Dolly Parton has long held her place in country music with a style of class and dignity. A tangible physical presence, her songwriting and singing sometimes tend to be pushed into the shadows. But, even after all these years, Parton is still hip-deep in the game and a player of the highest caliber. This release, her first for the resurrected Decca label, is a powerful trip into the foundation of Parton's music. From gospel to honky tonk to mountain music, she paints exquisite landscapes of intense color and emotion. A pioneer, she asks, "Why don't more women sing honky tonk songs" in "Honky Tonk Songs," a worthy question considering all the glib pop tunes the majority of women in modern country try to pass off as country music. But Parton, who can top the pops with the best of 'em, still remains firmly grounded in tradition, as evidenced by "The Camel's Heart," a tune with the wild emotional strength of her legendary hit "Jolene." Always the center of fun and delight, Parton gives her listeners a fast banjo ride on the up-tempo "Time and Tears." "Paradise Road" explores poverty and the transcendence of such a state while providing inspiration and hope. As beautiful as anything she has ever written is "Blue Valley Songbird," an autobiography of sorts. And she ends things with a gospel singalong that flies high. Throughout, Parton is joined by the equally talented and traditional Rhonda Vincent on backing vocals, adding a nice layering to the vocal tracks. Hungry Again is a timely, heartwarming project that displays all of the many aspects and facets of Parton's talent. She is endearing and respected, and she can still roll right over most anyone who gets in her way with a single note.
AllMusic Review by Jana Pendragon