart at No. 38.
Jan. 10: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches down four spots to come in at No. 53 on the Jan. 18 country albums chart in its 26th chart week, Billboard announced Thursday. The CD loses one spot to No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart and 19 on the independent label albums chart to reach No. 46. However, I would expect a slight spike in in its position when the Jan. 25 numbers come out next week reflecting purchases of the disc following its Grammy nominations (the charts issued today are for last week's sales).
Jan. 9: News of Dolly's two Grammy nominations could be found Wednesday in just about every newspaper around, and Dolly herself, of course, was thrilled at the honors. "It's always wonderful and a great compliment to be nominated for any Grammy award, but Halos & Horns is very special and dear to my heart, so it made it twice as special. 'Dagger Through The Heart' is one of my favorite songs on the whole album, so I was thrilled about that as well," she told Launch.com. Even CMT has Dolly pulling some strong numbers in an online poll for who should win Best Country Album (vote here). As of last count I saw Wednesday evening, Alan Jackson was leading with 43 percent, compared to Dolly at a close second with 41 percent. The Dixie Chicks had 8 percent, Joe Nichols 7 percent and Willie Nelson 1 percent. The nominations for Best Country Album fopr Halos and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Dagger Through The Heart" marked Dolly's 39th and 40th respective career nominations. She has won the Grammy seven times, including one in each of the last three years for each of her three most recent albums prior to Halos.
UPDATE: Two Grammy Nominations
Dolly earned two Grammy nominations in Tuesday morning's announcement of this year's honorees to bring her career total to 40. "Dagger Through The Heart" is up for Best Female Country Vocal Performance against Faith Hill's "Cry," Martina McBride's "Blessed," Lucinda Williams' "Lately" and Lee Ann Womack's "Something Worth Leaving Behind." Halos & Horns is nominated for Best Country Album against The Dixie Chicks' Home, Alan Jackson's Drive, Willie Nelson's The Great Divide and Joe Nichols Man With A Memory. Winners will be announced Feb. 23. In her career, Dolly has won seven Grammy Awards.
Jan. 6: Dolly's Halos & Horns this week falls out of the top 40 of the Jan. 5 British independent labels albums chart, it was announced Sunday. The CD drops from its previous standing of No. 37 in the Dec. 22 chart (no chart was published last week due to the holidays).
Jan. 4: Dolly's Halos & Horns gains two spots to come in at No. 49 on the Jan. 11 country albums chart in its 25th chart week, Billboard announced Friday. The CD moves up one to No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart but loses 11 on the independent label albums chart to reach No. 27.
Jan. 3: Although the CD was released almost six months ago, The Hartford Courant on Thursday offered its review of Dolly's Halos & Horns, with Susan Campbell praising the album and noting: "It's nice when an internationally known crossover superstar crosses back home - in this case, home to roots music, bluegrass" and saying that she possesses "a voice that knows no boundaries." She adds that her favorite cut on the entire album is "These Old Bones," explaining, "It's nasal, it's country, it's home-fried good." Read the full review here.
Dec. 31: Dolly and Willie Nelson's respective tours in 2002 were named the 11th biggest story of the year in country music by CMT's Noisemakers year in review, which premiered over the weekend. You may access video of the story (including live footage of Dolly in concert this summer) here.Dolly's Halos & Horns falls out of the top five of the bluegrass albums chart as compiled by Bluegrass Unlimited, it was announced in the magazine's January chart on Monday. The CD had peaked for at No. 4 for November and December.
Dec. 28: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches down one spot to No. 51 on the Jan. 4 country albums chart in its 24th chart week, Billboard announced Friday. The CD remains steady on both the independent label albums chart and bluegrass albums chart at No. 16 and No. 6, respectively. And in the magazine's year-end charts, Halos comes in at No. 63 country and No. 23 for independent label albums. Chet Flippo, CMT editorial director, put Dolly's CD at No. 8 on his countdown of the best albums of the year Friday, saying: "She has been one of country music's most saving graces for more than three decades. These songs are as fresh and vibrant as anything she recorded 30 years ago." The Dixie Chicks' Home was No. 1, and he gave Pinmonkey, which includes Dolly harmonies, an honorable mention. Read his full list here. And the St. Louis Riverfront Times, Dolly's concert there was chosen as one of the 10 "Best Live Rock Shows In St. Louis," which were listed in alphabetical order by Matt Harnish here (and Dolly was the only act included I had ever heard of). About the show, he wrote: "Of course it was kinda corny, but Dolly's fans wouldn't have had it any other way. Backed by a crack bluegrass band, Ms. Parton put on a fantastic show that clearly demonstrated a love for her music and her fans that couldn't have been faked." The New York Daily News on Thursday named Dolly's Halos & Horns the best country album of 2002. Actually, the reviewer placed it in a five-way tie with Tift Merritt's Bramble Rose, Caitlin Cary's While You Weren't Looking, Patty Griffin's 1000 Kisses and Kasey Chambers' Barricades & Brickbats. Read the full list of all of this year's best here.
Dec. 26: Dolly's wonderful Halos & Horns continues to make several end-of-the-year lists as one of the best albums of 2002. Billboard country chart director Wade Jennsen put it at No. 4 in the genre, noting: "That a major hit hasn't emerged from this album proves that many country radio programmers are profoundly asleep." (Read his full list here.) Also in Billboard, one of the celebrity lists included the CD, with Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls naming it the best release of all types of music in 2002. (Read her list here.) And Wednesday's Dallas Morning News saw Dolly all over Mario Tarradell's tally of the year's best country releases. Halos was No. 3, with him opining: "She's still the queen. Ms. Parton retains the bluegrass spirit of her last two albums as she returns to the traditional country sound that shaped her artistry. A remarkable record that proves this Tennessee mountain girl will always be hillbilly royalty." Pam Tillis' It's All Relative, which includes Dolly vocals, came in at No. 5, and Pinmonkey, which also includes Dolly vocals, was No. 9. He also chose Pinmonkey as the year's breakout artist. He ranked The Flatlanders' Now Again No. 1. And Dolly's Aug. 3 stop in Dallas was his choice for the third-best live performance of the year in the area, saying : "She doesn't sweat; she produces mountain dew, Ms. Parton told the sold-out crowd at the Granada. It was warm, yes, but mainly because of that heady heat that comes from players and singers in perfect sync, delivering one sweet note after the other." He chose a May 4 show by Alison Krauss for No. 1. Read his full lists here.
Dec. 24: More news on Dolly's possible live CD, DVD/video concert or television special from her shows earlier this month at Dollywood. The park confirms that the shows were taped for both audio and video but that no decisions have been made on what to do with them. She mentioned to the crowd a likelihood of a live album being released from the recording, but as Dolly herself had the shows recorded, it will be up to her to decide whether to release a video or DVD through her own label, seek another label to release them and/or seek a television network to air a special from the taping. As Dollywood Director of Publicity Pete Owens said to Dollymania: "It's better to have taped it and to figure that out later than to have wished you had!" Thanks, Pete!Dolly makes two appearances on CMT.com's 10 best recordings of the year. Pinmokey's self-titled CD, featuring Dolly's gorgeous harmonies on a cover of her ballad "Falling Out Of Love With Me," comes in at No. 2, with reviewers noting: "Special recognition goes to this new band for resurrecting the long-forgotten" song. They add: "The whole album shines with youthful energy, but good ol' heartbreak never hurt anybody." And Dolly's own Halos & Horns ranks at No. 8, with the site saying: "Dolly's personality may be larger than life, but shattered love songs like 'Not for Me,' 'What a Heartbreak' and 'If Only' resonate with everyone. It's not all misery, though. 'These Old Bones' cracks me up every time." The Dixie Chicks' Home takes the No. 1 spot. Read the full list here.
Dec. 23: Here's another best of the year list: Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contained a round-up of several of its staff members' tallies, and one included Dolly! Andrew Morgan, under the title "I liked 'em when they came out, and I'm still playin' 'em," put Halos & Horns fourth out of 12, saying: "A legend, an American music treasure. 'Dagger Through the Heart' is a great hurtin' song; audacious cover of 'Stairway to Heaven.'" Read the paper's full lists here. Also, The Tennessean on Saturday released its best of 2002 list of CDs, and while Dolly's didn't make the top 10, one recording featuring her did make it: Pam Tillis' It's All Relative. Read their list here. Halos & Horns remains steady for yet another week at No. 37 on the British independent label albums chart, released Sunday.
Dec. 21: I had mentioned at the start of the week that you'd be in for a treat with an "extra special" report coming from a "special place," and here it is! My Dolly pals Harrell Gabehart and Patric Parkey a few months back won a charity auction to spend last weekend in Dolly's apartment on the grounds of Dollywood and meet Miss Dolly herself! The loving fans that they are, they offered to share their experience with everyone else out there by providing Dollymania exclusive access to their full journal of the weekend's events and photos of Dolly's apartment and her benefit concerts for the Dollywood Foundation. So sit back, prepare to be envious, and click here to read their journal and access the photos for your own virtual tour of Dolly's apartment and concert! Thanks, guys!An update to the story here yesterday on Dolly's BBC documentary to air Jan. 6: Apparently, the documentary is expected use the footage from her London concert, but the full concert itself will not air on television as a separate special. The tour's U.K. promoter confirmed to Dollymania that only one BBC camera was present at the show to record part of Dolly's performance "for illustrative purposes" only, meaning that while clips will likely air in the documentary, there was no recording of the entire concert. Thanks, Paul!
And in another BBC note, I thought I had reported this, but an alert reader reminded me today that I hadn't. The BBC Radio 2 network will air a holiday music program hosted by Dolly on Christmas Day, according to its web site. Dolly will play some of her own holiday and non-holiday recordings, like including "Winter Wonderland," "Hello God" and "Travelin' Prayer," as well as seasonal songs by her friends such as Dwight Yoakum, The Texas Tornadoes, Wynonna, Garth Brooks, Take Six, Ricky Skaggs, James Taylor, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Trisha Yearwood, The Mavericks and Travis Tritt. The 55-minute show, titled Holly Dolly, is set to air at 3:05 p.m. British Winter Standard Time on Christmas Day. Read more about it here. Thanks, Keith!
And still on the BBC, their web site has updated its Dec. 15 independent label albums chart, although there was no explanation why last Sunday's chart wasn't posted until Friday, but Dolly's Halos & Horns remains at No. 37 for the week.
Dec. 20: Pushed by continued gift-giving sales for the holiday, Dolly's Halos & Horns inches up one spot on both the country and independent label albums charts for its 23rd chart week to come in at No. 50 and No. 16, respectively, on the Dec. 28 numbers Billboard released on Thursday. The CD, which had peaked at No. 4 country this summer, remains steady at No. 6 on the bluegrass albums chart. I've come across a couple other Best Of The Year lists featuring Dolly. Listeners to BBC Radio 2 chose Halos & Horns as one of the top 12 country releases of the year here, and Venus Zine, an American magazine covering "groundbreaking" women in the art world, selected it as the second-best album of the year in any genre here.
Dec. 19: Well, the year-end top music lists are starting to appear, and as expected, Dolly is getting some recognition for her amazing CD Halos & Horns. The Chicago Tribune on Sunday ranked it the seventh-best country release of 2002, with critic Chrissie Dickinson saying it proves "this lady still has the power to reduce the entire house to tears. A genuine country legend, Dolly's charisma, heartbreaking Appalachian soprano and songwriting skill rightly earned her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Although she has followed the pop muse at various times in her career, Parton returns again to her mountain roots for this collection." Read the full list here. Thanks, Bryan! And Thursday's issue of Nashville Scene features two Dolly mentions on its staff's lists. Bill Friskics-Warren places "Hello God" from the disc and Chuck D's "Twisted Sense of God" at No. 5 on his list of the most important musical efforts of the year, calling them "pop's two most passionate, incisive theological meditations on 9/11." He adds: "Parton's is the more searching, enlisting an Appalachian chamber quartet and gospel choir to call on heaven with her . . . Neither lets anyone off the hook, citing not just humanity's pervasive bad faith, but also the need for heaven and earth to forge peace and justice together here and now." Also, Bruce Dobie puts the CMA Awards as his seventh pick for the most important local events in Nashville, citing spectacular performances by Faith Hill, Dolly (saying with "Hello God" she "rang the rafters with an African American choir"), Rascal Flatts and Rebecca Lynn Howard. Read both lists here.Although she didn't make the Rolling Stone best-of-the-year list, Dolly did get included in its annual year in review section. Under July, Dolly's releasing her cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" on Halos & Horns made their list of the most newsworthy musical developments of the year. A photo of Dolly performing at Today in New York that month is shown alongside her mention. Thanks, Mark!
Dec. 13: Dolly's Halos & Horns inches up one spot on both the country and bluegrass albums chart in its 22nd chart week to come in at No. 51 and No. 6, respectively, on the Dec. 21 tally, Billboard announced Thursday. It also moves up five places on the independent label albums chart to reach No. 17.
Dec. 9: Dolly's Halos & Horns moves up two to No. 37 on the British independent label albums chart this week, it was announced Sunday. The CD had peaked at No. 11 indie and No. 37 pop overseas earlier this year, plus held onto the No. 1 country album spot in Britain for 10 weeks.
Although I don't believe CMT is playing it, the cable music network Great American Country (GAC) has begun airing a music video of Dolly's current single, "Hello God," taken from her performance of the song on the CMA Awards. Click here to vote for it in GAC's weekly countdown and here to do a "write in" vote for it on CMT's MWL.
Dec. 7: Grammy voters are casting their initial ballots for next year's ceremonies, and Dolly has three entries in the preliminary list from which the nominees are chosen. According to a friend who has seen the ballot, Sugar Hill submitted Halos & Horns for consideration as Best Country Album and the album's single "Dagger Through The Heart" for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (the category which she won last year for "Shine"). In addition, Sony Music has submitted her appearance with Pam Tillis on "Violet And A Rose" from Pam's It's All Relative for Best Country Vocal Collaboration. Voters still have a little while to get their ballots in, and the top choices will make up the final nominations, which will be announced on Jan. 7. The awards will be handed out on Feb. 23. Here's hoping that Dolly gets nominated and wins all three categories, although I would have submitted her version of "Stairway To Heaven" for single and "Hello God" to one of the sacred music categories. Thanks!
Dec. 6: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses four spots to come in at No. 52 in its 21st week on the Dec. 14 country albums chart, Billboard announced Thursday; the album had peaked this summer at No. 4. It switches places with Patty Loveless' Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas, featuring Dolly guest vocals, to come in at No. 7 on the bluegrass albums chart, while Patty inches up to No. 5. Dolly also drops four places to No. 22 on the independent label albums chart. The first published review I've seen anywhere for Dolly's final show of her European tour, last Friday night in Dublin, Ireland, was posted Monday on Show Biz Ireland, complete with a couple of great photos! The brief review called the show "thigh slapping" but mistook Dolly's teleprompters (which are to remind her of the lyrics) as cues for the audience to see the words and sing along. It also noted that the front row featured six women wearing shirts which spelled out "Hello Dolly." Read the full review, and see the pics, here. Thanks, Thea!
Dec. 4: Dolly's most recent CD is now available in songbook format, I'm told. While I haven't seen it myself, I'm told that the sheet music for the full CD Halos & Horns has been issued by Warner Brothers Publications (ISBN 0-7579-0947-7). Thanks, Sam!
Dec. 3: It's been several weeks since Dolly's album sales figures were updated here, and I've started getting e-mails asking about them, so here they are. As of this week, Halos & Horns has just passed the level of 125,000 copies sold in the U.S., up 34,000 from your last update or an average of about 3,100 copies per week. Little Sparrow stands at 201,000 units, up 22,000 from the last update or an average of about 2,000 copies per week. And The Grass Is Blue is at 182,000 CDs, up 3,000 from last update or an average of about 300 per week. Of course, these are SoundScan figures, which I understand do not include every sales outlet, and they also don't include CDs which have been shipped to stores but have yet to sell. Thanks, Rob!
Bluegrass Unlimited on Monday issued its December bluegrass albums chart, and Dolly's Halos & Horns retains its peak No. 4 position in its fourth chart month.
