Dolly Parton – Rockstar

With a flying V guitar hanging from her rhinestoned shoulders and a steaming hot cup of ambition in hand, Dolly Parton expertly crafts an electric collection of collaborative covers and captivating original material on her 49th studio album

Album Review by Jack Faulds | 17 Nov 2023
  • Dolly Parton – Rockstar
Album title: Rockstar
Artist: Dolly Parton
Label: Butterfly / Big Machine
Release date: 17 Nov

This unbelievable 30-track epic opens on a soundbite of Parton noodling away on a crunchy electric guitar, a sweet sound that is quickly interrupted by the nagging of her parents who mock her dream of becoming a rockstar. “I’ll show them,” she declares, launching into the titular track alongside Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora and his instantly-recognisable talk box guitar. After putting greedy politicians to shame on the scorching lead single World On Fire, Parton treats us to a glorious array of duets with various institutions of rock royalty including Elton John, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, Simon Le Bon, Debbie Harry and Joan Jett.

She also keeps this dad-rock fest from becoming one-note by having stars of contemporary music join its outrageous cast of characters. Among such stars is Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus, with whom she performs a touching rendition of Cyrus' 2013 hit Wrecking Ball. No massive name-drop, however, can outshine the power of Parton herself who – at 77-years-old – holds her own and then some throughout every single track. The aged and raspy qualities of her voice only add to that airy and angelic smoky mountain twang we know and love. The queen of Dollywood has more than earned her place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with this stupidly fun and over-the-top love letter to the genre.

Listen to: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (feat. Elton John), Wrecking Ball (feat. Miley Cyrus), What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done for You (feat. Stevie Nicks with special guest Waddy Wachtel)