“I’ve just about had all the heartache I can stand,” sings Dolly Parton in her new song “Blue Smoke.” The title track of her upcoming album, the song was unveiled today via a lyric video on Rolling Stone.
Written by Parton, “Blue Smoke” is a breakup song about splitting up and getting gone. But rather than adopting a dour tone, the song is deliberately upbeat, set to a peppy bluegrass-based melody. Parton isn’t going to sit around and mope, even if her guy did do her wrong; she’s bummed, but she’s taking action. “Just stay on track and never look back,” she sings. The song features gospel-style vocal harmonies, hand claps and even a fiddle breakdown.
Nearly all of the 12 songs on the album Blue Smoke were written exclusively by Parton. Exceptions include a version of Bob Dylan‘s “Don’t Think Twice”; the traditional folk song “Banks of the Ohio”; “Lay Your Hands on Me,” which Parton cowrote with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora; and “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” her duet with Kenny Rogers that was penned by Ryan Hanna King, Don Schlitz, Caitlyn Smith. The album also features a duet with Willie Nelson, “From Here to the Moon and Back” (see the full track listing below).
“On this CD I think there are all of the colors of my life in all the areas of music that you’ve allowed me to dabble in through the years,” Parton said in a press statement. “You will hear my old world mountain voice on songs like ‘Banks of The Ohio’ and ‘If I Had Wings,’ my tender side on songs like ‘Miss You – Miss Me’ and ‘Unlikely Angel.’ My country/bluegrass side of songs like ‘Home,’ ‘Blue Smoke’ and ‘Don’t Think Twice’ and my funny tongue-in-cheek side on ‘Lover du Jour.'”
Parton is also touring this year. She was in Australia and New Zealand last month, and later this spring and summer she has a series of U.S. and European dates on her agenda as well.