Recently, Lil Nas X delivered a stunning reimagining of Dolly Parton's classic hit "Jolene" during a performance on BBC Radio One's Live Lounge. With his baritone twang, the Atlanta-raised rapper and singer-songwriter captured the longing and heartache of someone caught in a triangle of love and lust.
"This song is kind of like beautifully sad, you know? I like the little twang, like the country twang in it. So I was like, 'Lemme try this out,'" he told BBC Radio One.
It turns out that Parton herself is a fan of Lil Nas X's rendition.
"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," Parton wrote on social media. "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."
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
Lil Nas X ( Montero Lamar Hill) , who released his debut album Montero on Sept. 17, has been vocal about his love for Parton, even requesting that she take part in a remix of "Old Town Road."
In a 2019 interview, Parton hinted that she'd be interested in recording with the 22-year-old. While she didn't take the opportunity to record "Old Town Road," she hopes to collaborate with Lil Nas X in the future.
"I had an opportunity to be part of that [song]," Parton told Elle in 2019. "But it had done so well with so many people. I thought, 'Well, I'll wait and do something later on. No point in going down that same Old Town Road. We got other roads to travel.'"
Lil Nas X also performed "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," "Dead Right Now" and "That's What I Want" during his appearance.
Parton released "Jolene" in 1973 on her album of the same name. The song has been covered several times over the years by artists such as Miley Cyrus, Olivia Newton-John and The White Stripes. Though Parton has said the song was inspired by a bank teller who developed a crush on her husband, the song title stems from a young fan of Parton's.
"One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl -- she was probably 8 years old at the time," Parton told NPR. "And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. I said, 'Well, you're the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?' And she said, 'Jolene.' And I said, 'Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene.' I said, 'That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I'm going to write a song about that.'"
Lil Nas X's Montero features Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow, Doja Cat and Miley Cyrus, Parton's goddaughter and the famous daughter of "Old Town Road" collaborator Billy Ray Cyrus.