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‘Pure and Simple’ review: Dolly Parton charms with new love songs

Dolly Parton's 50-year marriage to Carl Dean inspired

Dolly Parton's 50-year marriage to Carl Dean inspired the love songs on "Pure and Simple." Credit: Sony Nashville Records


“Pure and Simple”


BOTTOM LINE A thick slice of down-home charm from the country legend

In the ebbs and flows of her nearly lifelong career, Dolly Parton is at high tide again.

The 70-year-old is on her biggest American tour in 25 years and last year’s movie “Coat of Many Colors” drew the biggest TV audience for an original movie in five years. So it only makes sense that the new album “Pure and Simple” (Dolly/Sony Music Nashville) is getting the biggest rollout for an album of hers in decades.

“Pure and Simple” refers both to the love songs inspired by her husband of 50 years, Carl Dean, and the style she’s recorded them. This isn’t big-production Dolly. These are songs that focus on her vocals and her storytelling, sweet, kindhearted tales that seem to belong in a simpler time.

One standout track, “Head Over High Heels,” is decidedly timely, with its reference to Adele’s makeup and its modern country production. But “Outside Your Door” is actually even better, sounding like it came right from a ’70s country time capsule, complete with a spoken-word bit.

Parton knows what works best for her and she’s doing it here. Pure and simple.

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