Dec. 2: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses two spots to come in at No. 39 on this week's independent label albums chart in Britain. The CD had peaked at No. 11 indie and No. 37 pop overseas, plus held onto the No. 1 country album spot in Britain for 10 weeks.
Nov. 29: I was beginning to wonder if any Dollymania readers attended Dolly's concerts Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Glasgow, Scotland, but on Thursday I received messages from several fans who were there offering their recaps of the show and stories from Wednesday's local papers. I'm told that she didn't perform her amazing cover of "Stairway To Heaven" (although a couple of newspaper accounts said she did -- so maybe she did it at one show but not the other), but she did offer a new song about Scotland titled "Family Reunion" which told the story of the 17th and 18th century Scottish immigrants who settled the Appalachian Mountains where Dolly was raised, with one fan calling it "of the most haunting songs I've heard Dolly sing." The set list also included some new joke songs she's never recorded, including one about a woman bought sexy lingerie to turn her husband on, but instead he wanted to wear them -- and he looked better in them than she did! She closed with "I Will Always Love You." Although I'm told that the crowd was a little less enthusiastic than the wild audiences in London, she still had them eating out of the palm of her hand (which one fan noted is quite an achievement because Glasgow audiences are notorious for being "hard to please"). She was decked out in the pastel pink and green tight-fitting dress with a flower detail print and field of rhinestones she wore on The Grand Ole Opry. The Herald said "she could sing the words from a cuppa soup packet and make the contents sound as wholesome and downhome as her mom's cookin'. It's not just an evening with Dolly, either; it's a lifetime condensed into an hour-and-
three-quarters of reminiscing, joshing and singalonga Dolly hits." (Unfortunately, I couldn't find it posted on the paper's website.) Brief but raving reviews also appeared in the Scottish Daily Record here and the Glasgow Evening Times here (with a photo!). While we're discussing her European tour, London's The Observer recently posted a review of her concerts there last week which originally appeared in the paper's Sunday print edition calling her "a vision of joy." Read it here. And one final note: According to published reports, concert-goers experienced massive traffic delays on their way to Dolly's Wednesday night show, as discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb caused the main road to the concert venue to be closed. Thanks, Mark, Kirsteen and David! Dolly's sold-out European tour closes Friday in Dublin, Ireland.The 20th chart week for Dolly's Halos & Horns sees it lose 13 spots to No. 48 on the Dec. 7 country albums chart, Billboard announced Thursday; the album had peaked this summer at No. 4. However, it remains steady for another week at No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart and drops five places to No. 18 on the independent label albums chart.
Nov. 26: Dolly's Saturday night concert in Belfast, Northern Ireland, got a rave review in Monday's Belfast Telegraph, quoting much of her stage banter and noting she performed a newly-penned song called "We Irish." Read it here. Also, UTV offered a recap from her appearance on Friday's Gerry Kelly Show, including her assertion that she plans to return to Northern Ireland next year for a tour with more dates in larger venues. Read it here. Dolly's sold-out European tour next rolls into Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. (Anyone who can e-mail a recap and, if available, photos, please do so here. Thanks!)
Nov. 25: Dolly's European tour is having an impact on record sales overseas. Halos & Horns returns to the top 40 of Sunday's British independent albums chart at No. 37, up from No. 42. Glasgow's Sunday Herald had a great interview with Dolly in advance of her shows there Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Read it here. And the Belfast Telegraph had a small preview in Saturday's paper complete with an interview with the newspaper's winner for tickets to her concert before her show that night. Read it here.
Pat attended Dolly's Manchester, England, concert this month, at which her children presented Dolly with a pink rose and white teddy bear with a halo. If anyone has photos from the concert of Dolly holding these items or of the children handing them to her, their family would like to buy copies. E-mail them here.
Nov. 23: I'm told fans should not expect any major security changes which might impact their viewing of the remainder of Dolly's European concerts. Several fans wrote in to ask if they should be aware of any upgraded security measures for the remaining dates of her sold-out tour overseas following some fans who ran on stage and tried to hug Dolly at the end of her second London show. Paul Fenn of Asgard, the concert promoters who put the tour together, tells Dollymania: "It wasn't that big a deal. Probably half a dozen slightly inebriated fans ran onto the stage at the very end of the very last song - our security did exactly as they were meant to do which was in two parts; a) protect Dolly by taking her off the stage, and b) remove the interlopers from the stage. The security was unobtrusive but alert - and will remain exactly the same for the rest of the tour - no changes are planned. " Thanks, Paul! Dolly's tour continues in Northern Ireland Saturday night with a show in Belfast, followed by Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, wrapping up in Dublin, Ireland, on Nov. 29.
Nov. 22: Another update on Dolly's London show and the filmmakers there: The ones interviewing fans were not connected with the BBC concert special set to air in January. Instead they were the same American crew which has been interviewing fans stateside for a documentary reportedly titled For The Love Of Dolly. As has previously been reported here, they were at the Dollywood season opening this year and other spots where Dolly was present to talk with fans. No word yet on when they plan to wrap up shooting or have the film released. Also, my pal Thea sent in some great shots of Dolly from the London stage. You may view them here! Thanks, Thea!Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns falls off the Nov. 30 country singles chart after one week at No. 60, Billboard announced Thursday. (Everyone call your local stations to request it and let's see if we can get it back on the chart! Chris at Dolly Parton Central has a list of radio station request lines here, and there's a list of some on Dollymania here.) The CD itself loses five spots on the country albums chart to come in at No. 35 in its 19th chart week. It remains steady on the bluegrass albums chart at No. 5 and drops five on the independent label albums chart to No. 13. However, it falls back off the pop albums chart after last week's re-entry to No. 199 for a 10th chart week.
Nov. 21: Several other fans have sent in some descriptions of Dolly's London appearances from earlier this week. Mika complained that the over-eager fans who jumped on stage almost "spoiled" the show (she said they appeared to be drunk). Thea said Dolly was "marvelous!" And Stuart and Stephen write in with the biggest news of all: the BBC has scheduled Dolly's concert to be aired as a television special on Jan. 6! They and others who wrote in said they were interviewed by a film crew (it is unclear if this was in connection with the BBC special or if this is a separate documentary project) asking why people love Dolly and why she has become so popular again in the U.K. They described the audience as "extremely diverse" and the atmosphere as "unbelievably electric." Dolly was described as appearing "quite moved" at the audience's reaction to her and was "really on form" with all of her jokes, especially when she confused some of the lyrics on "The Grass Is Blue" and began laughing. As with all Dolly concerts, the audience was very happy and no one wanted it to end. Their only criticism was that they thought she should have included more of her older material, since she hasn't played live in the U.K. for two decades, so many in the audience expected she would sing more of her hits from that 20-year period. They concluded with "Let's hope it's not another 20 years before Dolly returns back to the UK where her popularity has almost reached cult status." Also, Andrew, who sent in the first reports here on Dolly's European concerts, sent in a couple of photos he took at the shows in London. Although they're a bit blurry, you can tell it's Dolly! See them here and here.Thanks to everyone who sent in their news! Dolly's sold-out European tour continues Saturday night in Belfast, Tuesday and Wednesday in Glasgow and Nov. 29 in Dublin.
Nov. 20: Dollymania is pleased to bring you the first news of Dolly's second London appearance this week, and although my contact overseas said it was great, he noted that she performed even better at Monday night's show. But there were a few problems on Tuesday. Although several in the audience were "really rowdy," they remained "friendly" with those around them. There was one group, however, of several young women in their late teens or early 20s described as "disruptive." About seven of these ladies jumped on stage as Dolly finished an encore of "Stairway To Heaven." I'm told Dolly and her security guards appeared to be taken by surprise. When one of the girls grabbed Dolly on stage to hug her, security quickly appeared and whisked Dolly off the stage. I'm told, though, that the evening's highlights were a "fantastic" vocal performance on "I Will Always Love You" and an "amazing" live version of "Stairway To Heaven." At Monday night's show, Dolly was reported to have been extremely exuberant, talking and joking with the audience much more than she did in Manchester last week, and the crowd was "electric." She dropped "Down From Dover" from the set list, replacing it with "After The Goldrush," but stunned the crowd with her surprise encore of "Stairway To Heaven," described as a performance that "just blew me away" by my contact at the show. The first published review of the show appeared in Tuesday's London Evening Standard, which would have been on newsstands there late, late Monday night U.S. time, but it was not posted on their website as of Tuesday night. The London Telegraph posted a review of Monday's show Tuesday evening, and while the reviewer loved her songs (even calling her version of "Stairway To Heaven" an "improvement on the original"), he didn't care for her "scripted" banter. Read the review here. (And look for some possible photos here in the next few days!) Thanks, Andrew!
Nov. 19: London's The Guardian on Monday offered its review of Dolly's Friday concert in Manchester, England, also giving it four out of five stars. The reviewer said she proved she "is a bigger icon than ever to country fans, pop fans, gay men, bra manufacturers and Dolly-ed up teenage girls who clearly find this 'Dumb Blonde,' as her 1967 hit had it, more fun than Madonna." Her power over the audience was called "effortless," and the reviewer said she "delivers her songs like stories told across the garden fence." Read the full review here. Her European tour continues Monday and Tuesday nights in London, Saturday in Belfast, Nov. 26 and 27 in Glasgow and Nov. 29 in Dublin.
Nov. 18: The Times of London on Saturday offered its review of Dolly's opening night concert of her first European tour in two decades, giving it four out of five stars. The article about her Friday night show in Manchester, England, started out saying: "Somewhere between the big boobs and blonde wig that have come to define Dolly Parton lies one of music's business brains. Parton was the first female successfully to blend country and pop, two decades before Sheryl Crow and Shania Twain. She became a brand before anyone knew what brands were and now, at the age of 56, she has staged a comeback as slick as Santana's." Her outfit was described as "an all-in-one trouser suit that not even Liz Hurley would dare to wear . . . powder blue, skin-tight and almost see-through, studded with rhinestones and slashed to her chest at the top and below each knee, where it turned into cascades of ruffles." As soon as she entered the stage, she received a standing ovation. The reviewer said "Train Train" and "The Grass Is Blue" set the night's mood, and "Shine" and "Little Sparrow" proved "she's as powerful a singer as she is a songwriter." Read the full review here. Also, Manchester Online has posted a review here (with a small photo, too!), calling it a concert in which the "emotional and melodic primary colours" of the music of her youth "looms large." And Andrew, who provided the recap published here Friday night, wrote in again to add that the audience was a bit older than at her U.S. shows and wasn't very enthusiastic for the first few songs, apparently rattling Dolly enough that she messed up the ending of "My Tennessee Mountain Home," finishing before her band did, but she joked about the mistake on stage. However, by about mid-way through her set, the audience was just as captivated and excited as those stateside were. Also, when she introduced the sped-up version of "Two Doors Down," she got a little tongue-tied, providing another laugh for the crowd before she sang it perfectly. He noted that these "off-guard moments" made the show "very endearing." Thanks, Andrew! The sold-out tour continues with London concerts on Monday and Tuesday nights, Belfast on Saturday, Glasgow Nov. 26 and 27 and Dublin on Nov. 29.
Nov. 16: Dollymania is pleased to be the first to provide details on Dolly's first concert in her European tour! I'm told that Dolly was as amazing as ever in the show Friday night in Manchester, England. Her set list was pretty much the same as her U.S. shows this summer, except for the surprising addition of "Down From Dover" between "Marry Me" and "Halos And Horns." Thanks, Andrew! And Manchester Online posted an article prior to the show in which she talks about her music (she wants to do pop as well as country, noting that she'd feel "isolated and lacking accomplishment if I just did this acoustic music for the rest of my life" and also wants to have another dance hit), her large gay fan base, drag queens and plastic surgery. Read it here. Tickets as of Friday for all of her shows overseas were selling between $150 and $500 each on ebay. The sold-out tour continues with dates in London Monday and Tuesday nights; Belfast, Northern Ireland, next Saturday; Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 26 and 27; and Dublin, Ireland, on Nov. 29.
Nov. 15: Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos & Horns debuts on the Nov. 23 country singles chart, Billboard announced Thursday! The Sept. 11th-inspired song which she performed on the CMA Awards comes in at No. 60 on the 60-position chart and marks Dolly's first return to the singles chart for a new song in four years, when "Honky Tonk Songs" topped out at No. 74 -- before the magazine cut the 15 bottom positions from the chart -- and her first chart appearance since 1984's "Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride" went to No. 70 in a Christmas 1998-1999 re-issue. It is her highest chart appearance since the Vince Gill duet on "I Will Always Love You" went to No. 15 in 1995. It marks her 102nd song to chart on the country side and 107th single to reach any of the Billboard charts. (So everyone needs to keep calling their local radio stations to get it aired more so it can climb up the charts!) The CD itself doesn't jump as high as I expected it would due to post-CMA sales, but its 21-point leap to No. 31 on the country albums chart in its 18th chart week was due to the largest sales increase of the week out of all country CDs, earning it the "Pacesetter" distinction on the chart. Over on the independent albums chart, its 31-notch increase to No. 8 was the largest of all indie label albums, giving it the "Greatest Gainer" honor for that chart. The album remained steady at No. 5 on the bluegrass chart, and as was reported here Wednesday night, re-enters the pop albums chart at No. 199 for a 10th chart week there.Dolly has arrived in Europe for her seven-date, five-city tour of England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, which kicks off Friday night in Manchester, England. ITV News posted a story Thursday afternoon about an address she made that morning to a government-sponsored skills fair in town convened to discuss the importance of education. Known across America for her blossoming literacy program, she told those gathered at SkillCity: "Many of my relatives had little or no education. My own father was unable to read or write. I have always wondered what he could have been had he been able to, since he was one of the smartest people I have ever known. Isn't it more embarrassing not knowing how to read and write than it is to be learning in this day and age? You're never too old to learn. Get on with it - you can do it!" Read the full story here. (And anyone attending the show is asked to please send reports and photos, if available, here. Thanks!)
Nov. 14: The anticipated sales increases associated with performing before a national television audience at an awards show is coming for Dolly's Halos & Horns when Billboard releases its Nov. 23 charts on Thursday, the first one to reflect post-CMA Awards purchases. Rolling Stone.com reported Wednesday night that the album returns to the magazine's 200-CD pop albums chart at No. 199, marking its 10th week on that chart. The CD has been missing from the pop side of the charts for nine weeks; it peaked at No. 58 pop and No. 4 country. Based on its pop position, it should jump up on the country albums chart to somewhere between No. 20 and No. 25, compared to No. 52 in the Nov. 16 list for its 17th chart week.
Nov. 12: Sugar Hill Records has posted a Windows Media download of Dolly's new single, "Hello God," online. You may click here to access the song (although overseas readers may be unable to download it). Thanks, Rob!
Nov. 8: Dolly's Halos & Horns drops five spots to No. 52 in its 17th chart week in the Nov. 16 Billboard country albums chart. The CD remains steady at No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart but drops one on the independent label albums chart to No. 39.
Nov. 6: While I was on vacation, I stopped into Virgin Megastore, which we unfortunately don't have in our area, and I learned that they are promoting Halos & Horns on their Virgin Recommends CD Volume 8, which you get free when purchasing any CD on the "recommended" list. The promotional CD, which is manufactured by Virgin and MTV, is mostly fringe rock and pop acts, such as Ash, The Flaming Lips, Lamya and Interpol. However, the final track on the 16-cut disc is "I'm Gone," accompanied with the text: "Tennessee songbird Dolly Parton may reign as country music royalty, yet on her most recent album she proves to be so much more. Simply listen to new songs, including an emotional version of 'Stairway To Heaven,' and you'll know that she now sings from a wise, reverent place that is beyond this world." Unfortunately, the CD falls out of the top 40 Americana Radio Chart released Tuesday, down from No. 30 for the previous week.
Nov. 5: In the Nov. 9 Billboard chart released Thursday, Dolly's Halos & Horns slips five spots to No. 47 for its 16th chart week. The CD remains steady at No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart but falls off of the independent label albums chart, down from No. 26 the previous week.The new Bluegrass Unlimited bluegrass albums chart for November places Dolly's Halos & Horns at No. 4 for its third chart month, up from No. 6 in October. The magazine's November issue will also feature a review of the disc, although its text is not available on their website.
