Dolly Parton

On her third release for the Welk Music Group’s Sugar Hill label, Parton produces herself, demonstrating the kind of idiosyncrasies that rendered her anathema for major labels. The title tune and “Dagger in My Heart” are bluegrassily solid, reminiscent of last year’s successful Little Sparrow. The other cuts range from the insipid “Dear God” and “Raven Dove” with full Christian Broadcast Network arrangements to the worst mountain culture stereotyping imaginable in “These Old Bones.” On that one, Parton warbles in a Beverly Hillbillies’ whine that only undercuts respect for aged wisdom. The album finishes with, ahem, “Stairway to Heaven.” Yes, the Led Zeppelin classic—and for the first half, it actually holds up nicely. Then it deteriorates into shrillness and thinness, putting a merciful end to this oddity of an album that is surely a tribute to the perils of self-production.