Dolly Parton is such an icon in the music business that she can get away with just about anything, but this collection of "classic" '60s and '70s tunes is a bit much. The concept blossomed from a segment of Parton's last tour, where she performed a "Tribute to the '60s" in a ridiculous "Up With People"-type segment, full of big sing-alongs and hand-holding as tunes like "Imagine" were butchered. Peace, love and understanding, my ass. It was horrible!
While this may have seemed like a cool idea at the time of germination, something just didn't quite translate as it developed. But, this is Dolly, and in spite of the saccharin-soaked harmonies, kiddie choruses, and silly little giggling spurts, there are a few decent moments. Backed by a stellar band, including members of Union Station, Nickel Creek, and folks like Sam Bush, Parton's voice rings like a bell throughout the disc. Joe Nichols also sounds great on the duet "If I Were a Carpenter."
Regardless of how bizarre the majority of the songs on this collection may be, Parton gets big props for not buckling to Nashville's Red State mentality, and collaborating with Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens, a devout Muslim) on "Where Do the Children Play." It proves that Dolly also has the biggest balls in Music City.
Dolly Parton performs at the Arena at Gwinnett Center Fri., Nov. 25. $49-$97. 8 p.m. 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-813-7600. www.gwinnettcenter.com.