Forty-four years as a recording artist have not diminished Parton's sass. From her folksy, half-spoken welcome on the bluesy "Better Day" ("You gotta keep the faith, 'cause I believe there's a better day") to the jaunty, if moralising, hoedown of "In the Meantime", studio album number 41 is turbo-powered by her trademark can-do spirit and feelgood key changes. The indomitable optimism can get a bit much – on "Together You and I" she actually exhorts the listener to "paint a pretty rainbow brushed with love across the sky". But because it's Dolly, she just about gets away with it.
Hermione writes for the Observer New Review section on books, music, theatre and feminism.