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Blue Smoke by Dolly Parton

Whatever roads Dolly Parton chooses to follow, she always has the sense to make them work for her.

On Blue Smoke, the country legend travels many different paths and sounds only like herself.

The title track is old-school honky-tonk with a barreling rhythm about leaving on a train.

There’s also lovely acoustic cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice,” and a marvelous gospelly version of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me,” where the hands belong to God and not groupies.

On the darker side, Dolly sends an extra chill through “Banks of the Ohio” with her ghostly interpretation.

Many fans have already heard “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” a duet with Kenny Rogers that previously appeared on his last album, as well as “From Here to the Moon and Back,” which was on Willie Nelson’s To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.

The album closes with “Try,” an unabashedly positive song of encouragement for anyone who’s feeling a little down or facing big obstacles. It would almost be corny—except when Dolly is singing, you have no choice but to believe.

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