Blue Smoke (album)

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Blue Smoke
Studio album by Dolly Parton
Released January 31, 2014 (see release history)
Recorded 2013
Genre Country
Label Dolly Records
Sony Masterworks
Dolly Parton chronology
Better Day
(2011)
Blue Smoke
(2014)
Singles from Blue Smoke
  1. "Home"
    Released: June 16, 2014[1]
  2. "Try"
    Released: 2014[2]

Blue Smoke is the 42nd studio album by American country entertainer Dolly Parton. The album was released in Australia and New Zealand on January 31, 2014, in North America on May 13, 2014, in Ireland on June 6, 2014, and in Europe on June 9, 2014.

Background[edit]

Parton mentioned working on a new album in July 2013.[3] In December 2013, Parton announced that the album would be released through a partnership between Parton's Dolly Records and Sony Masterworks.[4][5]

Blue Smoke features a duet with Kenny Rogers on "You Can't Make Old Friends," which was originally released on his 2013 album of the same name. The song debuted on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in December 2013 and reached a peak of number 57, becoming Parton's first chart entry since "Jesus and Gravity" peaked at number 56 in 2008. The album also includes a new recording of "From Here to the Moon and Back" with Willie Nelson, which was also on Nelson's 2013 album, To All the Girls.... Parton previously recorded and performed the song with Kris Kristofferson in Joyful Noise, and it was featured on the movie's soundtrack release. Blue Smoke also includes covers of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands on Me."

A deluxe edition with four bonus tracks — three new songs plus a re-recording of "Early Morning Breeze," which first appeared on Parton's 1971 album, Coat of Many Colors — was made available exclusively at Walmart.[6]

In the UK, a special version of the album, titled Blue Smoke - The Best Of, was released on June 9, 2014 in conjunction with the European leg of the Blue Smoke World Tour. It features the standard album, plus a bonus disc with 20 of Parton's greatest hits, most of which feature in the tour setlist.

Promotion[edit]

The Blue Smoke World Tour was officially announced on The Queen Latifah Show in October 21, 2013 where she performed a song from the album, "Miss You, Miss Me".[7] In December 2013, Parton discussed the album and tour on Access Hollywood.[8] The tour will serve as the main promotional vehicle behind the album.[9] On April 14, 2014, Parton appeared on AXS TV's The Big Interview to discuss the album, tour, and other aspects of her career with Dan Rather.[10] Parton also signed on to become one of the headlining acts of the Glastonbury Festival to promote the album in the United Kingdom in June 2014.[11] On April 27, 2014, Parton performed on QVC's Q Sessions Live, where she performed several songs from the album along with past hits.[12] Also on April 27, the entire album became available to stream for free on National Public Radio.[13] Yahoo! Music hosted a series of videos of Parton discussing her album, life, and career leading up to the album's release.[14] Parton appeared on Today on the album's release date where she performed in the show's "Toyota Concert Series."[15] Parton also promoted the album by offering fans a free digital copy of Blue Smoke if they pre-ordered the album from Walmart.[6]

The title track was released as a promo single ahead of the album release in Australia and New Zealand in December 2013.[16] On March 18, 2014, the single was released elsewhere via iTunes. It was also available for immediate download with pre-order of the album. The second single is "Home" and Parton filmed a video in Tennessee for the song.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 81/100[18]
Review scores
Source Rating
The A.V. Club B+[19]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[20]
American Songwriter 4/5 stars[21]
CCM Magazine 4/5 stars[22]
Country Weekly A-[23]
Exclaim! 7/10[24]
Paste 8.3/10[25]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[26]

Blue Smoke received general acclaim from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, they assign a rating out of 100 to selected independent reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 81, based on 8 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim".[18] At Country Weekly, Jon Freeman graded the album an A-, stating that "On Blue Smoke, the country legend travels many different paths and sounds only like herself."[23] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of five, writing that "Perhaps there are no permanent additions to her canon here, but the remarkable thing is how satisfying an album this is: it sounds good and the songs are sturdy, proof that Parton is far from resting on her laurels."[20] At Paste, Holly Gleason rated the album an 8.3 out of ten, saying that the artist "Finding a strong balance between art and slick, Parton continues walking a line of what people expect and her heart. She just gets better with age."[25] Marah Eakin of The A.V. Club graded the album a B+, stating that the release shows how Parton "handily harnesses those charms [...] coupled with that stellar musicality, of course [...] to produce an absolutely lovely LP."[19]

