Dolly Parton - The Grass Is Blue

The Grass Is Blue

Dolly Parton

SHCD-3900

Sugar Hill Records
P.O. Box 55300
Durham, NC 27717-5300

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Allen Price (aprice@aa.net)

Being something of a bluegrass purist, I have a tendency to cringe a bit when someone from the pop music world puts out a so-called bluegrass album. Such projects are often homogenized clunky-sounding permutations of bluegrass music. If one listens closely, there is in the background the unmistakable sound of Bill Monroe rolling over in his grave.

So, when Dolly Parton announced she was making a bluegrass album, my immediate reaction was, "here we go again." Even when I heard a couple of cuts on the local bluegrass radio program, I was skeptical.

All that being said, Dolly has overcome all of those obstacles for a bluegrass purist such as myself with The Grass Is Blue. It is the real music, with some of bluegrass music's finest sitting in. Not since Emmylou Harris' Roses In The Snow has a pop/country artist come forward with as fine an authentic bluegrass album as this. Joined by the likes of Stuart Duncan, whose fiddle opens the album on a bluegrass-ization of Bill Joel's (!) Traveling Prayer, Dolly proves that under the wigs and rhinestones beats the heart of a bluegrasser.

The tunes selected are a balance between classics (Lester Flatt's I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open) and contemporary (Hazel Dickens' A Few Old Memories). Parton herself penned some of the most powerful tunes on the album. Endless Stream of Tears is a Parton original which will make its way into many a bluegrass jam before it is through.

The Grass Is Blue is not a bluegrass interpretation, but rather the real thing - a first-rate bluegrass album that any purist will enjoy, as well as many others. It is simply great music.

Track List:

  • Travelin' Prayer
  • Cash On The Barrelhead
  • A Few Old Memories
  • I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open
  • Steady As The Rain
  • I Still Miss Someone
  • Endless Stream Of Tears
  • Silver Dagger
  • Train, Train
  • I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
  • Will He Be Waiting For Me
  • The Grass Is Blue
  • I Am Ready

Musicians

Jerry Douglas - Dobro
Sam Bush - Mandolin
Stuart Duncan - Fiddle
Jim Mills - Banjo
Barry Bales - Bass
Bryan Sutton - Guitar
Steve Buckingham - Rhythm Guitar

Harmony Vocals

Barry Bales
Sam Bush
Jerry Douglas
Stuart Duncan
Alison Krauss
Keith Little
Patty Loveless
Claire Lynch
Louis Nunley
Alan O'Bryant
Dan Tyminski
Rhonda Vincent
Darrin Vincent
Dolly Parton

Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz
(rschwartz@oeb.harvard.edu)

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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