Oct. 30: Dolly's Halos & Horns lost five more places on the Americana Radio Chart released Thursday, down to No. 30 with 238 recorded "spins" of its songs.
Oct. 28: Dolly's Halos & Horns fell out of the British pop albums top 75 chart again this week, it was announced Sunday, dropping from No. 75 in its seventh week on the chart. (However, it is likely still in the top 3 on the country albums chart, but that one is no longer publicly available to my knowledge.) The CD also falls out of the top 40 of the British independent albums chart, down from No. 40. It spent about 10 weeks at No. 1 on the country side of the chart overseas.
Oct. 25: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses four more spaces on the Nov. 2 Billboard country albums chart released Thursday, coming in at No. 42 in its 15th chart week. The album remains steady on both the independent albums chart and bluegrass albums chart, at No. 26 and No. 5, respectively.On the Americana chart released Wednesday, the CD fell five spaces to No. 25, with cuts receiving 238 spins on radio, down from 259 the previous week.
Oct. 22: Got a reminder today that the BBC still posts the British independent album and singles charts (although they just list the top 40 instead of the full 75), and Dolly's Halos & Horns is No. 40 on this week indie albums list, down from its re-entry into the chart at No. 30 last week. On the singles chart, "If" falls out of the indie top 40 this week, down from its re-entry at No. 15 last week. Thanks, Michelle!
Oct. 21: Dolly's "If" from Halos & Horns falls off the 75-position British pop singles chart after just one week at No. 73, it was announced Sunday. As was reported here last week the, single was just Dolly's sixth appearance on the chart across the pond. The CD itself drops a dozen spots on the pop albums chart to come in at No. 75 for its seventh week (which would make its ninth or 10th week at No. 1 on the country albums chart, if it were still published).
Oct. 18: Congratulations to Calvin Bailey III of Middletown, N.Y., who takes home the Grand Prize in the Dollymania/Sugar Hill Records Contest! He'll receive an autographed copy of Dolly's Halos & Horns, a promo CD of the radio show to promote the album, an album flat and promotional photo of her from Sugar Hill Records. The three lucky first place winners (each of whom will receive the radio show CD, album flat and promo photo) are Brenda Willis of Cherryville, N.C., Jeff Lewis of Ringgold, Ga., and Mike Gleason of Georgetown, Ohio. Congratulations to all of you! And thanks to the hundreds of readers (from 40 states!) who entered the contest (and the dozens from outside the U.S. who had tried to enter but couldn't; sorry -- the record label restricted entries to U.S. residents only). To those who didn't win, check back soon. I plan to hold another contest in a few weeks, likely with a Dolly item or two of which I have an extra copy. And thanks again to Sugar Hill Records for making the contest possible!Dolly's Halos & Horns continues a slow descent on the Billboard charts released Thursday. In its 14th chart week, the CD loses four spots on the Oct. 26 country albums chart to come in at No. 34 and eight places on the independent albums chart to register at No. 26, but it remains steady at No. 5 on the bluegrass albums chart.
Oct. 16Dolly is all over the new issue of Power Source magazine. The Quick Takes column includes a photo of Dolly with the title "On The Big Screen," detailing her Mae West television movie soon to be filmed, her appearance as an angel in the upcoming Disney animated film My Peoples, "Marry Me" being included on the Sweet Home Alabama soundtrack and her duet with Dottie Rambo on "Stand By The River." An article titled "Selah Says Hello Dolly!" mentions her new recording of her "Once Upon A Christmas" for the Christian band's Oct. 29 release Rose Of Bethlehem, and the "Road To Success" section contains a publicity shot of Dolly and Dottie with brief bios of the two and quotes from major DJs in large markets saying their single is in heavy rotation. The story notes: "The
similarities in Dolly's and Dottie's writing style and their heartfelt vocals have often linked these two, but this is truly music history as these two legends in American music combine their talents to create a song, which will surely go down in Christian Country Music history." Also, the magazine's Top 50 bluegrass chart debuts two Dolly cuts: "Stand By The River" at No. 21 and Dolly's "I'm Gone" from Halos & Horns at No. 18.BBC Scotland has posted a separate link to Dolly's recent interview on the Tom Morton Show, which I'm told will remain online as long as there's an interest in hearing it. (Previously, it had been available on the network's "Listen Again" page, where programs are deleted after one week -- meaning Dolly's interview had been removed as of Monday.) Visit the show's page here to listen to the interview! Thanks, Kirsteen!
Halos & Horns drops a bit on the Americana Radio Chart released Tuesday, down eight spots to No. 12 with 259 radio spins recorded.
Oct. 14: Dolly's cover of Bread's song "If" from her CD Halos & Horns debuts this week on the British pop charts, it was announced Sunday. The song comes in at No. 73 on the 75-position chart, her first time on the singles chart there in eight years. Although she's always been very popular across the Atlantic, she hasn't had much chart success there with singles. Her only previous songs on the U.K. chart were "Jolene" (No. 7, 1976), "9 to 5" (No. 47, 1981), "Islands In The Stream" (No. 7, 1983), "Here You Come Again" (No. 75, 1984) and "The Day I Fall In Love" with James Ingram (No. 64, 1994). The album Halos & Horns also returns to the top 75 pop albums chart for a sixth week, coming in at No. 63.
Oct. 11: Dolly's Halos & Horns takes a dip for its 13th chart week on the Oct. 19 albums tallies released Thursday by Billboard. The CD falls eight spots on the country chart to No. 34; it had peaked at No. 4. Over on the bluegrass charts, it drops two places to No. 5, and it's down two on the independent label albums chart to No. 18. The BBC has posted video of Dolly's interview on the network's Thursday evening news program online. You may watch the nearly three-minute clip here.
Oct. 10: Hot Country Singles Chart sponsored by Hill Topper Music Group and Glory Train Records of indie singles based on repeated airplay puts Dolly and Dottie Rambo at No. 1 for the Sept. 14-Oct. 4 chart period for their new duet "Stand By The River." Dolly also comes in at No. 28 for "Dagger Through The Heart" (plus sister Stella's current single is No. 61, and her band leader Randy Kohrs' single "Little By Little" is No. 62)! on newsstands now is the October/November issue of Country Music Magazine as a special 30th anniversary edition of the publication with Dolly featured throughout, including a new review of Halos & Horns, which the magazine gives three and a half stars noting that it and her two other Sugar Hill releases rank up there with her early albums (which the reviewer says are "among the greatest country music ever made") and saying that the album "finds the Blue Ridge Mountain Girl still planted on an artistic peak."
And speaking of Halos, the album jumped up seven spots on this week's Americana Music Chart to No. 12, with its songs registering 322 spins on radio across the country.
Darlene at CCMA confirmed Wednesday that Dolly's "Hello God" from Halos will be sent to Christian radio around the first week of November as part of a promotional compilation disc by HMG Music in Nashville which will also contain her duet with Dottie Rambo. Thanks, Darlene!
Dolly performed her new European single, "If," on the British television show GMTV on Wednesday wearing a pale blue dress with gold details and her shoulder-length feathery wig. The show posted a few notes on Dolly and a couple of quotes from her interview on its website here. She also appeared Tuesday night on The Frank Skinner Show in a pink dress with gold flowers. Her appearance on that show featured discussions of Dollywood, the international success of "I Will Always Love You," and a performance of "Hey Good Lookin'" with Ian Thorpe and The Appleton Sisters. Thanks, Suzi! And Voice Of An Angel has reported that remaining stops include appearances on Gloria Hunniford Open House and BBC-1's 6 p.m. newscast on Thursday, a second GMTV performance on Friday and The Des O'Conner Show on Monday, during which she'll tape several song performances to be broadcast throughout next week. Thanks, Brian, for reminding me of these listings!
Oct. 8: Although her appearance hasn't been officially announced or publicly confirmed by awards officials, Dolly said on a radio program in Scotland Monday that she will, in fact, perform her Sept. 11th tribute song, "Hello God," on the Nov. 6 CMA Awards broadcast. She also said that the song will be the second U.S. single from Halos & Horns. This is the first time Dolly has indicated that she is scheduled to sing on the program. Prior to this week, she's been saying that she "hopes" it will be a single and that she "hopes" to sing on the awards show, but this week she said that she "will." The awards program will be broadcast live on CBS. Dolly's comments came during The Tom Morton Show on BBC Scotland Monday. Other topics of conversation included the popularity of roots music, her songwriting and the new album. An interesting comment concerned her cover of "Stairway To Heaven" from the new CD. She said some people like it, some don't, and still others don't like it the first time they hear it but become more fond of it after a few listens, including her husband. She said she didn't let him hear it before it was finished, and when he took a listen for the first time she could tell he wasn't very fond of it but didn't want to hurt her feelings, telling her only: "Well it's different. I'll give you that." You may listen to the entire nearly 25-minute interview through the end of the week by visiting BBC Scotland's Listen Again page here. Scroll down to "Tom Morton" and click on "Mon." Dolly's portion starts about 18 minutes into the program.
Oct. 7: Dolly's publicity tour is on a roll overseas, kicking off with a CD signing in Belfast on Friday (see a photo and read a brief in The Irish Independent here, but you must first register for their site). Other notes:
* The Belfast Telegraph had a story about Dolly and her Scots-Irish heritage, taken from a full interview Dolly had with the newspaper to be printed in its Monday night edition. Read an abbreviated version of the interview here. Among items noted in it: Dolly plans a tour of larger venues in the U.K. next year.
* She appeared on the BBC2 radio network's Jonathan Ross Show on Saturday in a very flirtatious interview, talking about her tour, the album and more, including the fact that there's a BBC film crew following her for a documentary during this trip. Visit the show's site here, where you may access Saturday's broadcast (Dolly appears about two and a half hours into the program, so you'll need to hit "skip 5 min" several times to get there if you don't want to hear the entire three-hour show.) Thanks, Andrew!
* A fan overseas has discovered a couple of additional Dolly appearances in the U.K. while she's there. According to TV listings, she says, Dolly is scheduled for The Frank Skinner Show at 10:50 p.m. Tuesday and GMTV for 6 a.m. Wednesday. Thanks, Suzi!
* And, as was first reported here more than a month ago, her cover of Bread's "If" hits radio stations and stores as a single on Monday.
Oct. 4: Thanks to a sales spike following Dolly's appearance on NPR's Morning Edition last week (hear the entire interview here), Halos & Horns is designated the "Greatest Gainer" on both the country albums chart and independent label albums chart for the Oct. 12 Billboard edition released Thursday, meaning of all CDs on either chart, Dolly had the largest increase in sales figures for the week. She jumps up six spots on the country chart to No. 26, six spots on the indie chart to No. 16 and one spot on the bluegrass chart to No. 3. The album is in its 12th chart week.
Oct. 3: Want a copy of Halos & Horns autographed by Miss Dolly? Want professional prints of promotional photos from the album? Want a CD of the album's radio special? And more? Dollymania in cooperation with Sugar Hill Records is offering a great prize pack to one lucky fan who enters a contest here, with three great first-prize winners to receive materials as well! Click here for full details and information on how to enter! Entries will only be accepted for the next two weeks, so send yours in today!Dolly's Halos & Horns slips five more spots on the weekly Americana chart released Tuesday, down to No. 19. Its songs logged 270 spins for the week, down from 305 in the previous week.
U.K. record dealer HMV has announced that Dolly will sign copies of the CD in person at its Grafton Street store in Dublin from 12:15 p.m. until 1:15 p.m. on Friday and at its Oxford Circus location at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Sept. 30: The Miami Herald on Sunday included Dolly's Halos & Horns in a list of 11 recommended CDs of "traditional" country music in stores now along with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and the Dixie Chicks' Home, among others. Halos and Home were the only two in the group to get the paper's highest review level, four stars. About Dolly's album, reviewer Howard Cohen noted: "Not many artists can craft the best album of their career 35 years after making their debut. Dolly did. 'These Old Bones,' an amusing and touching story about a misunderstood mountain psychic, is of a piece with her earliest story songs like 'Coat of Many Colors.' Parton's transformation of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' from overplayed classic rock staple to Southern gospel marvel is a stroke of genius." Dolly also appears on two of the remaining 10 CDs listed. Read the full list here.
Sept. 27: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses three more spots on the Oct. 5 Billboard country albums chart released Thursday, coming in at No. 32 for its 11th chart week. The album had peaked at No. 4. It is down four on the independent label albums chart, down to No. 22. It remains steady on the bluegrass albums chart at No. 4.
Sept. 26: The second part of Dolly's Morning Edition interview provided NPR listeners a good overview of the new CD, Halos & Horns, with clips played of the new version of "Shattered Image" as well as "These Old Bones," "Sugar Hill" and "Stairway To Heaven." She talked about how "Shattered" was an old song but that she felt it was appropriate given that she's still always in the tabloids and how some of the worst stories they publish about her hurt. She also offered some of the stories she felt were the "craziest" they've published about her. On "These Old Bones," she talked about how she first did the old lady's voice as a joke and it then hit her that it would be great to record it that way. She also discussed briefly the fact that she's no longer played on most radio stations but that a handful are starting to play cuts from her three most recent albums. Listen to Wednesday's 7-minute, 8-second segment from NPR's website here (and Tuesday's installment here). NPR has also posted the entire half-hour interview here (since the aired versions have song clips, that amounts to more than 20 minutes of extra material). Among the "bonus" material: discussion on other songs from the new CD, that she plans to direct the video for "These Old Bones" herself, more on the tabloid stories, her movies, her other bluegrass-style covers, more on her childhood, "Jolene," her business interests, the Mae West movie, touring and more. And of course they have a story based on the interview here. The interview seems to have had an impact on sales, at least at Amazon.com, where the album on Wednesday shot up to the top 30 of the site's sales from down in the lower-400s.
Sept. 25: Part one of Dolly's Morning Edition interview on NPR offered a nice overview of Dolly's history and a few insights into her music, and her appearance was touted as NPR's lead story on the front page of the network's website Tuesday. She said she often thinks of her childhood in the Appalachian Mountains and finds it amazing that she went from not having electricity to living in today's high-tech world. Host Bob Edwards commented that many of her songs are autobiographical, as clips were played from "My Tennessee Mountain Home," "Coat of Many Colors," "Dumb Blonde" and the original "Shattered Image." Part two of the interview is scheduled to air on Wednesday morning's program, set to focus mainly on her new CD, Halos & Horns. Listen to Tuesday's 7-minute, 19-second story from NPR's website here. Audio of part two should be posted on their site after noon Eastern on Wednesday. Dolly's Halos & Horns loses six spots on Tuesday's Americana Music Chart, falling to No. 14. Its songs logged 305 radio spins for the week, down from the previous week's 370.
Sept. 20: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses seven more spots on the Sept. 28 Billboard country albums chart released Thursday, coming in at No. 29 for its 10th chart week. The album had peaked at No. 4. It falls off the 200-position pop albums chart, down from No. 198, and is down seven on the independent label albums chart, down to No. 18. It remains steady on the bluegrass albums chart at No. 4. Dolly's interview on NPR's Morning Edition taped earlier this week is scheduled air in two eight-minute segments on Friday, Sugar Hill Records announced Thursday night. Thanks, Rob!
Sept. 17: For the dozens of fans who have been e-mailing me asking about record sales: Ten weeks into its release, Dolly's Halos & Horns has sold about 91,000 copies, Sugar Hill Records confirmed to Dollymania this week. For comparison, Little Sparrow had sold a little more than 80,000 at this point in its release last year, meaning copies of Halos are selling about 10 percent faster than did those of her most recent album. Since its release almost 20 months ago, Sparrow has sold about 198,000 copies. And since its release nearly three years ago, The Grass Is Blue has sold about 179,000 copies. Since the release of Halos, these two other Sugar Hill titles by Dolly have logged about 8,000 units sold each. Thanks, Rob!Dolly loses one spot on the American Radio Chart released Tuesday, with Halos & Horns down to No. 8. Radio spins of cuts from the CD dropped 10 to 370 for the week.
