Picks and Pans Review: Halos & Horns
Beneath the makeup, beneath the wigs, beneath all that Dolly, there has always been a splendid singer. At 56, Parton has applied her terrific voice to bluegrass on her third consecutive album, following 1999's The Grass Is Blue and last year's Little Sparrow. This is not the megastar Dolly of her TV series days, but a quietly affecting vocalist of folky, spiritual and introspective tunes, sounding as close to subdued as she is ever likely to get. Singing with her own new band, the Blueniques—anchored by the ruminative banjo of Gary Davis—Parton (who wrote 12 of the disc's 14 songs) sounds much like her younger, unspoiled self, breezing from the moral dilemma of the title cut to the personal statement of "I'm Gone." For those who've always believed in Parton's credibility as an artist, Halos is indeed heaven-sent.
Bottom Line: Hello again, Dolly!