Those Darlins

Is there really anything more punk than Dolly Parton? The Queen of Country continues to be one of music’s greatest trailblazers, crossing genres and leading the way for female artists in a male-dominated industry. She’s a philanthropist, a businesswoman, and one hell of a songwriter. And if all that wasn’t cool enough, she recently revealed that she’s covered in tattoos.

As another installment of A.V. Club and Honda’s excellent series “Pioneering,” Dolly’s signature tune “Jolene” got a total rock makeover from Nashville charmers Those Darlins. It’s hard to ruin such a great song, but Those Darlins took the reigns and made it all their own with a delightful mash of punk, country and rock and roll.
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The amazing thing about this album is that it didn’t come sooner. An indie-Americana tribute to country/folk songwriter John Prine seems so inevitable. He may never have become a household name, but anyone who ever recorded a song with steel guitar or mandolin knows Prine. With bands like My Morning Jacket and the Avett Brothers spearheading an alt-country revival, Prine’s slyly sarcastic songs about love and life are due a second showing.

The artists who appear on Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine comprise a who’s-who of young folk/Americana bands, but these obvious admirers choose some very non-obvious tracks. The usual-suspect songs are largely missing in action. No “Paradise,” no “Sam Stone,” no “Illegal Smile.” The only no-duh selection is “Angel from Montgomery,” one of four songs from Prine’s self-titled debut. The rest span the gamut, dusting off tunes from the ‘80s and ‘90s alongside the canonical ‘70s material.
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