While The Grass Is Blue from 1999, the album's predecessor, featured straightforward bluegrass, Little Sparrow — released in early 2001 — featured a blend of Appalachian folk, bluegrass and country gospel styles. Each of the musical styles is a notable part of the culture from Parton's East Tennessee upbringing. In addition to a number of traditional songs and Parton's own compositions, the album featured a reworkings of the Collective Soul hit "Shine" and the Restless Heart hit "A Tender Lie," as well as a bluegrass version of Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You". The album received positive reviews and reached number 12 on the U.S. country albums chart, Parton's highest charting solo album in 6 years. The album was dedicated to the memory of Dolly's father, Lee Parton.
Among the backing musicians were members of the alternative bluegrass band Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss, and members of Irish Traditional band Altan, whose singer, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh sung Irish Gaelic vocals on the album.
Parton's recording of "Shine" won a Grammy for best female country vocal performance. The track "Marry Me" was later featured in the Reese Witherspoon film Sweet Home Alabama. In 2008, David Cook, the winner of the seventh season of American Idol, performed a cover of the song "Little Sparrow" with his own arrangement.
She re-recorded the songs, "Down From Dover", originally on her 1970 album, The Fairest of Them All, and "My Blue Tears", originally on her 1971 album, Coat of Many Colors. The album was certified Silver in the UK.
|Studio album by Dolly Parton|
|Released||January 23, 2001|
|Recorded||Nashville, Los Angeles, 2000|
|Dolly Parton chronology|
|Singles from Little Sparrow|
All tracks written by Dolly Parton except as noted.
|2.||"Shine" (with Nickel Creek)||Ed Roland||5:11|
|3.||"I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby"||Autry Inman||3:02|
|4.||"My Blue Tears"||3:03|
|5.||"Seven Bridges Road"||Steve Young||3:29|
|7.||"A Tender Lie"||Randy Sharp||3:44|
|8.||"I Get a Kick Out of You"||Cole Porter||2:31|
|11.||"Down from Dover"||5:09|
|12.||"The Beautiful Lie"||David "Butch" McDade||2:34|
|13.||"In the Sweet By and By"||Sanford Bennett, Joseph Webster||3:54|
|14.||"Little Sparrow (Reprise)"||1:37|
|UK Albums (OCC)||30|
|US Billboard 200||97|
|US Top Country Albums (Billboard)||12|
|US Independent Albums (Billboard)||3|