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  • Muzik First

NEW ALBUM: DOLLY PARTON | RUN HORSE RUN

Dolly Parton has teamed up with bestselling novelist James Patterson to write a thriller. Published on 7 March, the book is a deliciously hokey yarn about a young singer-songwriter (AnnieLee) struggling to shake off her murky past and make a career in Nashville. Always alert to a slick marketing opportunity, the 74-year-old country music star realized that fans would love an album inspired by the characters in "Run Rose Run." As one of the all-time great narrative songwriters, she’s had a blast and harnessed the mystery-plot momentum for these 12 original songs. Parton’s 48th record starts at a skittering, screwball bluegrass pace with “Run.” Sounding as fresh as ever, Parton takes the wheel in her no-nonsense, rhinestone-encrusted life coach mode as she urges her heroine. Every track is delivered with Parton’s weapons’ grade grit and propulsion. Over the wailing harmonica of the line-danceable single “Big Dreams and Faded Dreams,” she vows to “put out my thumb and wish for luck/ To hitch a car, a semi-truck.” There’s a slow-dance duet with Ben Haggard called “Demons,” which together, the duo swap confidences about the pain in their past. Haggard sounds swaggeringly more weatherbeaten than his 29 years, just as the quavering-voiced Parton sounds young enough to be trembling in his arms. Songs such as the bouncy “Driven” and gutsy stomper “Woman Up and Take it Like a Man” are perfectly on-brand for a woman who has always believed there’s nothing she couldn’t do if she put her mind to it.