top of page
  • Writer's picturephotogroupie


Dolly Parton needs no introduction: her music is as memorable and iconic as her constructed real-life Barbie image. Long-time fans will know that she's dabbled with adding a rock and roll flavour to some of her country songs for many years – she was probably an early exponent of the country cross-over that Shania and Taylor became better known for. So it's perhaps little surprise that for her 49th album she decided to go all out and make a rock album.

On the other side, hardened rock fans would hardly put Dolly in the same camp as Ann Wilson, Pat Benatar and the like vocally. So just how Rockstar would pan out would be anyone's guess.

Dolly already tackled the behemoth Led Zep song Stairway to Heaven on her 2002 album Halo and Horns. It may be marmite to some, but it's a wonderful rousing cover that builds and builds to a crescendo with a choir, driving Appalachian sounds and Dolly's distinctive and emotive vocal leading the way. It's a terrific reworking and a darn good cover version. The trouble is, Rockstar isn't an album of Dolly reworking rock classics in her own image and likeness, it's Dolly and friends doing near facsimiles of the original versions.

After opening with the tongue-in-cheek title track and another new track the protest song, World on Fire could have come off a Pretty Reckless album, First up is Sting on Every Breath You Take then Steve Perry on the lackluster ballad Open Arms. Things shift gear a bit when Heart's Ann Wilson joins Dolly on Magic Man (Carl Version). Long as I Can See The Light with John Fogerty has that soulful rock vibe that suits both of their voice incredibly well. Emmylou Harris joins Sheryl Crow on You're No Good and is a wonderful tribute to Linda Ronstadt and Trio.

Even the aforementioned Stairway is tackled again this time with Lizzo and Sasha Flute, and it doesn't really touch the sides when compared to Dolly's former glory in reworking the track. Sure, she's got nothing left to prove and is perhaps pleasing herself, but what a missed opportunity to record these rock songs once again in her own inimitable way.

Dolly's voice still sounds fantastic and for most part, the harmonies with the featured artists work astonishingly well – as you'd expect. When Dolly pushes the rockier side of her voice on tracks like Heartbraker with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo her country twang translates genres pretty well. The fact that she's been able to pull in Elton John, Rob Halford, P!nk, Melissa Etheridge and Paul McCartney onto the project speaks volumes about her as an artist. Again the plus side, with so many egos on one album, there's no upstaging here, it's all very much about the music and having fun.

With a running time of nearly two and a half hours, there's a mix of new songs alongside rock favourites that reads like a who's who of the rock world. But does anybody really need 30 songs of rockstar karaoke? If anybody can get away with it Dolly can.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page