Artist: Dolly Parton
Album: Pure & Simple
Label: Velvet Apple Music (BMI)
Release Date: 08/19/2016
Dolly Parton convincingly whispers and sings ten love songs on her 43rd studio album, Pure & Simple. The stripped-down recording defies Parton’s 70 years with an ageless voice on “I’m Sixteen.” She admits that romantic love rejuvenates and keeps her feeling young. Though Parton never mentions him by name, she and Carl Dean, her husband of the last five decades, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last May by renewing their vows.
It is obvious from the album’s title track, “Pure & Simple” that their love endures: “It’s so pure it’s almost sacred/simply put it feels divine.” Parton also exercises her trademark knack for making the most of a great hook line, with “Head Over High Heels (In Love.)” With “Forever Love,” she tenderly and passionately delivers lyrics accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and violin. The beloved icon from Locust Ridge, Tennessee, previously recorded two of the album’s tracks, “Tomorrow is Forever” and “Say Forever You’ll Be Mine,” with Porter Waggoner.
Since embarking on a solo career in the 1970s as a singer/songwriter and actress, Parton has earned at least one nomination in all four major American entertainment award organizations: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. She also received the distinguished Living Legend Award from the U.S. Library of Congress. Listen to this Valentine in the dark, with someone you love.
—Donna Marie Miller