Halos & Horns is the third album in Dolly Parton's bluegrass trilogy, following The Grass Is Blue and Little Sparrow. The title track is about the daily battle between good and evil that rages in each of us.
Dolly elaborated on the song meaning in her 2020 book, Songteller: "Most people are both the angel and the devil. We all have both sides in us. I've never tried to deny it about myself. I'm as good as I know how to be. I'm not a sinner, and I'm not a saint. I just allow myself to feel whatever I feel and do whatever I think is the right thing to be doing.
'Halos and Horns' talks about that. That's why I think it's a song that a lot of people can relate to. You need to have a conscience about what you do. You might not know why you do something, and you hope the Lord will forgive you if it's wrong. I know I push Him to the limit, sometimes."
The title was originally the name of a TV show Dolly pitched to Fox a couple years earlier that was never picked up. After she wrote the song, she thought it would also make a good album title because it reflected the theme of sinners and saints that ran throughout the record. "I go from one song about swimming naked in the pond to a spiritual number. We're all struggling to be good, but we can't be all the time," she noted in a track-by-track interview.
In the US, the album peaked at #2 on the Bluegrass chart and #4 on the Country chart. In the UK, it went to #1 on the Country chart.
This was nominated for Best Country Album at the 2003 Grammy Awards but lost to Home by the Dixie Chicks.