U<>Sept. 16: Dolly's European tour has finally officially sold out, organizers have confirmed to Dollymania. The last tickets for the Nov. 26 and 27 concerts in Glasgow, Scotland, were sold on Friday, said officials with Asgard, the company which put together Dolly's seven-date, five-city November tour of England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Most dates on her first European tour in two decades sold out almost immediately after becoming available, but as you may recall Dollymania was the first media outlet to report, a scheduling conflict forced postponement of all overseas dates, which had originally been planned for October, prompting sales to cease. To help make up to fans for the date change, Dolly added a second show in Glasgow. When tickets for the new dates went on sale, all except Glasgow sold out almost immediately. A little more than a month ago tour organizers said that based upon the previous week's sales they had expected the two dates in Glasgow would in a matter of days be the last stop of the tour to sell out. However, they tell me, the final 300 or so tickets went much more slowly than anticipated, with the final ones being sold last week, meaning tickets for all seats for her European tour are now in the hands of fans. The complete listing of dates and venues is published above. The European leg follows her sold-out 13-city U.S. tour.
Sept. 13: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses three more spots on the Sept. 21 Billboard country albums chart released Thursday, coming in at No. 22 for its ninth chart week. The album had peaked at No. 4. It falls 18 places on the 200-position pop albums chart to No. 198, but gains a notch on the independent label albums chart to move up to No. 11. It inches down one place on the bluegrass albums chart to No. 4.
Another critic singled out Dolly this week as one of the most poignant voices responding to last year's terrorist attacks. Thursday's Houston Press contained an article by David Cantwell looking at songs which have addressed God's role during and after the events of Sept. 11th, including works by Alan Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, Chuck D and Dolly. He wrote about "Hello God" from Halos & Horns: "No one has broached this issue with more humility than Dolly Parton . . . In a prayer that begins like a whisper but quickly builds in intensity, she admits she's recently questioned her faith . . . She needs help, she says; we all do. 'Do you love some more than others?' she asks, but she knows the answer. At the close, Parton raises her voice alongside a gospel choir, a collection of voices at first so much larger than life that it feels over the top but soon sounds necessary, suggesting as it does the people of the world. 'Hello, God, please forgive us,' Parton cries, 'for we know not what we do.' Her fragile plea, stacked upon all those other voices, rises to a height it could never reach alone." Read the full story here.
Rolling Stone recently posted some photos of Dolly from her concert last month in The Windy City. Under the headline "Parton Serenades Chicago," they are available here.
Sept. 11Chet Flippo's weekly CMT.com column this week focuses on country's musical responses to Sept. 11. In recounting the various songs written after the terrorist attacks, he notes: "those written with some perspective and some time removed from the actual events themselves -- are emerging as a sturdy body of work themselves. As country's more gifted songwriters assess the impacts of the past year, their entire work can't help but be affected in some ways by 9/11 and its emotional fallout." Key among these, he cites Dolly's "Hello God," from Halos & Horns. He quotes lyrics from the work, which he notes "considers the world from the viewpoint of one whose faith has been utterly shattered by the 9/11 atrocities . . . Unlike most of her optimistic works, Parton's 'Hello God' finds no answers: only heartfelt, agonized questions." Read his full story here.Dolly remains steady on the Americana albums chart released Tuesday, with Halos & Horns at No. 7, recording 380 spins on radio, compared to 385 for the previous week.
In a Pam Tillis review in Friday's Miami Herald, critic Howard Cohen said Halos is one of the four "immediate country classics" released this year. Read his review here.
Sept. 9: Dolly's Halos & Horns remains steady at No. 3 in its ninth week on the British country albums chart released Sunday. The CD had peaked at No. 1 for six weeks. Dolly's "Hello God" from the new CD got a mention in Saturday's Commercial Appeal in Memphis for an article on country songwriters' reactions to Sept. 11th. The story includes a few sentences from Dolly on how she came to write the song. Read it here.
Sept. 6: Dolly's Halos & Horns loses three spots on the Sept. 14 Billboard country albums chart released Thursday, coming in at No. 19 for its eighth chart week. The album had peaked at No. 4. It drops 15 on the pop albums chart to No. 180 and two on the independent label albums chart to No. 12 but stays steady at No. 3 on the bluegrass albums chart. Although it wasn't published until a couple of weeks after the concert, PopMatters last week posted a review of Dolly's Chicago show. Writer Charlotte Robinson took several jabs at House of Blues, basically saying it's almost the worst concert hall in town, but she said she found Dolly's performance sublime, saying that despite all the venue's problems "attending a live show by one of the living legends of country music as she's riding high on the crest of a comeback was nothing less than fabulous." She raved about Dolly's voice, her musicianship accompanying herself on several instruments and her decision to focus on the roots music which has brought her critical acclaim in recent years. She finishes by saying she hopes Dolly returns, but to a better venue, soon. Read the full story here.
E-Trucker recently published its review of Halos & Horns, with Jon Rawl calling the CD "another bluegrass dynamo." He says "Hello God" is so moving that it makes the hair on the back of one's neck stand on end and that the CD continues to prove Dolly "is an angel of music." He gives it an "A." Read his full review here.
Sept. 4: Debbie Poole was able to have another photo developer salvage a few better shots of Dolly from her tour-closing concert in Kansas City over the weekend. Take a look here. Thanks, Debbie!Dolly's Halos & Horns slips two places to No. 7 on the Americana Radio Chart released Tuesday. Its number of radio spins for the week dropped from 424 to 385.
Sept. 3: Debbie Poole has submitted a few more details (and a couple of photos) from Dolly's tour-closing show over the weekend in Kansas City. She tells me that this show catered to an older crowd, as about 60 percent of the audience appeared to be over 40. They rose to their feet and clapped along to "Train, Train." She commented that she had always loved that song and wished she had written it herself. Toward the end of the show, she said she was going to try and do another sad one that she wrote before starting "Try." She thanked the crowd for their kindness, saying that she appreciates everything everyone has done for her and hoped that everyone enjoyed the shows on this tour and what better place to end it than in Kansas City. She started to exit the stage but turned around to perform "I Will Always Love You" to another standing ovation, finishing it off with a verse done in the bluegrass style. (Debbie unfortunately had a film developing accident which ruined most of her shots of the evening. However, they were able to salvage one shot of the venue exterior here and one of Dolly on stage here.) Thanks, Debbie!I've confirmed with the British promoters of Dolly's November tour that there are still a couple hundred tickets available for her Glasgow shows via Ticketmaster UK.
Sept. 2: I'm told that Dolly was "in great spirit, just singing her heart out for the crowd" at Saturday night's sold-out concert in Kansas City, the final stop on her official Halos & Horns Tour. Wearing the same outfit she had on at her Grand Ole Opry appearance last month, she stuck to pretty much the same set list as at previous shows, including the song "Try," which she added to the last few dates on the tour. She also sang "Happy Birthday" to a 90-year-old man in the audience. Fred Phelps was outside protesting, I'm told, but authorities early on moved him away from the line of fans waiting to get inside. However, probably due to the protest, agents from the FBI and CIA were reportedly assigned to keep an eye on the show. Look for more details (and possibly a few photos!) soon. Thanks, Debbie! This concert closed out her official summer U.S. tour. She still has separate sold-out shows being performed as fundraisers for the Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library -- Wednesday night in Sioux Falls, S.D., and in December at Dollywood -- and a seven-date tour of the British Isles in November. And although tour organizers had said the Glasgow dates only had a handful of tickets left a few weeks ago and were expected to sell out at any time, a fan says he was able to get a ticket last week from Ticketmaster U.K., so there may be a few dozen still left!Dolly's Halos & Horns loses one more place on the British country albums chart released Sunday, falling to No. 3 in its eighth chart week. The CD peaked for six weeks at No. 1. The Dixie Chicks debut their new disc at No. 1 this week, while Shania Twain falls to No. 2.
Aug. 31: Note: I hesitate to report this since it gives this imbecile additional publicity, but this story is newsworthy and will be of interest to many Dolly fans. Thanks, Adam. Although a large portion of Dolly's live show is dedicated to songs filled with messages of worshiping God and praising Jesus, Topeka-based Christian Right hatemonger Fred Phelps, best known for picketing the funerals of those who have died of AIDS and the victims of gay bashings (including Matthew Shepard), has announced he will picket Dolly's sold-out Saturday night show in Kansas City. In a press release, Phelps gives his reasons for choosing to picket Dolly -- among them: that she has an openly-gay manager, Sandy Gallin (though it's true that Sandy is out of the closet, he hasn't been her manager for nearly 10 years now); that she says had she been born a man she would have been a drag queen (a joke she often tells); and an insinuation by Phelps that Dolly and longtime best friend Judy Ogle are lesbian lovers (a rumor that has been reported in the tabloids but which Dolly has emphatically denied). In its text, he calls her a "dyke pimp" and proclaims: "God hates Dolly Parton! . . .Dolly Parton hates God!!!" The end of the press release also features a drawing of protest signs reading epithets such as "God Hates Fags" and "Fags Are Leeches" and one with a photo of Dolly proclaiming her "Dyke Pimp." For more information on Phelps' agenda, visit the site www.godhatesphelps.com/. And I respectfully ask any who are attending the show to ignore Phelps and his minions. Do not shout at them, do not counter-protest, do not acknowledge them. He gets much more publicity for these stunts when there is a confrontation. Show the bigots that Dolly fans are bigger than they are.Some more fans have added their reactions to Dolly's St. Louis show. Read them here. And one has written about last week's Lowell, Mass., show here. Thanks, guys!
Aug. 30: Dolly loses a little ground on the Sept. 7 Billboard charts released Thursday. Halos & Horns falls four places on the country albums chart to No. 16 for its seventh chart week. The album holds steady at No. 3 on the bluegrass albums chart, drops 33 on the pop albums chart to No. 165 and loses three notches on the independent albums chart to No. 10. And on the tally of most-played videos on CMT for the broadcast week ending Aug. 18, "Dagger Through The Heart" moves up three spots to No. 16.The CD falls out of the Canadian top 50 country albums in the Aug. 29 chart released Thursday, down from No. 45. The album spent six weeks on the chart up north, peaking at No. 18. And on the Neo Hippy weekly independent albums chart, it drops two spaces in its seventh week to No. 18.
Dolly wowed them again with her St. Louis concert Wednesday night, I'm told. Melissa Preusser writes that Dolly was "amazing." She changed up the set list a little to perform "I Will Always Love You" before her medley of songs and closed with "Try." Wearing an off-white pair of Capri pattern pants and a beaded suit-like top of the same pattern, Dolly amazed the crowd, which sang along to several songs. She also sported a shoulder-length "flippy" wig and "looked great!" Thanks, Melissa! Next stop is the close of her U.S. tour in Kansas City on Saturday night. E-mail recaps here!
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reviewed the show on Thursday, saying her performance "soared." Read the review, and see a photo, here.
Aug. 29: Although it's not on CMT's official top 20 countdown, Dolly's video for "Dagger Through The Heart" has been getting a bit more airplay than when the network started airing it in the late-night hours in July. In video airplay for the week ending Aug. 11 (the most recent figures published by Billboard), Dolly's cut was the 19th most played one on CMT. The magazine also carried a review of the single in its Aug. 24 issue, praising it as "a lovely acoustic number teeming with personality and charm." The reviewer added that Dolly provides "hauntingly beautiful delivery" and "her beautiful, vulnerable voice infuses each line with an ocean of heartbreak." He says it may be too bluegrass for mainstream country radio but encouraged programmers at country, Americana and bluegrass stations to play the cut. Thanks, Cleve!A few more Halos & Horns reviews have come out recently. Among them:
* The indie rock e-zine Delusions of Adequacy on Tuesday gave a mixed reaction, praising Dolly's heartfelt roots music as coming from an authentic daughter of Appalachia and saying it has "perfectly balanced" and wonderful cuts like "Shattered Image," "John Daniel," "Dagger Through The Heart" and the title song. However, he didn't think "Stairway To Heaven" translated well into bluegrass and that her Sept. 11th-inspired songs were too "overblown." Read Matt Fink's review here.
* The August issue of The Music Box loves nearly all of the album's songs, with the major exception of "If," saying nothing against Dolly's interpretation but just that it's a bad song which should have been forgotten instead of being covered. Overall, John Metzger terms the album "sometimes resplendent, sometimes flavorless, but inevitably palatable and pleasing." Read the review here.
* A recent review in The Press of Atlantic City, on the other hand, enjoyed "Stairway" and calls "What A Heartache" a song that is "particularly pretty." However, he criticized the voice she uses for "These Old Bones" and said that "Hello God" and "Raven Dove" feature "too much production." Read Charles Schroeder's review here.
* Finally, an interesting site I ran across this week, Goluboy, published its opinion of the CD on Monday, with the reviewer saying he never thought he'd like bluegrass until he heard this album, being "particularly enchanted" with the "amazing remake" of "Stairway To Heaven." Read it here.
Aug. 28: Americana Radio Chart updated its Aug. 27 figures on Tuesday, and Dolly moves up two notches to No. 5, with cuts from Halos & Horns receiving 424 spins for the week, compared to 425 the previous week. The next stop on Dolly's summer U.S. tour is St. Louis on Wednesday night! Anyone who gets photos or wishes to offer a recap of the show, please e-mail them here. Thanks!
Aug. 27: The Oregonian had a great review of Halos & Horns in its Monday edition. Scott D. Lewis loved just about every song on the album and gives it a "B." He calls its ballads "tender and touching," its fast-paced songs like "I'm Gone" "real winners," and calls "These Old Bones" a song which is "cute, charming and silly all at the same time." The only cuts he didn't like were the CD's two covers, "If" (which he says is such a bad song to begin with that even a great talent like Dolly can't make it work) and "Stairway To Heaven" (he didn't say Dolly's version was bad, just that the song is such a classic that no one should ever attempt to cover it). Read the full review here. And although this review is a few weeks old, I just came across it. A British site This Is York raved over the album earlier this month. Charles Hutchinson says the CD is amazing, especially the stand-out "Stairway To Heaven" cover, saying "far from being a strained novelty . . . Dolly goes for the heart of the wild beast armed only with that quiverin' voice and a choral army." He sums up his review by saying: "This is Dolly mountain music with new peaks." Read the full review here.
I also came across another chart this week, the Americana Radio Chart, which shows Halos down one spot for the chart week ending Aug. 20, in which it comes in at No. 7. However, its airplay numbers increased that week to 425, up from 415 the previous week and 363 the week before that.
Aug. 26: After a six-week reign at No. 1 on the British country albums chart, Dolly's Halos & Horns slips one spot to No. 2 for its seventh chart week, it was announced Sunday. Shania Twain's Come On Over regains the No. 1 spot. But, as you may recall, last year Little Sparrow replaced Shania at No. 1 for several weeks, then fell to No. 2, then went back to No. 1 again for a total of eight weeks at the chart's top spot. Out In America, a gay and lesbian-themed news service with websites for many metropolitan areas across the U.S., has chosen the CD as this week's review. Writer F. Daniel Kent says the album continues to set Dolly "as not only a country music diva, but also as a superlative songwriter and storyteller." He loves every track on the disc, especially "These Old Bones," "Dagger Through The Heart," "Not For Me" the title cut, "Stairway To Heaven" and "If." He concludes "Dolly Parton is the ultimate expression of what country music truly is at its very core because she not only practices tradition, she is tradition." Read his full review on Out In Baltimore here.
Aug. 23: Dolly inches up one more notch to No. 12 on the Aug. 31 Billboard country albums chart in the sixth chart week for Halos & Horns, it was announced Thursday. The CD falls nine places on the pop albums chart to No. 132, two spots on the independent labels album chart to No. 7 and one space on the bluegrass albums chart to No. 3.Boston-area papers started offering their opinions on Thursday of Dolly's sold-out Wednesday night concert in Lowell, Mass. The Lowell Sun, which also sports a photo of Dolly at the show, called her performance "dazzling" and her band "stellar" (read it here), and the Boston Herald said she's "never sounded better" and called her show "truly divine." Read it here. Thanks, Mark!
