If you haven’t heard Kesha’s new song featuring Dolly Parton, stop, drop, and scroll down to the listen link below. The Nashville-bred pop artist revisited Parton’s 1980 #1 “Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You” with Parton herself, and the result is both classically country, currently relevant, and timelessly moving.
For those unfamiliar with the pop star’s backstory, Kesha in fact has country cred – she was raised in Nashville by mother Pebe Sebert, whose songwriting accolades include “Old Flames,” which she wrote in 1970 with then-husband Hugh Moffatt. Joe Sun and Brian Collins both charted with versions of it, Merle Haggard has a particularly gripping version, complete with a sole, soulful saxophone.
Kesha’s version nudges it towards the pop spectrum, but retains the elements that make it moving and strong. Both vocal performances are distinct, powerful, and impressive, and relay the both sweet and impassioned nature of the song. Country lovers, check out the rest of Rainbow: “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” isn’t the only one on Kesha’s Rainbow that feels steeped in country (“Hunt You Down,” for instance, feels intentionally very Johnny Cash).