by Jody Mason
We haven’t seen a mainstream record from the legendary Dolly Parton in 17 years, and it seems she has remained true to her classic style after all this time. Backwoods Barbie includes the single “Better Get to Livin’,” a characteristically upbeat song that is countrified by Dolly’s bluegrass voice singing gospel-style lyrics. “Jesus & Gravity” is another inspirational single that speaks to the struggles of humility, patience, and encouragement, a few of Dolly’s distinguished virtues.
One fast-paced song, “Drives Me Crazy”, is slightly unsettling as it borrows early 90’s beats, but fortunately the album makes its way towards more subdued, breathy ballads such as “Only Dreamin’” and “Cologne”. Dolly proves herself ever the country girl with “The Lonesomes,” a bluesy song that shows off her jazzy personality.
After spending so many years as an entertainer, Dolly has kept her sense of humor. Even the Backwoods Barbie album cover features a seemingly ageless Dolly wearing a hot pink gown and sitting on hay bales in the back of an old pickup. Her world tour continues to add dates and venues through 2009, with some shows selling out to enthusiastic fans extolling their Backwoods Barbie.