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Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton by Lydia R. Hamessley

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This book begins with a twenty-page biographical sketch of Dolly Parton and then delves right into the songs she has written. They are organized thematically, not chronologically, and each treatment is enhanced by substantial quotations from Dolly that the author elicited. "A persuasive argument for taking Dolly Parton seriously as an artist. For folk and country music scholars, musicians, and fans." --Library Journal. "Serious Dolly Parton fans and country music aficionados will be delighted by this in-depth gander into an icon's creative process. " –Booklist. “Lydia Hamessley invites us on a deep dive into the world of Dolly Parton as songwriter.  The book weaves together insightful analyses of the musical forms, cultural roots, and meanings found in Parton’s vast catalog, with Parton’s own accounts of her music. Hamessley unveils these songs as the heart and substance of Parton’s contributions to popular culture, and will inspire every reader to take yet another listen.”--Jocelyn R. Neal. The author Lydia R. Hamessley is a music professor at Hamilton College whose scholarly interests focus on old-time and bluegrass music, especially as they intersect with Southern Appalachia and the influence of women.

Urbana: The University of Illinois Press, 2020. 286 pages with a Foreword by Steve Buckingham, five tables, 31 black and white photos, four appendices, Notes, Further Reading, General Index, and Song and Album Index. Trade paperback