The next-to-last stop on Dolly's U.S. tour is St. Louis on Wednesday night. (Anyone who can send in a recap and/or photos, please do so here. Thanks!) And the St. Louis Riverfront Times on Thursday offered a preview of the show with an article which points out Dolly's contradictory yet complementary appearance as "a whore, a saint, a poet and a preacher disguised as a dumb blond country girl." The article, by Roy Kasten, goes on to chronicle her career and explain that all of those images the public has of Dolly have made her "country music's closest equivalent to Elvis." But beyond that comparison, he notes that she is, at her heart, someone who "embodies an absolute freedom born or individual charisma and boundless talent" and "a quintessential American artist, exuding an aura of wide-open possibility, that she can do and be anything she damn well pleases." He calls Halos & Horns "sexier" than her two previous roots albums, pointing to the introspective artistry present in "Hello God" and the deeply "moving" cuts "Dagger Through The Heart" and "I'm Gone" as well as the amazing cover of "Stairway To Heaven," about which he notes that "no one but Dolly could make a song rock without the aid of a single electric guitar and also make a connection, at a personal level, with what was so beautiful about the tune the first time you heard it." Read his full story here.
Aug. 22: Wanna take a trip to St. Louis to see Dolly next week? Well, Dollymania reader Korey Kelly, a college student in Alabama, had travel companion cancel and is now looking for someone from the area to take the ticket and join the trip up to Missouri to see Miss Dolly next Wednesday night. Any interested parties may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug. 21: My good pal Vanessa sent in some shots of Dolly from her New York appearances. Check them out here. Thanks, Nessie!British business journal Hoovers carried the review in its Monday edition, with Graham McDonald noting that while some songs "verge on the oversentimental," the album is still amazing. He sums it up by saying her awesome cover of "Stairway To Heaven" alone makes the record worth buying and "forgives" any cuts which he believes don't "quite work." Read the full review here.
And Australian radio network ABC on Tuesday says she CD "echoes her classic bluegrass style" and calls the CD's two cover songs "intriguing." Read it here.
Aug. 20: The Chicago papers on Monday started coming out with reviews of Dolly's Saturday night show there. Joshua Klein of The Chicago Tribune gave a good overview of the show, recounting many of Dolly's jokes and saying that her voice is in top shape, especially noting that compared to Whitney Houston's mega-hit cover of "I Will Always Love You" that the song "will never be more beautiful than when sung by the woman who wrote it." Read the full article here (but you have to register with their site to access the article; it's free, though). And Bobby Reed of the Chicago Sun Times called her performance dazzling, saying it proved "old-fashioned showmanship never goes out of style." He said the crowd was "worshipful," her show "engaging" and her voice "marvelous." Read his review here.And a couple of fans were kind enough to send in their recaps of the show as well. You may read them here. Thanks, guys! Next stop is the sold-out concert Wednesday night in the Boston area's Lowell Auditorium. (Anyone attending the show who wants to send in a recap, it would be much appreciated! E-mail me here.)
Aug. 19: Dolly's getting close to besting her own personal record of eight weeks at No. 1 on the British country albums chart last year as Halos & Horns holds on to the top spot for a sixth week in a row, it was announced Sunday.
Aug. 17: Dolly was all over the Chicago papers on Friday in advance of her sold-out concert at the House of Blues there on Saturday. In a Sun Times article titled "Hitting the road with 'halo' intact," Bobby Reed gives a good overview of Dolly's career, and she discusses several cuts from the new CD. (Read it here.) The city's music guide, Metro Mix, features a story dedicated to her songwriting and some of her most frank comments about Sept. 11th. (Read it here.) And the city's alternative weekly, Chicago Reader, offers its review of the CD here. Thanks, Chris, for sending all of these in! (And anyone attending the show who wants to send in a recap, it would be much appreciated! E-mail me here.)The New Zealand Herald gives the CD four out of four stars in its Saturday edition, with Graham Reid saying Dolly's "consistency of tone and deep subtexts of guilt and redemption" have made each of her Sugar Hill recordings "revelatory albums," even for those who aren't fans of country or bluegrass. Read the full review here.
The Cleveland Free Times gives the album an "A," with reviewer John Chaich saying "It's classic Parton for old and new fans alike, and . . . worth the sin." (He also notes that "These Old Bones" features her "best character voice" since 1977's "Me And Little Andy.") Read it here.
The Boston Herald had two opposing opinions of the CD in its Friday edition. A feature story and interview promoting her tour stop in nearby Lowell on Wednesday by Steve Morse praised the album, especially her cover of "Stairway To Heaven," saying it is the "highlight of the album" and that "anyone who can breathe new life into a chestnut such as 'Stairway to Heaven' has got to be doing something right." (Read it here.) Then in the same paper, reviewer Kevin Convey gives it two out of four stars, saying the album is too "cornpone" and that her songs are too "Nutrasweet," calling it "overcooked, under seasoned and almost entirely lacking in nourishment." (Of the dozens and dozens of reviews which have appeared in major publications on the album, about two-thirds have found it to be perfect in every way, with almost all of the remaining third gushing over it and just not liking one or two cuts. This is the only the third opinion released about it to say that the whole album is bad. Read it here.)
Mix Online published a lengthy article titled "The Gospel According To Dolly Parton," featuring an entertaining interview from her Nashville offices in which she talks about the new album. Read it here.
BBC Radio 2 recently posted a transcript of an interview Dolly did July 31 on their network about the new album. Read it here.
Tour officials in Great Britain tell Dollymania that her second concert in Glasgow didn't sell out on Wednesday or Thursday as had been expected, but it will very soon, as only a small "handful" of tickets remained available as of Friday. Tickets may be purchased from Ticketmaster UK for the Nov. 27 show, which is the only one of her stops on the November tour of the British Isles which has yet to sell out.
Aug. 16: Billboard released its Aug. 24 albums charts on Thursday, and Dolly's sales increased slightly, reflecting the apparent impact of last week's appearance on The Tonight Show. Halos & Horns remains steady on the country albums charts at No. 13 for its fifth chart week. The CD moves up six places on the pop charts to No. 123 and one on the independent albums chart to No. 5. It holds on to its No. 2 spot on the bluegrass albums chart. The CD loses one notch on the Aug. 15 Canadian country albums charts released Thursday, down to No. 39 for its fifth week. Also, on the Roots Music Report chart released Thursday, the album moves up from No. 12 to No. 1 on the bluegrass chart and from No. 12 to No. 4 on the overall roots music chart. Finally, I came across another chart this week, on the "adult alternative hippy music" site Neo Hippy. Dolly's record ranks No. 16 on their independent label chart.
Boston's alternative weekly, Boston Phoenix, published a raving review of Halos & Horns on Thursday. Ted Drozdowski wrote that the album has "Navajo-blanket precision" arrangements. He calls "These Old Bones" the album's "biggest surprise" and says it offers a "nice metaphor" for Dolly's own reaching to new generations with roots music. He says the CD's best cuts include "Not For Me," "Sugar Hill" and the title song. And he says her cover of "Stairway To Heaven" is "a work of precise beauty" as her voice "slowly forms each note into a cotton-candy delicacy" and then revs up for the finale. He says the disc, along with her two other most recent solo albums on Sugar Hill Records, "make the case for her coronation as country music's modern-day queen." Read it here. Thanks, Mark!
The Denver Post on Thursday finally got around to reviewing Dolly's Tuesday night concert there, with Ricardo Baca praising Dolly's performance (saying she's "still at the top of her game") and called her songs "capsules of her life." Read it here. Thanks, Adam!
Aug. 15: Some kind fans on Thursday submitted their recaps (and even a few photos!) of Dolly's Wednesday night show in Denver. Take a look here. Thanks, guys! Next up, Dolly blows into The Windy City with her Saturday night sold-out appearance at House of Blues Chicago. Anyone who wishes to send in their recaps, please e-mail me here.
Aug. 14: All of Dolly's European tour dates but one have "completely" sold out, its promoters have confirmed to Dollymania, with all tickets for the entire tour expected to be gone by the end of this week. Every date on her November tour of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland has sold out except for the added Nov. 27 concert in Glasgow, Asgard, the European firm promoting her shows overseas, has confirmed. However, even that date is expected to be sold out by Wednesday or Thursday. Also, it has been confirmed that unfortunately no additional dates will be added to the tour. I'm told that while it was expected that more than the one date would be added, scheduling problems at the venues has made it impossible to include any new shows on the line-up. Finally, her stops across the pond will be before much larger audiences than those in her sold out U.S. tour. This summer, the capacity at the majority of venues she's been playing is about 1,000, with a couple in the 1,300-1,400 range and the largest being Las Vegas with 1,800. In Europe, however, the smallest venue she is playing will be the 1,800-seat halls in Belfast and Manchester, while the largest are the two shows in London with 3,400 ticketholders each and Dublin's 3,500. Thanks, Paul!
Aug. 13: Sugar Hill Records has just confirmed that Dolly will do a live Internet chat on MSN Thursday at 1 p.m. Central time. This will be the second time she has taken fans' questions online, as she did a similar chat for Barnes & Noble's online store a little more than a year ago to promote Little Sparrow. The chat will be on MSN's entertainment page here. Thanks, Rob!Manuel (who happens to be currently operating a Yahoo discussion board dedicated to Dolly's 2002 tour here) was kind enough to send in his recap of Dolly's Saturday night sold-out show at Las Vegas' House of Blues. Read it here. Thanks, Manuel!
A fan in Manchester, England, tells me that Dolly's concert there has, in fact, sold out. No official word yet from the promoters of her November tour of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, but this fan said the show sold out long before the date of the concert moved from October. Thanks, Michelle!
Aug. 12: Halos & Horns holds on to the top spot on the British country albums chart for a fifth week in a row, it was announced Sunday. The CD falls off the top 20 independent label albums chart, down from No. 19. Virgin Megastore's online magazine weighed in with its review of Dolly's Wednesday night concert in Los Angeles. Kim Taylor said the evening brought out "daddy's little golden girl in all her glory" and that attending a Dolly concert is "like being showered in gold dust and sunshine in the middle of a long, dark night." She said the only disappointment of the evening was "that the end comes all too soon" and that Dolly didn't perform an encore. She added that while the club played her cover of "Stairway To Heaven" over the sound system after the show ended, she wished Dolly had performed it live because "it is one of the best songs from Halos & Horns" and has received regular airplay on LA's KCRW radio. Read the full review here.
The LA Times on Saturday published its review of her Wednesday performance at House of Blues Hollywood, with writer Randy Lewis noting that she "was in total command of the fans, who greeted her with an unusually effusive roar." The article mixes in an interview with Dolly, in which she talked about her absence from country radio, how she got into recording bluegrass, and the fact that she's "the happiest" she's ever been with her art. Read the article here.
Dolly's Nov. 23 show at Belfast's Waterfront Hall is sold out, the concert venue has confirmed. And a Dolly fan in the area tells me that all tickets were gone an amazing one hour after they went on sale Friday! Thanks, Mark!
Aug. 10: Dolly will "soon" film a video for " These Old Bones," Sugar Hill Records has confirmed to Dollymania. No word yet on the filming date or when it might premiere, as my contact at the label says he just found out about the video plans on Thursday. Thanks, Rob! On Friday, Dolly announced in an interview with the Denver Post that she would film a video for the song from Halos & Horns. As she does in the song, Dolly in the video will perform both the old mountain woman character and her daughter, explaining that she is "dressing down" to play the old woman and even had some chipped yellow teeth made for her to wear on the shoot. She added that she felt that the song would be a great basis for a television movie or series. Read the article here. Although no official word has come from House of Blues Promotions, Dolly's full tour has apparently sold out, including her stop in Las Vegas on Saturday. The Denver newspaper and the venue she is playing in St. Louis both announced that her dates there are sold out. Given that Ticketmaster has not had tickets available for any of the other dates for some time now, and the fact that when a couple of other dates on the tour sold out House of Blues did not announce it (every concert on the tour has sold out), it is apparent that the entire tour is now sold out. Overseas, tickets are still available on Ticketmaster UK for Glasgow and London, and her Belfast show went on sale Friday. Her Dublin stop might be sold out, because tickets were initially on sale for it through Ticketmaster Ireland, but they have been showing it unavailable for some time now. No word on the Manchester stop of the tour as to whether it is sold out or if tickets just haven't gone back on sale yet, as its venue still has the original October date listed instead of the re-scheduled show in November, and when one attempts to place an order, it shows none available.
A couple of local reporters have logged their opinions of Dolly's Wednesday night concert in Los Angeles, and they loved it.
* Orange County Register critic Ben Wener says in Friday's paper that "underneath the well-rehearsed sweetness and sauciness, it was evident that Dolly was nervous, occasionally flustered by the verging-on-rowdy crowd's roaring response . . . [This] was as honky-tonk as the House of Blues has ever been, with cowboys and drag queens whooping and hollering side by side. For a brief moment, Hollywood became Dollywood. And the impossibly bosomy legend in the platinum- blond wig and hot-pink Kitty Wells- meets-Stevie Nicks dress needn't have worried whether she was making a good impression." He said the crowd loved her and the show was amazing. Read his story here.
* And Hollywood Reporter writer Tom Roland on Friday lauded her vocal style, saying: "She exhibited a more subtle contrast vocally, practically attacking the phrases on some of her more fiery numbers with a piercing, hard tone. Yet she faded at times to a whisper or simply fluttered at other moments, as she vacillated from commanding to compliant and from sagely wise to childlike." He noted the religious undertones of the show, but said Dolly's main focus was pure entertainment: "giggly self-deprecation and an authentic return to her musical origins." Read his review here.
RuPaul's weblog this week relates the amazing tale of not getting to attend Dolly's Hollywood concert, then getting last-minute tickets, then even getting to meet her in person the next morning. Perhaps America's most popular drag queen (turned-singer-turned-actor), RuPaul says of the show: "dolly and her band kept the house rock-notized. i was in hog heaven. after the show, we were speechless. without having to even say it, we acknowledged that we had witnessed a phenomenon from tennessee," adding about meeting her: "i finally got to meet dolly parton, thus fulfilling my quest to look into the eyes of all my heroes. she was the last one on my list." Read the full recap here. Thanks, Hans!
Aug. 9: Several fans were kind enough to send in their reactions to Dolly's sold-out House of Blues Hollywood concert from Wednesday night. The only real change from her most recent shows was the replacement of her "silly songs" medley with the "78-speed" version of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind." A slip-up also let the crowd know that she wasn't really playing the bluesy harmonica on "I'm Gone," when the sound started before she put it up to her mouth, causing her to laugh during the song and exclaim, "Well I guess now you know I can't play this damn thing!" Read their recaps here. Thanks, guys! Next stop: Vegas on Saturday night! (And remember if you're reading this early enough Thursday evening to catch Dolly on NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno!)Billboard released its Aug. 17 albums charts on Thursday, and Dolly regains a little ground. Halos & Horns inches up one spot on the country albums charts to come in at No. 13 for its fourth chart week. The CD drops 16 on the pop charts to No. 129 and one on the independent albums chart to No. 6. It holds on to its No. 2 spot on the bluegrass albums chart.
The CD slips nine places on the Canadian country albums chart for its fourth chart week up north, coming in at No. 38 on the Aug. 8 tally released Thursday.
Dolly's appearance on Rick Dees' radio program Thursday morning has netted two pages of pics on his website here. The site promises audio of her interview will soon be posted as well.
Dolly gets a full-page interview with Alanna Nash (author of her 1978 biography) in this week's Entertainment Weekly talking about the new album, her tour, and the upcoming Mae West film for ABC. Of note in the story, she reveals that she suggested to frequent collaborator Alison Krauss a few years back that they do "Stairway To Heaven" as a duet. Alison's reaction: "Have you lost your mind!?" Read the full story here. Thanks, Dan!
Aug. 8: Dollymania pal Harrell was kind enough to send in a few of his shots from Dolly's Dallas show Saturday night. View them here. Thanks, Harrell!
