Dolly Parton has put out a new record Run, Rose, Run, which sees her closer to her country and bluegrass roots than previous albums. Previous records have either been mired in Christmas theming or focused too much on synthesiser / smoothed out instrumentation. It was always great to see Dolly putting out new music, but nothing was really grabbing me. Firecracker is back to Dolly having fun and ramping up that banjo energy to 11, which is fantastic.
Firecracker is if The Chicks and Dolly decided to jam out during the CMAs. Dolly brings the vocal energy with a bit of backing help to really give the vocals a kick, while the instrumentation is right out of The Chicks’ record Fly. There’s banjo, strings, guitar and tons of energy, which is unlike most of Dolly’s recent releases. From the first 10 seconds you know you are in for a tornado of a song, which brings you along for the ride. The studio musicians and backing band does a wonderful job giving the track an energetic, yet traditional, country music feel.
Dolly is having a ton of fun on this track. Much like Harper Valley PTA she has ramped up her vocal energy and has a lot of power behind her vocal. However, at 76 she does not have the range she had at 26, but backing vocals seamlessly come in to round out the vocal gaps in Parton’s range. I mean…Dolly does a fun Elvis impersonation in the middle of the track with a little giggle. Dolly does touch on some feminist themes, which runs throughout her career, when she sings about standing up for who she is and for what she believes in. I say these are feminist themes at their core, because it is all about Dolly expressing her voice and agency in society.
Ultimately, it is great to see Dolly go back to traditional bluegrass country and put out such a fun track. The record on a whole meanders a bit, but there are some standout tracks that gives you glimpses of early Dolly. It is fun to have Dolly put out a track in 2022 that reminds you of her best work in 1972. Sit back and have some fun, because that’s what music is all about.
Listen to Firecracker