Blue Smoke (album)

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Blue Smoke
Studio album by Dolly Parton
Released January 31, 2014
Recorded 2013
Genre Country
Label Dolly Records
Sony Masterworks
Dolly Parton chronology
Better Day
Blue Smoke
Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings, 1967–1976
Singles from Blue Smoke
  1. "Blue Smoke"
    Released: December 10, 2013
  2. "Home"
    Released: June 16, 2014[1]
  3. "Try"
    Released: September 2, 2014[2]

Blue Smoke is the forty-fifth solo 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.


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]

The name, Blue Smoke, was inspired by the mist that covers the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.[6] The album 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.[7]

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 set list.


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".[8] In December 2013, Parton discussed the album and tour on Access Hollywood.[9] The tour will serve as the main promotional vehicle behind the album.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] On April 27, 2014, Parton performed on QVC's Q Sessions Live, where she performed several songs from the album along with past hits.[13] Also on April 27, the entire album became available to stream for free on National Public Radio.[14] Yahoo! Music hosted a series of videos of Parton discussing her album, life, and career leading up to the album's release.[15] Parton appeared on Today on the album's release date where she performed in the show's Toyota Concert Series.[16] Parton also promoted the album by offering fans a free digital copy of Blue Smoke if they pre-ordered the album from Walmart.[7]

The title track was released as a promo single ahead of the album release in Australia and New Zealand in December 2013.[17] 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.[18] "Home" was written by Parton and Kent Wells, and was released as a single with a music video on May 28, 2014. Lyrically, the song tells the story of a girl who left her home at age 17 to follow her dreams and is now returning after many years, which she describes fondly. The song is considered to be autobiographical of Parton.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The A.V. ClubB+[20]
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[21]
American Songwriter4/5 stars[22]
CCM Magazine4/5 stars[23]
Country WeeklyA-[24]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[27]

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".[19] 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."[24] 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."[21] 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."[26] 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."[20]

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."[28] 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."[22] 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."[27] 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."[25] 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."[23]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the US, Blue Smoke debuted at number 6 with first-week sales of 37,000 copies.[29] 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 logged her best debut rank on Top Country Albums in 23 years, entering at No. 2.

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.[30] The album has sold over 400,000 copies in the UK as of August 2016.[31]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Dolly Parton, except where noted.

1."Blue Smoke" 3:33
2."Unlikely Angel" 3:23
3."Don't Think Twice"Bob Dylan3:21
4."You Can't Make Old Friends" (duet with Kenny Rogers)Ryan Hanna King, Don Schlitz, Caitlyn Smith3:57
5."Home"Dolly Parton, Kent Wells3:22
6."Banks of the Ohio"Traditional (additional lyrics by Dolly Parton)3:48
7."Lay Your Hands on Me"Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora4:13
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
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
Republic of Ireland June 6, 2014 CD, digital download
Europe June 9, 2014 CD, LP, digital download


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