Even if you don't care too much for country music, you've got to love Dolly Parton. That hair? That makeup? That roller coaster, with what the Dollywood website delicately refers to as "butterfly back-to-back loops"? What's not to like?
Behind the big wigs and the rhinestone dazzle, beyond the big-screen successes and the unmistakable entrepreneurial prowess, Parton is one of the greatest singer-songwriters country music — and maybe the country — has ever produced. Over a five-decade career, she's proved equally adept as a spinner of delicate old-school bluegrass tunes and Nashville-savvy chart-bait. If there's a purer, cleaner, more heartbreaking high-lonesome voice still singing at her age (not that we'd mention it), Parton has probably written a deeply moving story-song for the person who owns it.
When Dolly, a career-spanning 99-song box set, was released in 2009, Parton-friendly NPR staffers offered their thoughts on some of its highlights.