Coming off the Friday release of his debut album, Lil Nas X metaphorically donned his cowboy hat for a cover of Dolly Parton’s country classic “Jolene” for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. Watch the “Old Town Road” hitmaker’s take on Parton’s signature song below.
Putting his singing chops on full display, Lil Nas delivered his version of “Jolene” while backed by a full band. He performed the track into a bedazzled microphone perched atop a microphone stand adorned in flowers and a single butterfly — the latter likely a nod to Dolly’s symbol.
In February 1974, “Jolene” topped the very same Billboard Hot Country Songs chart from which Lil Nas X’s breakthrough hit “Old Town Road” was unceremoniously booted in 2019 for not being “country” enough. Parton was one of the many artists who co-signed the record-breaking single, and even teased hopping on a remix after Nas X tweeted about recruiting her for a new version of the track.
Lil Nas rounded out his set with rousing performances of his Montero cuts “That’s What I Want” and “Dead Right Now.” The album is notable for the 22-year-old artist opening himself up to the world, and his Live Lounge set reflects how freeing it was for Nas X to fully express himself.
Update, September 29th: Dolly Parton herself has responded to Lil Nas X’s “Jolene” cover. “I had to find it and listen to immediately,” the country icon tweeted. “And it’s really good. Of course, I love him anyway. I was surprised and I’m honored and flattered. I hope he does good for both of us.”
I was so excited when someone told me that Lil Nas X had done my song #Jolene. I had to find it and listen to it immediately…and it's really good. Of course, I love him anyway. I was surprised and I'm honored and flattered. I hope he does good for both of us. Thank you @LilNasX https://t.co/w7vJWGypOp
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) September 29, 2021