Okay, okay so I know that we, at One21music, are known as champions of underground musicians. We can’t get further from the underground than the supernova country star Dolly Parton. I know One21music is known for featuring edgy, boundary pushing music. It does not get more mainstream than county pop. However, if you allow musical prejudice and street cred to keep you from Better Days you will make a silly mistake.
Better Days is the most upbeat, affirming collection of songs I have heard in years. On Better Days, Christian musician Dolly Parton gives us her philosophy for transcending today’s cultural malaise through ebullient joy and transcendent faith. In interviews around the release of Better Days Dolly said, in this time of fear and despair, that she just wanted to bring a ray of sunshine and let people know things will be okay. She certainly delivers as you can see in this concert video of Dolly Parton performing Better Day‘s opening song, “In The Meantime”
It doesn’t stop there. Better Day is song after song of overflowing joy. The Dolly Parton joy in 2011 is just as palpable as Public Enemy‘s rage in 1990, equally powerful and just as compelling. You cannot listen to Better Day without a smile on your face. You cannot walk away from this music without a little brighter outlook on life. My gosh she even has a blues song about how much better everything will be. Watch Dolly Parton sing “Better Day”
Dolly Parton is in fine voice on Better Day. After nearly 50 years in the music business she still has her strong soprano and she sings as powerfully as I have heard her in a decade. The sound is organic mountain music with a glaze of country pop. The fiddle, mandolin and banjo are more prominent on most songs than the orchestra. Sonically, the music, even the sad songs, are upbeat and bright. The entire package delivers Dolly’s message of joy.
Even the hard songs such as “The Sacrifice” deliver a message of hope. In that song she sings of how much she has sacrificed to live her dream. In this day when so many of us struggle, so many of us have to sacrifice our wants for our needs, Christian musician Dolly Parton lets us know that sacrifice is part of the journey and its necessary to achieve our dreams.
The song that best delivers her message for the world in 2011 is her first single form Better Day, “Just You and I”
Is Dolly Parton so joyful because she is so successful or is she so successful because she is so joyful. I don’t know and I don’t care. Better Day is such a fun ride that whenever I hear the first notesof the opening song “In The Meantime”, I start smiling and I don’t stop for hours after the album closes with the rousing duet “Holding Everything.”
But this is more than just a fun album. We often talk about Christian musicians creating music that, no matter the lyrical construct, delivers the Christian message of transcendent joy. There are few albums on our website delivering on that philosophy as clearly and strongly as Better Day. This is a collection of songs that we need to hear in 2011. We need to be reminded that there is joy and that, no matter our circumstances, it is going to be alright.
I beg of you to do yourself a huge favor. Step out of your comfort zone, click through this link and buy Dolly Parton’s Better Day. You will be very, very happy every time you listen.