Aug. 7: Dolly fan Mike White was kind enough to send in a couple of pics of Dolly as she returned to her bus Saturday outside the Granada Theater in Dallas following her soundcheck. Check them out here. Thanks, Mike!The Detroit Free Press on Tuesday had a wonderful article by Julie Hinds about big-time Dolly fan Helen Longino, who will be attending Dolly's sold-out Chicago concert on Aug. 17 bearing a large bedsheet with messages on it beckoning Dolly to visit the Motor City which she hopes to present to the diva before the show. Read this very interesting and entertaining profile here.
Dolly buzzed into Los Angeles this week for her sold-out House of Blues Hollywood concert Wednesday night. Anyone who attends and would be kind enough to provide a recap would be greatly appreciated (e-mail me here)! While in L.A., she was scheduled to drop in live Tuesday morning on KZLA (although their website by Tuesday evening showed no mention of her appearance), with Rick Dees for his syndicated show at 8:45 a.m. local time Thursday and NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Thursday.
Ticketmaster on Tuesday was again showing tickets available for Dolly's concert Saturday in Las Vegas, but the fact that it had shown none available on Monday indicates that the show is near the selling-out point, so if you haven't gotten yours yet, hurry! The only other tickets currently available on Ticketmaster for the remaining tour dates are for her Aug. 28 concert in St. Louis. Get tickets here.
Aug. 6: As promised, additional photographs of Dolly at Saturday night's concert in Dallas have been posted here. The local papers had their say on Monday, and both exclaimed that Dolly was brilliant in Texas. Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News called the concert "jaw-dropping" and said her performance of "Shine" "sent chills down your spine." He lauded her wonderful sense of humor and "soaring" voice and summed up the evening as "a country performance as religious experience." Read his full review here. And J. Taylor Rushing of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram called the evening a "warm, intimate and on-target bluegrass show" and pointed out the many instruments she played and the humility she expressed in thanking her fans. Read his review here.
Aug. 5: Read the full review of her Dallas concert from Saturday and see some photos here (more photos coming tomorrow!)Halos & Horns holds on to the top spot on the British country albums chart for a fourth week in a row, it was announced Sunday. The CD also slips four places to No. 19 on the independent label albums chart. In the same edition, Little Sparrow falls two spots to No. 10 for its 75th chart week on the country albums chart overseas, and The Grass Is Blue dips one place to No. 14 for its 23rd chart week.
Aug. 3: Some ticket outlets are now offering seats for Dolly's new tour dates in Europe, a rescheduling which Dollymania was the first to report on Tuesday night. Ticketmaster UK has tickets available for Nov. 26-27 her Glasgow, Scotland, and Nov. 18-19 London shows on sale now. Ticketmaster Ireland has seats for her Nov. 29 Dublin concert also on sale. Tickets are not yet on sale for the evening in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the venue for her Nov. 15 Manchester, England, show hasn't updated its box office with the new date yet (here). And in the U.S., Ticketmaster on Friday evening began showing no tickets available for Dolly's Aug. 21 stop in Lowell, Mass., near Boston. So far, each time this has happened for this tour, the show was either sold out or would sell out within days of that posting. Next on her summer tour is the sold-out show in Dallas on Saturday night (look for a review and photos here Sunday evening!), but tickets are still available for Las Vegas and St. Louis. Get them here!
Some more great reviews have come out praising Halos & Horns! Among them:
* LA Frontiers writer Chris Freeman raves about her songwriting on the disc, saying that "even a non-country fan will find something in this collection to which he or she can relate." About her "Stairway" cover, he notes: "When her clear warble starts singing those classic lines 'there's a lady who's sure, all that glitters is gold,' you know it's going to be good . . . If anyone could do this and get away with it, it's Parton." He laments that the album probably won't be a hit but that it "deserves to be." He sums up his review with: "Dolly, you rule." Read it here. Thanks, Mark!
* Australian site The Beat goes on and on about how good the record is. David Dawson focuses mainly on Dolly's bravery in questioning hatred in the name of God with the powerful "Hello God" but says she "peaks" with "These Old Bones" and "lands a few punches" at the tabloids on "Shattered Image." Read his full column here.
* And "Hello God" also gets a mention in the Miami Herald review of Toby Keith's new CD, with the reviewer saying Keith's "Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue" is "forgettable" and "disturbing" and pales in comparison to "intellectual" Sept. 11th responses by Alan Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Dolly. His review is here.
Aug. 2: Billboard released its Aug. 10 albums charts on Thursday, and Dolly remains high. Halos & Horns inches down five spots on the country albums charts to come in at No. 14 for its third chart week. The CD drops 10 on the pop charts to No. 113 but remains steady on the independent albums chart and bluegrass albums chart, staying at No. 5 and No. 2, respectively. The album falls out of the top 25 Internet sales chart, however, down from No. 24.The CD slips 11 places on the Canadian country albums chart for its third chart week up north, coming in at No. 29 on the Aug. 1 tally released Thursday.
Aug. 1: As promised, an additional gallery of photos from Dolly's New Orleans show have been posted. You may view them here. And if you haven't read it yet, catch the Dollymania review of the show and a few other pics here!John sent in some shots of Dolly from her July 9 CD signing in New York. See them here. Thanks, John!
Pop Matters on Wednesday posted its review of Halos & Horns, with Andrew Gilstrap commenting that Dolly "makes such good use of harmonies and joyful singing that Halos and Horns often feels only a step or two away from a revival." He adds that her return to roots music in 1999 was and still is a bit of a risk, as it was before the O Brother resurgence of bluegrass interest and that popularity hasn't made many changes in country radio. He sums up the album as "full of moments where Parton follows an intuition that others might have shied away from, but she pulls it off. It's rare to hear an album with such a lack of self-consciousness. That's always been one of Parton's strengths, though -- that ability to do things that don't feel like calculated risks, but which are just Dolly being Dolly." Read his full review here.
July 31: Dolly was unbelievable in New Orleans on Monday night! The crowd loved her, her performance was amazing, and a good time was had by all. Read my full recap and a few photos here! (More photos to be posted soon, probably in Wednesday evening's update!)Dolly's October dates in Europe will be pushed back a month, it was announced Tuesday. Asgard, the European firm promoting her shows overseas, tells Dollymania that due to an unexpected deadline on recording a film soundtrack (presumably for her Mae West bio-pic she's expected to film for television this winter), the shows have been re-scheduled. They also quoted Dolly as saying that additional dates will be added to "make it up to my fans for all the trouble I'm putting them through." Already one new date, a second concert in Glasgow, Scotland, has been added with one or two more possible. The revised schedule is as follows:
* Nov. 15, Bridgewater Hall (Manchester, England)
* Nov. 18-19, Hammersmith Apollo (London)
* Nov. 23, Waterfront Hall (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
* Nov. 26-27, Clyde Auditorium (Glasgow, Scotland)
* Nov. 29, The Point (Dublin, Ireland)
As of Tuesday night, Ticketmaster only showed the new dates for Belfast and Dublin, but their listings should be updated soon, and they are likely the ones to contact for ticket exchange information. Thanks!
Halos & Horns holds on to the top spot on the British country albums chart for a third week in a row, it was announced Sunday. The CD also slips one place to No. 15 on the independent label albums chart and falls off the top 75 pop albums chart, down from No. 52. In the same edition, Little Sparrow climbs one spot to No. 8 for its 74th chart week on the country albums chart overseas, and The Grass Is Blue moves up two places to No. 13 for its 22nd chart week.
A couple of new glowing reviews of Halos & Horns have also been released. Country Review calls it one of the best albums of her career and notes that country fans will love "Stairway To Heaven," although rock fans may consider it sacrilege that she changed the lyrics (which he was quick to point out had been approved by Led Zeppelin). Read it here. And Dallas gay newspaper The Dallas Voice gives it three and a half stars, saying that Dolly "just doesn't get the credit she deserves." Gilbert Garcia praises the CD for its creative originals and amazing covers surmising: "Though not a perfect work, this album is certainly good enough to make you realize that Dolly's still got it. Sounding more like the work of a poor girl from Tennessee than of a rhinestone-clad superstar, Halos & Horns is simple, welcoming and pleasant — exactly what a country album should be." Read it here.
July 28: Another reader offered his thoughts on Dolly's Atlanta show from Thursday night, saying quite simply: "It was awesome!!!!" He estimated that the audience largely consisted of gay and lesbian fans, with even a few transsexuals and drag queens thrown into the mix, prompting Dolly to change the line in "Jolene" to sing: "Drag queen, please don't take my man." Also, an article may soon appear on the show in Rolling Stone, as the reader said he stood next to a reporter from the magazine covering the show. Thanks, Jonathan!There will be no Dollymania updates on the evenings of July 28 and 29, as your webmaster will be in New Orleans covering Dolly's sold-out House of Blues concert there Monday night. Look for a recap and photos here, likely by Tuesday evening. And if you're attending the show in the Big Easy, remember The Bourbon Pub (801 Bourbon Street in New Orleans) will be hosting the official "Pre-Dolly Party" and CD release event from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Sunday (this is a predominantly gay establishment).
The Times-Picayune in Friday's edition published a great article on Dolly in advance of her concert. It was the cover story for the paper's weekend section and featured a Dolly career time-line based largely on information gathered from Dollymania. Read the story here (unfortunately, the time-line was not published online).
July 27: A reader who attended Dolly's sold-out Atlanta show on Thursday night reports that Dolly was "flawless," looking and sounding better than ever. However, the evening was not without problems, he says. Allegedly, dozens of concert-goers had their cameras and/or film confiscated by security. The reader who contacted Dollymania said security claimed small signs were posted at the entrance reading "No Pictures," but he didn't see them and no announcement of this was made when attendees, many of them carrying cameras, entered through the ticket line. He said hundreds of people were snapping photos and that security managed to catch about 30 of them. Thanks, Bix! A special thanks to Justin Frazier for some photos of Dolly performing in Atlanta on Thursday (here) and Debbie Poole for some shots of Dolly arriving from her tour bus before the show (complete with a commentary about the evening here). Thanks, guys!Friday's Christian Science Monitor offers up more praise for Halos & Horns, with reviewer Vic Roberts saying the CD is "a good buy" for anyone who enjoys bluegrass instrumentation and Dolly's voice. He termed the songs "simple, teary-eyed laments of relationships turned bad" mixed with spiritual numbers, including her cover of "Stairway To Heaven," of which he said her "acoustic approach does it justice." Read the full review here.
For some reason, my online source for the Canadian albums charts didn't update their listings last week, but Halos & Horns, which debuted at No. 21 up north last week, moves up three places to No. 18 for its second chart week in the July 25 chart released Friday. It has yet to break into that nation's top 100 pop albums chart, which currently includes only a couple of country releases.
And I've just learned that Dolly also shows up on the Roots Music Report, which compiles its own charts of roots music based on worldwide radio airplay, sales and reviews as reported by radio stations, record stores, concert venues and key music correspondents covering roots music. Halos & Horns moves up an astonishing 57 places in its third week on their bluegrass chart to No. 1 and shoots up 46 spots on their overall roots music chart to No. 12 in its second week.
Sunday's Dallas Morning News will feature an interview with Dolly about the new album, her tour and her Aug. 2 stop in the "Big D." The story was posted on their website here Friday night. Along with giving praise for the new CD, the writer asks Dolly about the song choices, her tour, and more. It also notes that the Dallas show is sold out (something reported here a good while back), although House of Blues still hasn't officially titled it as being sold out yet.
July 26: Billboard released its Aug. 3 charts on Thursday, and Dolly's Halos & Horns debuts at No. 2 on the bluegrass albums chart (suggesting that this chart is a week behind the others the magazine publishes, because the CD debuted on all other charts last week). Unfortunately, two other Dolly recordings, Little Sparrow and Ricky Skaggs And Friends Sing The Songs Of Bill Monroe (which features her cover of "Cry, Cry Darlin'") fall off the bluegrass chart, down from No. 12 and No. 11, respectively. Halos slips five spots on the country albums chart but remains in the top 10 for its second chart week, coming in at No. 9. On the independent albums chart, it falls two places to No. 5, on the Internet sales chart down 13 spots to No. 24, and on the pop albums chart down 45 notches to No. 103. It is also in its second week on all of those charts as well. The CD Soundscanned nearly 12,000 copies in its second week of release, on which these charts are based, down from about 19,000 in its first week but still strong sales.
July 25: Harrell and Patric sent in some great photos of Dolly in Nashville (like the one at left) at Most Wanted Live, The Grand Ole Opry and in concert at the Ryman. View them here! Thanks, guys!
July 24: Once again, Dollymania contributor Debbie Poole has provided some great Dolly shots like the one at left! Exclusively on the site you may view her great pictures of Dolly on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry last weekend plus a couple of pics from her Most Wanted Live appearance on CMT. Click here to take a look! Thanks, Debbie!Country music cable network Great American Country has announced its premiere date for Dolly's "Dagger Through The Heart" video, which CMT started showing over the weekend. The video will be first shown on the network's Fast Forward program on either its 7 p.m. Friday or 3 p.m. Saturday broadcast (Eastern time). And everyone needs to visit their voting booth to cast a ballot for Dolly here (and CMT's here)!
July 23: Dollymania contributor Debbie Poole tells me that Dolly's Nashville appearances on Saturday and Sunday were as spectacular as ever. She reports that her tour merchandise was "selling like hotcakes" and that Dolly "was pouring out the songs and the people were with her all the way clapping and singing." See her photos here. Thanks, Debbie! The Tennessean and CMT.com also on Monday posted their rave reviews of the show. CMT's Craig Shelburne reported that Dolly received a standing ovation when she entered the stage, and she even orchestrated an onstage marriage proposal between two members of her band: Randy Kohrs and Shaunna Larkin. (She said yes.) He said called "Color Me America" "a understated yet rousing reminder that peace should not be taken for granted" and said she should record it. He concluded that Dolly's "bold vocals and easy stage presence throughout the concert proved that those sparkling high heels have not missed a step in the last decade." Read his review here. Peter Cooper, writing for The Tennessean, was equally as complimentary, praising her show (although he said there were some sound problems) and comparing her onstage presence with that of Shaquille O'Neal on the basketball court. He summed it up saying, "In the end, she left nearly everyone in the room wanting more, as she declined an encore and managed to appear both graceful and gracious even as she told the audience to leave and 'go pee.'" Read his review here. The only real changes in the set list from her most recent show (D.C.) were the return of "Color Me America" and "My Tennessee Mountain Home."A few more reviews have popped up for Halos & Horns:
* The Detroit News gives it three stars and calls it "worthwhile," with reviewer Brian Fisher noting that "Stairway To Heaven" is "surprising, but satisfying" and that rock purists may find it sacrilegious, but the song proves that her "voice has never sounded so sweet or heaven-sent." Read the full review here.
* The Week Magazine names it this week's "best pick" in all of music.
* And while Chicago's Daily Southtown only gives it two and a half stars (the reviewer didn't care for "Stairway To Heaven" or "Hello God"), its review notes that most of the songs on the disc are good "real" country music, singling out the "catchy" "Sugar Hill" and "refreshing" "If." Read it here.
July 22: Halos & Horns holds on to the top spot on the British country albums chart for a second week in a row, it was announced Sunday. The CD also slips three places to No. 14 on the independent label albums chart and 15 notches to No. 52 on the pop albums chart.
A few more reviews of the new CD have come out. They include:
* Worchester, Mass., paper Metro West Daily News gives it an "A," writing that the CD allows Dolly to offer up a wide range of amazing performances: "Some are giddy, some are deeply sad, some share her strong sense of faith." Also, it is noted that her cover of "If" is "warm" and "Stairway to Heaven" "stays remarkably true to the spirit of the original." Read it here.
* The Nashville Rage music site calls Dolly "the white Aretha Franklin" because of her amazing voice and the fact that she is so authentic in her music that "if she sneezed she's spray the room with soul." Reviewer Robert L. Doerschuk further even compares her voice to a country version of Luciano Pavarotti. While he says that some of her choices on the album are of "questionable taste" (such as covering "Bread's gooey 'If'" and doing the mountain woman impersonation on "These Old Bones"), a listen through each song in its entirety proves them to be winners. He writes: "Maybe the best thing to happen to Dolly Parton was when she became an outcast from a music business she had helped kick-start and dragged out of its Dogpatch doldrums. Her work on Sugar Hill, and especially on Halos & Horns, comes from her return to the wellspring - not to wallow in it, in the fashion of O, Brother, but to savor it again and drink more deeply and let it flow down into her music, and from there out to the world and into this studio where I sit, a bit of my faith restored at long last." Read the full review here.