At The Boston Globe, James Reed gave a positive review of the album, writing that "even when Parton goes camp and piles on the gloss, there's still a big heart beating beneath the album's surface, much like the artist herself."[27] At American Songwriter, Eric Allen rated the album four stars out of five, stating that "Blue Smoke easily hits its mark of making us look within ourselves while laughing through our tears."[21] Joe Sweeney of Slant Magazine rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of five, saying that in "the vividness and genuine conviction in that timeless, still-powerful voice finds the humanity in all of it", and in so doing "the country legend mainlines one greeting-card sentiment after another, singing about angels, rainbows, moons, and fishing holes with reckless abandon."[26] At Exclaim!, Thierry Côté rated the album a seven out of ten, writing that "It is an album of small pleasures, an eclectic collection of songs that showcases many of the qualities that have made the Tennessee singer such a vital force in country music for five decades."[24] Andy Argyrakis of CCM Magazine rated the album four stars out of five, commenting how "Parton's cheer, humor and candor continue on this stripped-down, catchy collection" that "continues her popularity resurgence with another rootsy record consisting of many personally penned tunes."[22]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the US, Blue Smoke debuted at number 6 with first-week sales of 37,000 copies.[28] It was Parton's highest-charting, and first top 10, solo album ever. Its first week sales were her best sales week for a solo project.

Blue Smoke also logs her best-ever debut rank on Top Country Albums, which entered at No. 1, surpassing 2002's Halos & Horns, which debuted at No. 4.

In the UK, Blue Smoke proved to be Parton's most successful album ever, spending 12 weeks in the top 10 UK Albums Chart, with a peak position of number 2 in the seventh week. It was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on July 4, 2014, Gold on July 18, 2014 and platinum on December 12, 2014.[29] The album has sold over 300,000 copies in the UK as of December 2014.[30]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Dolly Parton, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Blue Smoke"     3:33
2. "Unlikely Angel"     3:23
3. "Don't Think Twice"   Bob Dylan 3:21
4. "You Can't Make Old Friends" (duet with Kenny Rogers) Ryan Hanna King, Don Schlitz, Caitlyn Smith 3:57
5. "Home"   Dolly Parton, Kent Wells 3:22
6. "Banks of the Ohio"   Traditional (additional lyrics by Dolly Parton) 3:48
7. "Lay Your Hands on Me"   Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora 4:13
8. "Miss You–Miss Me"     4:00
9. "If I Had Wings"     4:06
10. "Lover du Jour"     4:11
11. "From Here to the Moon and Back" (duet with Willie Nelson)   4:02
12. "Try"     4:47
Walmart bonus tracks
No. Title Length
13. "Get Up, Get Out, Get On"   2:55
14. "Olive Branch"   3:09
15. "Early Morning Breeze"   2:56
16. "Angels in the Midst"   3:11

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Australia January 31, 2014 CD, digital download Dolly Records/Sony Masterworks
New Zealand
North America May 13, 2014 CD, LP, digital download
Ireland June 6, 2014 CD, digital download
Europe June 9, 2014 CD, LP, digital download

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA Charts)[31] 7
Australian Country Albums (ARIA Charts)[31] 1
Denmark Albums (Tracklisten)[32] 13
Ireland Albums (Irish Recorded Music Association)[33] 21
New Zealand Albums (New Zealand Chart)[34] 1
Scottish Albums (OCC)[35] 2
Sweden Albums (Swedish popular music)[36] 43
UK Albums (OCC)[37] 2
UK Country Albums (OCC)[38] 4
UK Country Compilation Albums (OCC)[39] 1
US Billboard 200[40] 6
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[41] 2

