The Rhythm Express Jolene 7 Arts/Side Door Records
A few months back I was turned on to a haunting YouTube clip of Dolly Parton singing her most recorded song, “Jolene”. The original 1973 track had been slowed from single format to long playing 33 1/3 speed. That listening experience was both eerie and a revelation. No doubt, Dolly Parton possesses a grand set of pipes. Slowed down it becomes more evident, in that every inflection, bend in a vowel, a word is extraordinary and rocked with emotion.
With that in mind and captivated by the change of tempo, I began hearing other possibilities. What if this was done with a reggae feel - early Bob Marley and Wailer's rhythm section style and backing vocals reminiscent Marley’s backup singers, the I-Threes. Acutely aware Parton and a cappella sing group Pentatonix just won a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Award with an updated version of ‘Jolene’; the song’s alluring story, sumptuous melody and sweeping beauty was more than the Rhythm Express could resist. In fact, we decided to keep the song’s country charm with a guest appearance from guitarist Tim Boviconti of Ron Sexsmith/ Burton Cummings fame. Tim’s lap steel, acoustic and electric guitar keeps our ‘Jolene’ rooted in tradition.
Great songs lend themselves to all sorts of interpretation. ‘Jolene’ rocks our world.
released April 6, 2017
Lead vocal: Maiko Watson
Produced/arranged/keys: Bill King
Executive Producer: Everton 'Pablo' Paul – drums/percussion
Recording engineer: rhythm guitar – Shane 'Shaky J’ Forrest
Guitars: electric/lap steel – Tim Boviconti
Bass: Jesse 'Dubmatix' King
Violin: Elizabeth Rodriquez - violin
Mix: Michael Haas
Writers: Gunnar Jorstad/Dolly Parton – Velvet Apple Music
Recorded: Side Door Records
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