* And the Cape Cod Times offers three out of four stars, noting that "I'm Gone" is "infectious and high-spirited" and that "Dagger Through The Heart" is "wistful," although the reviewer wasn't very fond of "Hello God" and the album's two cover songs. Read it here.
Ticketmaster.com on Sunday began showing no tickets available for Dolly's Aug. 13 Denver concert, suggesting it has or soon will be sold out. Also, while House of Blues has not officially announced her Aug. 3 Dallas show is sold out, I have confirmed that no tickets are available either from Ticketmaster or the venue itself, meaning that the show has sold out. The tour dates which have officially sold out have been New York, Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago and Kansas City. Dates with tickets still available are Aug. 10 in Las Vegas, Aug. 21 in Lowell, Mass., and Aug. 28 in St. Louis. Get tickets here!
July 19: Ticketmaster UK and Ticketmaster Ireland on Friday confirmed a sixth concert in the European leg of her current tour: Oct. 19 at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Tickets are not yet on sale for that venue but will be available from both Ticketmaster outlets. It is unclear at this time whether this date is the one which the promoters of her European tour had scheduled to announce on Monday or if that will be a seventh stop overseas.The Orange County Register on Friday gave Dolly's Halos & Horns another "A-" with its review. The reviewer notes that her cover of "Stairway To Heaven" effectively "saves the rock classic from decades of ridicule" just as she transformed Collective Soul's "Shine" into "a bluegrass marvel." The review further discusses the religious themes found throughout the CD and concludes that it "is primo Parton, her chirping voice as heavenly as ever, her style restored to its pre-'9 to 5' manner." Read the full review here.
July 19: As was reported here Wednesday night and predicted here Tuesday night, Halos & Horns debuts in the July 27 Billboard country albums chart at No. 4 and the pop albums chart at No. 58, the magazine announced Thursday. Being the highest new entry on the country charts earns the CD the "Hot Shot Debut" distinction. The album also debuts at No. 3 on the independent albums chart and No. 11 on the Internet sales chart. Billboard must not have considered it a bluegrass album, because it did not appear on that chart.Just two weeks after his wonderful article titled "Let Us Now Praise Dolly Parton" cheering her new CD (here), CMT.com editorial director Chet Flippo once again focuses on Dolly in this week's installment of his Nashville Skyline column. In Thursday's new edition, he notes that Dolly's debut at No. 4 should have bluegrass fans cheering with further proof of the resurgence of bluegrass as a popular form of music. He continues to discuss the genre's prospects and the impact that non-airplay on mainstream country radio has. Read the full article here.
Asgard, the European company promoting Dolly's overseas leg of her current tour, has announced additional tour dates:
* Oct. 16, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Scotland
* The previously announced Oct. 22-23 shows at London's Hammersmith Apollo
* Oct. 26, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England
* Oct. 29, The Point, Dublin, Ireland
* An additional date is scheduled to be announced on Monday, which I would suspect will be the possible Northern Ireland concert which has received press overseas lately.
Tickets went on sale Wednesday for the London shows and Thursday for the Glasgow show on Ticketmaster UK (tickets are also available for both cities on Ticketmaster Scotland). Tickets also went on sale Thursday for the Manchester show on the venue's web site here, and tickets for the Dublin date will go on sale this Saturday on Ticketmaster Ireland. The tour marks Dolly's first full concerts in England or Ireland in nearly two decades, according to an Asgard press release. Manchester Online carried an article about the show in that city here, including a note from a theater spokesman that they don't expect tickets to last very long. Thanks!
Dolly ends up getting press in two locations on this week's Nashville Scene, Music City's alternative weekly newspaper which was published on Thursday. In their "Best Picks" of the week (here), they chose Dolly's sold-out Sunday concert at the Ryman Auditorium, noting that she's "just released her third terrific album of mountain music in a row." Also, Bill Friskics-Warren's "Voices Of Reason" column compares rapper Chuck D's "A Twisted Sense of God" and Dolly's "Hello God" with interviews from both stars about their songs and questioning fanatics who commit violence in the name of God. Read it here.
July 18: Sugar Hill Records has confirmed that Dolly's Halos & Horns will debut at No. 58 pop and No. 4 country on the July 27 Billboard charts which will be released publicly on Thursday afternoon. The album sold 18,654 in its first week to bring Sugar Hill and its parent company, Welk Music, its highest-ever chart debut. No word yet on where the CD will be on the magazine's independent label albums chart or Internet sales chart, but I'd expect it to be near the top for idies. As was reported here, the debut gives Dolly the new record for most country albums in the top 10 with 40, followed by Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard with 39 each. Thanks, Rob!Tickets went on sale Wednesday morning on Ticketmaster UK for two Dolly concerts this fall overseas. The shows will be held Oct. 22 and 23 at London's Carling Apollo Hammersmith. And given that Halos & Horns debuted there at No. 1 on the country charts and Little Sparrow is still in the top 10, I'd expect the shows to sell out quickly even at a hefty 50 pounds each for tickets. She is expected to play at least three additional cities on the islands this fall: reportedly Glasgow, Scotland; Dublin, Ireland; and one in Northern Ireland, possibly Belfast, but Ticketmaster UK, Ticketmaster Scotland and Ticketmaster Ireland were not showing any of those dates as of yet. Thanks, Manuel and Mark!
And speaking of sold out venues, two additional dates on Dolly's summer U.S. tour have officially sold out, House of Blues confirmed Wednesday. They are the Aug. 17 concert in Chicago and Aug. 31 in Kansas City. Tickets are still available from Ticketmaster.com for Las Vegas, Denver, Lowell and St. Louis (plus her Grand Ole Opry performance on Saturday), but Dallas still is showing none available from Ticketmaster.com, so it should be officially sold out any day now. Get your seats here!
The Washington Post has weighed in with its review of Dolly's Monday night concert in D.C. Reviewer David Segal said "It would take an engineer and plenty of graph paper to explain the wonder" of how good Dolly looked onstage and that her looks are a good metaphor for her amazing talent, which too seems impossible to comprehend. He praised her memorable performance of otherwise easily-forgettable rock songs like "Shine" and "If" and said the evening's showcase was when she performed her original compositions, which prove she is one of the greatest country songwriters of all time. Read his humorous and praising review here. Thanks, Hans!
Frequent Dollymania contributor Debbie Poole was kind enough to provide a couple of photo layouts of Dolly from her New York appearances. You'll recognize Debbie and her pals as the fans donning horns on their heads during each of her stops in the Big Apple. They tell me they found them at an Independence Day fireworks stand and couldn't resist. Dolly found them so appropriate that she called them aside to talk with them and have a photo taken. Take a look here. Thanks, Debbie!
July 17: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday joined the list of the dozens of newspapers, magazines and other media outlets praising Halos & Horns. Reviewer Ellis Widner gives the CD an "A," noting that her version of "Stairway To Heaven" will take the listener's breath away. Thanks, Robert!House Of Blues confirmed on Tuesday that Dolly's July 29 New Orleans concert has officially sold out. Apparently a handful (and I mean a "handfull") of tickets may remain for the Dallas, Chicago and Kansas City shows, but you'd do best to contact the venues directly because Ticketmaster.com is not allowing online sales for those dates as there are so few tickets remaining, if any. Order tickets for her the other remaining shows in her summer tour here.
The Village Voice in Wednesday's edition will feature a review of Dolly's New York concert from last week, posted Tuesday evening on the paper's web site. Carla Spartos noted the religious themes of the evening and how Dolly's current music could well put her back on country radio. She also wrote of Dolly playing multiple instruments during the concert and her abundance of bawdy humor. She said the audience -- "alt-country hipsters in cowboy hats, countrified lesbians, older gay men from the South, a rumored Debbie Harry and Bjork" -- loved it. Read her review here.
Check out the recap of the Washington, D.C., show on the news page here.
July 16: Shirley Jinkins of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram gives Halos & Horns three out of four stars, noting: "OK, it's going to be scary when you notice that the final cut of this primarily acoustic, rootsy album is 'Stairway to Heaven,' but hang with it. Banjos and mandolins really do work on the Led Zeppelin signature." She also notes that the CD contains some "excellent new bluegrass tunes" and that "John Daniel" is a "gospel romp." She concludes: "It's invigorating to hear one of country's veterans get back to the high-lonesome mountain sound that first charmed her fans." Read the full review here.
July 15: Dolly's spectacular Halos & Horns debuts at No. 1 on this week's British country albums chart, it was announced on Sunday. The CD also comes in at No. 11 on that country's independent label albums chart and No. 37 on its Top 75 pop albums chart. In the same edition, Little Sparrow, now in its astonishing 72nd chart week overseas, falls two places to No. 10 on the country albums chart. The Grammy-winning Sparrow last year spent eight weeks at No. 1 and reached gold album status in England. It had peaked at No. 30 on that nation's pop albums chart and No. 4 on the independent label albums chart.
John Horney of the Annapolis Capital offered a mixed review of the CD on Sunday. About Dolly, he writes: "There's something extremely comfortable about listening to Dolly Parton sing. That may seem odd considering the artist's catalogue of hits includes stories of dead babies, heartbreak, little homeless girls and their dogs, crazy backwoods characters and home-wreckers. But still, she has a way of singing and telling a story that makes you feel like you know her, as well as the characters in her songs, on a first name basis and that she's singing these songs on your own front porch. This is my favorite Dolly Parton-the storyteller, the songwriter, the mountain raised country girl who talks like she's your best friend." He explains that this simple yet compelling performance has been most apparent on her last several CDs, calling The Grass Is Blue and Little Sparrow "jewels in the crown of a tremendous career." On Halos, he said he finds most of the CD, especially cuts like "These Old Bones" and "Not For Me," gorgeous and compares its sound to her early country recordings, noting "This is the stuff that proves that simplicity can really overshadow the flamboyant when given the chance." However, he criticizes the performance of some songs, such as "Hello God" and "Stairway To Heaven," as being too overproduced, lending their sound closer to the songs of the pop era of her career. Read the full review here.
July 13: More reviews came out on Friday of Dolly's Wednesday night concert in New York which kicked off her 13-city national tour, with many of them providing photographs from the show. Among their observations:
Music industry paper Variety said "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.'" Read David Sprague's full review on MSNBC here.
The New York Daily News said Dolly's earnestness "could melt the heart of Saddam Hussein." He said the audience received the concert "with an enthusiasm that bordered on hysteria" and that Dolly commented on the concert's large percentage of gay attendees by winking as she said: "There are an awful lot of pretty boys here tonight!" On her voice, he noted "With her lofty pitch and guileless flutter, she can still capture the giddiness of youth." Read the full article here.
The New York Post said Dolly's "folksy home-down hoe-down" proved she "is a real woman who's able to express emotion in melody." Although reviewer Dan Aquilante said he couldn't fully appreciate the concert because of its similarity to a media-only show she did last year in New York which he attended, he said her performance was spectacular and almost flawless. Read his story here.
The Los Angeles Times recently published its review of Halos & Horns, with Randy Lewis awarding it three out of four stars and saying "her bluegrass translation of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' works just fine to close out this exploration of the eternal struggle between the sacred and the secular. And 'Hello God' is a classic expression of one person's desperate bid to understand earthly suffering." Read it here.
July 12: Dolly's Wendesday night show in New York blew the audience away. Reader Mike tells me her performance of more than an hour and a half focused mainly on the roots music of her three recent solo albums, but she also threw in some classics like "9 to 5," "After The Goldrush" and "Jolene." Thanks, Mike! And Rolling Stone on Thursday posted its review of the concert, with writer Andrew Dansby calling Dolly an "August musical treasure" and saying stars in attendance at the show included Bjork and Debbie Harry and that Dolly's sparkle (and the concert's close proximity to New York's gay pride events of the previous week) made Dolly "the Queen among queens." He called the concert "a dynamic concoction of contradictions: Hee Haw humor and gothic ballads, mountain music virtuosity (courtesy of her denim-outfitted backing ensemble, the Blueniques) and light-hearted use of her gargantuan fingernails as an instrument, sparkling blue dresses with flared, flowing sleeves and spiritual songs of coats of many colors." He raved about her performance, from the even-better-than-the-album live cuts from Halos & Horns to an a capella medley of her 1980s pop tunes. She was so taken by the audience's reaction, he reported, she didn't even leave the stage before performing her encore, "I Will Always Love You," which he said is so much better by Dolly than Whitney Houston's cover version. Read his full review here. (And get tickets for her remaining shows here!)As has been previously reported here, Dolly will perform in England and Ireland this fall, and the Belfast Telegraph announced in an article on Thursday that two of those dates will be in Ireland -- one in Dublin and a second, which was to be finalized sometime on Thursday, likely in Belfast at either its Waterfront or Odyssey venues. (The article, however, incorrectly said this is the 20th anniversary of "I Will Always Love You," saying she wrote it in 1982. It was actually written and subsequently originally recorded about 30 years ago.) Read the full story here.
I've just been informed that The Bourbon Pub (801 Bourbon Street in New Orleans) will be hosting the official "Pre-Dolly Party" the night before her concert in the Big Easy. The event at the predominantly gay Bourbon Street establishment is tentatively scheduled to run from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, with Dolly's concert at House of Blues scheduled for the evening of Monday, July 29. More information as plans are finalized. Thanks, Lawrence!
Keith Lawrence of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer published a review in Kansas' Lawrence Journal-World, saying it's not worth arguing what genre to place the CD in (he notes it's not bluegrass but rather mostly acoustic) and that it is simply "good music." He says the CD "is an hour of Dolly Parton, full of energy and filled with both joy and pain. And it's very personal. She wrote all but two cuts." Read his full review here.
Alternative weekly paper the New York Press weighed in with its two cents worth in a somewhat strange column by Crispin Sartwell. In a story largely focused on Kid Rock's affinity for full-figured women and a newcomer in country music named Heather Myles, he said he didn't care for Dolly's two previous roots albums (although he didn't put it that politely), but Halos is different. Aside from noting that her music is stripped-down and natural on this CD (and that the album photos make her look like she's in her mid-30s instead of her true age of 56), he adds that the record shows that "Dolly is still a desperately beautiful singer: fragile and perfect as china. Her melodies are still as distinctive as they were in 1972. And she's quite the lyricist." Read his opinions here.
Drag performer and actor RuPaul praised the CD on her site's web log immediately after hearing the CD for the first time, noting: "tonight, i made a special trip over to the virgin mega-store just to get dolly parton's new album called HALOS AND HORNS. i listened to it on the way home and boy ...it's fantastic!!! i'm prayin' i get to see her on her first tour in ten years, when she plays the house of blues here in hollywood. i just hope my back operation doesn't get in the way of me seeing her show. over the years, i've met every star i've ever wanted to meet...all except for dolly. i've spoken to her on the phone before, but never in person. this concert just may be my opportunity. " In the previous entry, she also listed 9 to 5 as her second-favorite film. Visit the site here. Thanks, Christopher!
In related news: The CD made it to No. 10 this week on the album chart of indie college station WBAR 87.9 FM in New York City, operated by Barnard College.
And the British network Virgin Radio played Dolly's "Stairway To Heaven" on its Captain America show Sunday night.
July 11: The Washington Post published its review of Halos & Horns on Wednesday, with reviewer Dave McKenna opining: "No use burying the lead: Dolly Parton does 'Stairway to Heaven.' And, dadgummit, the forests won't echo with laughter when her mountain kin hear Dolly get after the Led Zeppelin monster, which closes her new and wonderful record . . . So when Parton gets the Led out, it's not like Pat Boone covering Metallica or Tom Jones doing Prince. Her up-tempo country rendering of 'Stairway' has no more kitsch than the original, which since its 1971 release has served as an anthem to several generations of confused adolescents." He says of "If" that she "speeds it up and makes it her own." He calls the Dolly originals on the CD "further evidence of what Parton fans have long known: banging out catchy country songs comes so easily to her." He says "Sugar Hill" is "a sweet little ditty" and "Not For Me" finds her "Reba-deep in self-pity." He says her own pickers don't let the listener down, as they have a musical prowess comparable with the legends she employed on her previous two bluegrass discs and, happily, that "bluegrass may never be the same again." Read the full review here.
