Wednesday, 2 February 2011

LIVE REVIEW: Addie Brownlee w/ Martha Wainwright for 'I Beg Your Parton?'

As previewed in these pages earlier in January, New York's Addie Brownlee  gathered fans, country lovers, and the just plain curious together a couple of weeks back to celebrate the musical legacy of one Dolly Parton. Her tribute show I Beg Your Parton? attracted a diverse set of folks down to The Living Room on a freezing midweek winter mean feat in itself. 

The beauty of this show lay in the various elements of Dolly Parton's musical persona and how well Addie Brownlee celebrates each of them. She clearly cares deeply about Dolly's legacy as a serious songwriter, with songs like Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You being key to her formative years, but she's more than happy to celebrate the kitsch side too, with which many of us are more familiar. 

So tonight, alongside heart wrenchingly tender moments such as Jolene, we also get the simpler joys of Dumb Blonde. In bringing everything together so devotedly, Brownlee demonstrates the true value of a tribute show, in its ability to both celebrate and educate.

All of this comes as yet without mention of the supremely talented Martha Wainwright, appearing as a guest in the center of the show to take on Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? and Coat Of Many Colors. Across those songs, Wainwright's voice is stunning in both tone and range, imbuing the first in particular with a sense of . Naturally, she also appears at the end - alongside Jill Henderlight and the bevy of skilled musicians supporting Brownlee in this endeavour - for a rapturous rendition of 9 to 5.

From pain to party, the songs of Dolly Parton are as endearing as the effervescent personality she always seems to display. 

All credit to Addie Brownlee, then, for taking her inspiration and running with it to create such an all-encompassing celebration of a living legend.

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