Entertainment Weekly (11/7/03, p.70) - "...Sterling results....[the tribute] runs the Shania-to-Sinead gamut..." - Rating: A-
Uncut (1/04, p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]he post-Porter Parton finally gets a golden handshake from her peers. And some line-up it is."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/04, p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 - "In storytelling and melody, the elegance, economy and heartfelt clarity of Parton's writing deserves comparison with not only Hank Williams or Johnny Cash but George Gershwin or Irving Berlin."
Includes liner notes by Emmylou Harris.
Personnel: Meshell Ndegeocello (vocals, guitar, synthesizer, programming); Jerry Douglas (guitar, resonator guitar); Ron Block (guitar, National guitar); Dan Tyminski (guitar, mandolin); John Leventhal (guitar, organ, percussion); Shelby Lynne (guitar, percussion, background vocals); James Harrah, Steve Buckingham, Bryan Sutton (guitar); Emmylou Harris, Kevin Breit, Rodney Crowell (acoustic guitar); Adam Levy , Kenny Vaughn, Mark Punch, Joe McMahan (electric guitar); Brian Ahern (12-string guitar, gut-string guitar); Sonny Landreth (slide guitar); R. McCormack (resonator guitar, banjo, mandolin); Mike Compton, Lex Price (mandolin); Stuart Duncan (fiddle); Alison Krauss (viola); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); Chris Mosher (piano, programming); Norah Jones, Roy Bittan, David Morgan , Gary "Bud" Smith (piano); Glen D. Hardin (electric piano); Barry Beckett (Wurlitzer organ); David Cole (keyboards, drum programming); Larry Antonino, Viktor Krauss, Barry Bales (upright bass); Kerry Buchanan, Chris "Daddy" Dave, Matt Laug, Owen Hale, Andrew Borger, Shannon Forrest (drums); Rick DePofi, John Ware (percussion); Cheryl White, Carmella Ramsey, Melinda Smith, Julia Waters, Allison Moorer, Maxi Anderson, Maxine Willard Waters (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: David Cole; Gary Paczosa; Jay Newland; Jeff McCormack; John Leventhal; Nash Chambers; Neal Cappellino; Rick DePofi; Russ Long; Steve Buckingham; Brian Ahern; Bruce Robb.
Liner Note Authors: Emmylou Harris; Steve Buckingham.
Recording information: 17 Grand, Nashville, TN; Bow Lane Studios, Dublin, Ireland; Cherokee Studios, Hollywood, CA; Enactron Truck, Beverly Hills, CA; Minutia Sound, Nashville, TN; New York Noise, New York, NY; OMNI Sound, Nashville, TN; Royaltone Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Shelter Island Sound, New York, NY; Sorcerer SOund, New York, NY; Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN; Sully Sound, La-Tour-De-Peilz, Switzerland; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA; The Beach House, Copacabana, NSW, Australia; The Doghouse, Nashville, TN.
Despite her numerous accomplishments as a performer, actor, and all-around media mogul, Dolly Parton has often said that she views herself primarily as a songwriter. JUST BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN goes a long way towards highlighting the craft of Parton's extraordinary songs. Unlike some cash-in tribute albums, this disc showcases artists who clearly love and respect the music in question, making for a record that bears no trace of crass commercialism.
Most tracks on the album strip the songs down to their bare essence, framing the tunes in a newgrass-like acoustic setting typical of many Sugar Hill Records releases. Notable exceptions are the two final, and most interesting, tracks. While Allison Moorer's take on "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" boasts a spooky, ethereal production that perfectly suits her husky voice, Me'Shell NdegeOcello completely deconstructs "Two Doors Down," turning a fairly straightforward 1980s pop song into a mysterious, funky, and brooding lament. Perhaps the album's best moment, though, is Joan Osborne's stunningly pure, straightforward version of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind," which at once showcases the unaffected beauty of the singer's voice, and makes crystal clear why Dolly Parton truly deserves a tribute album.