July 10: Dolly's masterpiece Halos & Horns from Sugar Hill Records hit stores on Tuesday, and many more positive reviews hit newsstands and websites, including:
Rolling Stone writer Steve Knopper said no matter how one might joke about Dolly doing "Stairway To Heaven," she "remembers Led Zeppelin's burned-out rock-radio classic as a singer's showcase, not a shell for flashy electric guitar playing. Sticking with the understated country and bluegrass of her last two CDs, Parton throws herself into the lyrics, whispering at the beginning and belting like Tammy Wynette by the end." He also notes that she turns "If" into "an effective torch ballad" and proves herself a master interpreter of songs on the CD, including those she wrote herself, particularly pointing to the "beautifully sad" "Not For Me" and "Hello God," in which he says "she articulates our national post-September 11th feeling of 'why?'" Read his full review here.
E! Online gives it an "A-," noting the CD is "pick-perfect bluegrass, folk and country" and that it will "charm the chaps off both diehards and the folks who discovered these backwoods sounds because of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack." Picked as standouts are "Sugar Hill" and "These Old Bones" as well as "If" and "a touching and worthy remake" of "Stairway To Heaven," both of which the reviewer says "get strokes of new life under Parton's spell." Read it here.
USA Today offers it three out of four stars, with Brian Mansfield saying it brings the bluegrass of her two most recent solo albums "full circle" and that the supernatural themes of Dolly originals "Hello God" and "These Old Bones" provide a context in which her gospel remake of "Stairway To Heaven" is "a perfect fit." Read it here.
New York Post reviewer Dan Aquilante also gives it three out of four stars, calling it "an odd yet compelling combination of contemporary country, bluegrass and even rock." Read it here.
While its story didn't contain any opinion on the CD and provided only a summary of its track listing, CMT.com put the cover as its front page lead art on Tuesday, listing it at the top of its overview of new releases this week.
And On The I.com, which contributed to the CD's special features and named Dolly its Featured Artist Of The Month for July, chose to reprint the Dollymania review of the CD as its site's official review. Thanks!
July 9: Well, it's the big day! Halos & Horns hits stores nationwide, and the critical acclaim continues to pour in!
Entertainment Weekly gives it an "A-" and says she "pulls it off, magnificently, thanks to her spectacular trill of a soprano and earnest approach." The full review is here! Thanks, Christopher!
New York Magazine writer Ethan Brown says she turns "cutesy sentimentality" and "cliché" into "compelling" music, noting that "few singers are more moving or emotive." He's another critic who praises "Stairway To Heaven," explaining that Dolly's "aching cry and plaintive phrasing" emphasize the song's "quiet bluesiness over its rock-and-roll gradiosity, reviving the reflective power" of the song. He says that her use of a gospel choir could easily make the song "mawkish or camp" in another's hands, but Dolly pulls it off superbly, as he compares it favorably to her guest appearance singing lead vocals on Ladysmith Black Mambazo's cover of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." He concludes that her "risks here bring great, unexpected pleasures." Read his full review here.
Billboard chose the CD as one of its four Hot Products this week which it is featuring on its website here.
July 8: Sunday's The Dallas Morning News carried a review of Halos & Horns (actually published on the web late Friday night). Mario Tarradell wrote: "After all these years, Dolly Parton's voice is still like that old log cabin home perched on a hill. It's untouched by the modern world yet holds treasures that would surely enrich everyday lives." He says that the CD "is one of those special records that packs power in its simplicity." As other reviewers have done, he compares it to her timeless recordings of the early-to-mid-'70s and that Dolly "is writing, singing and producing (this album is her debut as sole producer) with so much thought, care and heart. He says she puts "a fresh coat of inspiration" on her covers of "If" and "Stairway To Heaven," also calling her version of the latter song "unforgettable" and "a haunting Southern gospel anthem that chills at every turn." He says "These Old Bones" is "enchanting." Read the full review here.The Knoxville News-Sentinel gave Halos an "A-" in Wayne Bledsoe's review on Sunday, again comparing it favorably with her early 1970s material and praising Dolly's cover of "Stairway To Heaven" as well as saying her performance on "Dagger Through The Heart" stands out as one of her best vocally in her career. He sums up the album as "another one for the angels." Read his review here
Winnipeg Sun reviewer Darryl Sterdan gives the album four out of five stars, saying "The devil's music never sounded quite so heavenly." He calls the CD "inviting" and says it works on all levels, from the gospel numbers to the "grand bluegrass epic" she makes out of "Stairway To Heaven." Read his review here.
And People magazine praises the CD as proof of Dolly's "credibility as an artist," calling it "heaven-sent" and listing its "Bottom Line" as "Hello again, Dolly!" Read their review here.
July 6: Miami Herald reviewer Howard Cohen says the CD (and her two other Sugar Hill bluegrass releases) put her in the rare category with Bob Dylan, Elton John and Willie Nelson as artists who've released the strongest albums of their careers more than 35 years after they started in the music business. In a four-star review titled "Parton proves there's nothing she can't do," he says Halos is better than either The Grass Is Blue or Little Sparrow and harkens back to the most prolific period of her songwriting and recording career, when she was churning out such classics as Coat Of Many Colors. He boasts that "These Old Bones" introduces the listener to a character as alive and interesting as "Applejack" and says "Hello God" is a powerful yet simple composition which he compares positively with Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning." About "Stairway To Heaven," he says it's the album's highlight and biggest surprise as "a gorgeous Southern gospel number . . . she manages to make this overly familiar 31-year-old war horse her own, underlining the poetry in Robert Plant's lyrics and writing a new closing verse to fit her own apocalyptic summation." In closing the review, he predicts it will be very unlikely that any other country album released this year will be better than Dolly's. Read the full review here.British publication The Guardian offered its review of Halos & Horns on Friday, giving the CD four out of five stars. The reviewer noted that the CD "is another fine addition to the latterday Parton catalogue" and called it "lit with powerful emotions, impeccable acoustic musicianship and close-harmony singing that JS Bach wouldn't look down his nose at." Read the full review here.
The Bradenton Herald in Florida gives the album a "B+," calling it "a super bunch of bluegrass-tinged originals plus surprising covers." Their two-sentence mini-review is here.
July 5: Country music historian and CMT editorial director Chet Flippo was so impressed with Halos & Horns (in stores on Tuesday!) that he dedicated his entire weekly column (and CMT.com's Fourth of July lead story) Thursday to Dolly's latest effort in a piece titled "Let Us Now Praise Dolly Parton." Noting that while her covers of "If" and "Stairway To Heaven" are both "good," he raves about the other 12 Dolly-composed cuts on the disc: "Make no mistake about it: this lady is one of the premier songwriters in the music pantheon." He recalled that until her two most recent albums, "she was never really considered an album artist" with records instead comprised largely of "mismatched songs." However, for a third time in a row, he said, she "has firmly re-established herself as a major country artist." He adds: "Her new songs here are a glimpse inside the fervid Parton imagination, a wonderful Parton mix of fairy tales, stories of leaving, ethereal and evocative dirges about broken hearts, visions of apocalypse and rapture, a personal plea to God, childhood memories and vivid mountain folk tales." He calls "These Old Bones" an "instant classic," and "John Daniel" a "saga." He ends with: "She continues to make country music that is fresh and vibrant and very much alive." Read his full column here.CDNow senior editor Drew Wheeler chimed in Thursday with his own review, labeling the CD "unambiguously divine." He raves over her new compositions and re-recordings of older originals, calls "Stairway To Heaven" "lovely" and "clever" and says "If" is "delightfully reedy, cheerily countrified." Read his review here.
Alex Steininger offers his thoughts on the CD in the July issue of In Music We Trust, giving the album the grade of "A." He calls the CD "a warm, good natured country record with strong songwriting," adding: "The work of a talented voice hitting her stride and creating one of the best albums of her career, one that is heavily rooted in real Americana and old-time country music, but isn't afraid to go along with the times, sounding equally modern and fresh." He says the songs "carry themselves, with each one a strong collection of fine instrumentation, beautiful lyrics, and Parton's country gal soul running through every song," calling the CD "one of the finest country releases this year." Read his full review here.
Not to be left out, Barnes & Noble reviewer David McGee wrote on Thursday: "The big buzz is all about her interpretation of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven,' which evolves from a stately, measured folk song with mystical strains to a boisterous, ad-libbed coda featuring an emotive gospel choir. But the salient points about Halos & Horns are first, that 12 of its 14 songs are powerful Parton originals -- as if anyone needed reminding that she ranks with country's greatest songwriters -- and second, that her vocal performances are as extraordinary as any this veteran artist has laid down in her estimable career . . . In coming full circle to the music she was raised on, Dolly Parton sounds as tuneful and true as ever."
July 4: Calgary Sun reviewer Anika Van Wyk published her take on Halos & Horns Wednesday, saying: "It is fantastic to hear Dolly Parton get back to her southern roots. Bluegrass so suits Parton's voice and it's obvious she's comfortable with the traditional tunes. This self-produced album works best when Parton sticks to her roots." Giving it three and a half out of five stars, Wyk says "I'm Gone" is the album's stand-out track. She faults "Hello God" and "These Old Bones" as being "gimmicky," but doesn't comment on "Stairway To Heaven" (which all of the other critics have lavished with praise). On Dolly's self-produced arrangements, she notes that Dolly "has a wonderful style of building songs slowly. Many start with only Parton's voice and a single instrument. As the song continues, other instruments and vocalists join in, giving each song a finale." Read the full review here.
July 3: Tower Records' monthly magazine, Pulse, this week posted its review of the CD, giving it four-and-a-half out of five stars. The review notes: "It's not overstating the case to say that Dolly Parton is the single greatest artist that country music has ever produced." While the reviewer wasn't too fond of "Hello God" or "These Old Bones," but he loved "Stairway To Heaven," which has received universal critical acclaim in every review I've found. Commenting on Dolly's gospel-themed arrangement of the rock classic, the reviewer said: "It should be one holy mess, but she actually pulls it off, making it the defining musical statement on this album. To shoot this high and succeed is an amazing achievement for a performer in her fourth decade of making records." About the overall CD, it was noted that this is "the most confident and accomplished" of her three roots-music albums for indie label Sugar Hill, adding: "Message to Parton: Please don't stop now, you're on a roll!" Read the full review here.
July 1: In a review published Saturday under the title "Holy moly, Dolly!," Edmonton Sun critic Fish Griwkowsky praised Halos & Horns, giving the CD four out of five stars. In an entertaining gimmick, he wrote the review as a letter to Sigmund Freud about his love for Dolly. He calls the album "candy mountain of bluegrass beauty and spiritual pondering," adding: "Who but Dolly Parton could get away with a country gospel Stairway to Heaven? She even put it at the end of the album, just like Zep did . . . The song itself isn't quite perfect, but it's holy close. And it cleverly fits the religious theme that streams through the record like a liquid string of levitating sacramental wine." He calls "Hello God" the best song on the CD, calling it "mighty strong . . . pretty ponderous stuff, sung with a begging passion," and says "If" is even better than her cover of "Shine." He doesn't too much like "These Old Bones," calling it "a little hokey," but closes with: "The album is wonderful otherwise. Sugar Hill is a fine party song, What a Heartache a real weeper, and, like I said, Stairway to Heaven. Yes!" Read his full review here.
June 29: Billboard on Friday morning posted its review of Dolly's Halos & Horns which will appear in its print issue dated July 6. The magazine noted: "Dolly Parton is right now making some of the absolute best, boldest music of her career," and that while her voice and beauty have often overshadowed her writing talent, this CD captures that with fervor. The title track has "back-porch eloquence," the review says, while "Sugar Hill" is "sexy," and "Raven Dove" is "beautific." "If" is cited as an improvement on the original, as the reviewer observes that Dolly "has also become quite the fearless interpreter, wrapping her one-of-a-kind vocal instrument on whatever the hell moves her." He calls "Stairway To Heaven" both "inspired" and "breathtaking," asking "Who else could pull that off?" It concludes with "Imparted like a shared secret, this record fully explores the dichotomy its title hints at, but more than that, this is a showcase of a hugely important American artist at full power." Read the full review here.
June 27: The first few reviews of Dolly's July 9 release Halos & Horns are in, each so far praising the album as top-notch. A sampling:Hal Horowitz of The All Music Guide calls the CD "more angelic than devilish" and finds Dolly "in excellent voice and exuberant spirits." He opines that "If Only" and "Raven Dove" rank with Dolly's best work ever, while "Dagger Through The Heart" is "an example of Parton at her finest." His only criticisms were that "These Old Bones" turns out too "sappy" and "If" is "a bit smarmy." He holds his highest raves for "Stairway To Heaven," which he notes: "smartly and successfully refashions the song's dense themes into a contemporary gospel ode which retains the mystery of the original even as it is rearranged for this project's folk/bluegrass direction." Summing up the album, he says: "Stirring, unpretentious yet powerful, Halos & Horns effectively continues Parton's glorifying of her mountain roots." (Read the full review here.)
Chris Neal of Country Weekly praises the CD in this week's issue, noting in a full-page review that "If" sounds "lovely" and Dolly's cover of "Stairway To Heaven" is "audaciously reinvented as a bluegrass hymn." He concludes that the force behind the album is Dolly: "perhaps the only person with the combination of artistry and cheekiness to pull off an album like this. Grounded yet ambitious, earnest and sly, naughty but nice, Halos & Horns expands an unexpected musical renewal nearly 40 years into her career. For that, Dolly has certainly earned her halo."
Alanna Nash (country music critic and author of the 1978 biography Dolly) writes for Amazon.com that the CD carries a subtext of "the perpetual struggle between right and wrong, temptation and redemption, and heaven and hell." She calls "These Old Bones" "a fascinating piece of backwoods lore" and "Raven Dove" "powerful." About Dolly re-working "Stairway To Heaven" into a gospel tune, she writes: "If the thought of that brings a smile to your face, just wait: one spin through it, and you'll be down on your knees."
June 26: From CNN's Money section Monday evening: Brian O'Keefe pens, "Dear Dolly, can you hear the wind blow? If Dolly Parton feels the need to find her 'Stairway' on the whispering wind, then it's okay by me. It definitely does not feel like a jump the shark moment. An interesting, acoustic bluegrass version of the song by a country music star is about the only way I could personally imagine listening to 'Stairway to Heaven' all the way through at this point . . .Besides, Dolly's already demonstrated an ability to make '70s hits her own . . ." Read the full note at the end of the Money article here.
June 8: Salt Lake Tribune columnist Dan Nailen on Friday said that he LOVES Halos & Horns. In one paragraph in his column, he said the CD "is actually a fine listen all the way through" but the song he plays over and over again is her cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." He writes: "Not only do you get banjos picking through Jimmy Page's classic guitar parts; Parton's pipes actually take on Robert Plant's patented wail and hold up through 6 1/2 minutes. Damn!" Read his full column here. Plus, while the CD doesn't hit stores for another month and a day, it's already in the top 700 best-sellers at Amazon.com due to advance orders!And BBC2, the British radio network, published an online review of the CD last week. Speaking of "Stairway To Heaven," reviewer Sue Keogh notes: "If on Little Sparrow she said she brought Cole Porter's 'drag-ass' song 'I Get A Kick Out Of You' 'up to bluegrass,' here she takes this kick-ass classic and sweetens it up with Dobro, banjo and a celestial choir. And she gets away with it…again." She says her voice "[pours] an impossible amount of joy and sadness into every single note in the way that only she can." Read the full review here. (Of course, Sparrow, which is still in the top 10 country album chart in England more than a year after its release, spent a total of eight weeks at No. 1 overseas and passed their gold album level!)