Little Sparrow

Little Sparrow

Setting dulcet harmonies against lively but tasteful acoustic picking, Little Sparrow is the sound of a mature artist creating the music she loves, on her own terms. Like 1999's The Grass Is Blue, this Grammy-winning album from 2001 showcases Parton's return to her musical roots, filtering traditional genres like bluegrass, mountain ballads, gospel, and Celtic music through a breezy, pop-inflected sensibility. The stories of love, loss, and betrayal contained here represent a canny mixture of standards, originals (including a lovely reworking of her melancholy '70s gem "Down From Dover"), and a few unexpected covers, like Collective Soul's "Shine" and even the Eagles chestnut "Seven Bridges Road." Little Sparrow makes effective use of vocal and instrumental backup from such leading lights of the contemporary acoustic scene as Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and Dan Tyminski. But the real star is, as always, that extraordinary voice: 25 years after first hearing, it remains as pure and otherworldly as any.

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