Dolly Parton is an Unlikely Angel and a prolific songwriter. She has written literally thousands of songs. In fact, she vows, “I write everyday. I will do that till the day I die, whether anybody buys them or hears those songs till after I’m dead. I’m dead serious about my music.”
Unlikely Angel is an in-depth look into both the music itself and Dolly’s own songwriting process. As the book states, Dolly herself claims “her creativity is a ‘God-given gift’ her songwriting talent comes from God, and she is serious about her stewardship of that spiritual gift.” Emmylou Harris, another country queen who sang with Dolly on two albums, agrees, “I’ve never seen someone so spontaneously creative. … With Dolly, it’s like the songs come out whole.”
I enjoyed the book’s short biography of Dolly in the beginning and the inside look into Dolly’s writing process. There is an intriguing look into Dolly’s jump into pop music and movies as just a way to fund her trip back into the country, bluegrass and mountain songs of her youth. Dolly truly is no “Dumb Blonde”.
The deep dive into her music made me realize why this book was published by the University of Illinois. The six Listening Outlines of Dolly’s songs plop me straight back to papers I wrote in my two semesters of Music Appreciation. To be honest, if my college had offered a class called Music Appreciation of Dolly, I would have used up another elective to take it.
If you are a songwriter or aspiring to be one, Unlikely Angel is a great tool to put in your music toolbox. In addition, fans of Dolly who want to know more about how she writes will be blown away by the details revealed here in this well-researched music biography. 4 stars!
Thanks to University of Illinois Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.