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://daily.plaympe.com/dolly-parton-home/
  2. ^ Corner, Lewis (4 July 2014). "Dolly Parton announces new single 'Try' - listen". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Watts, Cindy (23 August 2013). "Dolly Parton plans new album and tour". The Tennessean. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dolly's "Blue Smoke" Album To be Released By Sony Masterworks". DollyPartonMusic.net. December 9, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  5. ^ "New Signings: CAA Signs Pusha T, Dolly Parton Joins Sony Masterworks, Disney Music Publishing Inks Jess Cates". Billboard. December 24, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Dolly Parton Offering Fans Bonus Bundles of ‘Blue Smoke’". The Boot. May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ Brandle, Lars (21 October 2013). "Dolly Parton's 'Blue Smoke World Tour' to Visit Australia". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Dolly Parton Dishes On Blue Smoke & World Tour". Access Hollywood. December 9, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ Lewis, Randy (29 October 2013). "Dolly Parton talks 'Blue Smoke' album, tour, Imagination Library". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Dolly Parton to Open Up to Dan Rather in Hour-Long Interview". The Boot. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Glastonbury lines up more big acts". The Independent. April 6, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dolly Parton Headlines ‘A Night in Nashville’ on QVC". Taste of Country. April 27, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  13. ^ "First Listen: Dolly Parton, 'Blue Smoke'". NPR. April 27, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Dolly Parton Talks 'Blue Smoke' Track-By-Track: Week 2". Yahoo! Music. April 22, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Dolly Parton to perform live on TODAY on May 13". TODAY. May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Single Review: Dolly Parton – ‘Blue Smoke’". Renowned For Sound. December 18, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Dolly Parton sings through grueling media schedule". USA Today. April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Metacritic. "Critic Reviews for Blue Smoke". CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Eakin, Marah (May 13, 2014). "Dolly Parton gets folksy, dark on the lovable Blue Smoke". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (May 9, 2014). "Blue Smoke - Dolly Parton | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Allen, Eric (May 19, 2014). "Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke". American Songwriter. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Argyrakis, Andy (July 1, 2014). "Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke (Sony Masterworks)" (PDF). CCM Magazine. Salem Publishing. p. 38. ISSN 1524-7848. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Freeman, Jon (May 19, 2014). "Blue Smoke by Dolly Parton". Country Weekly 21 (20). American Media, Inc. p. 67. ISSN 1074-3235. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Côté, Thierry (May 16, 2014). "Dolly Parton - Blue Smoke". Exclaim!. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Gleason, Holly (May 13, 2014). "Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke Review". Paste. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Sweeney, Joe (May 19, 2014). "Dolly Parton: Blue Smoke". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  27. ^ Reed, James (May 13, 2014). "ALBUM REVIEW: Dolly Parton, 'Blue Smoke'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Rascal Flatts, Dolly Parton Soar Onto Top Country Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  29. ^ "BPI Awards - DOLLY PARTON - BLUE SMOKE - THE BEST OF". URL. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "'Blue Smoke' Sells Another 4,500 Overseas". Dollymania. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  31. ^ a b http://www.ariacharts.com.au/chart/albums
  32. ^ http://danishcharts.com/weekchart.asp?year=2014&date=20140523&cat=a
  33. ^ http://www.irma.ie/aucharts.asp#albums
  34. ^ http://nztop40.co.nz/chart/albums?chart=2417
  35. ^ "2014-06-21 Top 40 Scottish Albums Archive". Official Charts Company.
  36. ^ http://swedishcharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Dolly+Parton&titel=Blue+Smoke&cat=a
  37. ^ "2014-07-27 Top 40 UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company.
  38. ^ "2014-05-24 Top 40 Country Albums Archive". Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ "2014-06-21 Top 40 Country Compliation Albums Archive - Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. 
  40. ^ "Dolly Parton Album & Song Chart History" Billboard 200 for Dolly Parton. Prometheus Global Media.
  41. ^ "Dolly Parton Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Top Country Albums for Dolly Parton. Prometheus Global Media.