Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Couple More Big Bits on Parton

In more from, "Working Girl," Emily Lordi's piece on Parton in the NYT's Style Magazine, (December 5, 2020), we learn details of the country singer's: breadth:

[In a memorable interview, Parton told Barbara Walters] "that her outsize appearance was a means to an end, a gateway to her art. [Her creative directror Steve] Summers sees it differently, though. Rather than draw people into an appreciation of Parton's musicianship, he thinks her exterior graciously shields people from the blinding light of it. He describes Parton as a "musical savant" who hears songs "complete in her head." If Parton looked as formidable as she is, "you couldn't process it," Summer says. "It's just a package that is divine" . . . . For the upcoming "Christmas on the Square," "a feel-good holiday film, in which Parton plays an angel sent to soften the heart of a rich villain played by Christine Baranski, Parton wrote not just for multiple character types, but in myriad styles: contemporary R and B with affecting vocal cries for the singer Matthew Johnson, who plays an earnest single Black father; plot-advancing musical theater numbers for stage veterans Baranski and Treat Williams, who plays Baranski's old flame; and folksier fare for herself. "She can write anything," says Debbie Allen, the iconic dancer and director best known for her work on the 1980s TV series "Fame," who directed, choreographed and executive produced the film. Parton might be "the country music queen," Allen tells me, but "her comprehension of music is encyclopedic."

That certainly sounds formidable. If the author of this article on Parton is even halfway correct, then Parton is as important for American music as is Bob Dylan. I hope the author is right, and that this film establishes that fact.


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