Is it any wonder that Lil Nas X covered Dolly Parton? It’s probably only a surprise that it took this long.
Fresh from finally releasing his debut album Montero, the star covered Parton’s iconic 1973 hit while popping by the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. He also performed two tracks from his new record, ‘Dead Right Now’ and ‘That’s What I Want’.
And for the rapper who had his breakout with a country-adjacent anthem, it’s only fitting that he’s now taken on one of the genre’s greatest tracks. Parton is also a Lil Nas fan, having told Elle in 2019 that she hoped to work with him on a project in the future after passing on ‘Old Town Road’. (Intriguingly, Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus features on the last track on Montero).
“I had an opportunity to be part of that (song), but it had done so well with so many people,” she said back then. “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.'”
Singing into an appropriately rhinestone-enshrined microphone, Lil Nas delivers his version of ‘Jolene’ in his deep baritone with aplomb. He keeps his emotions in check, his delivery not rising in the manner that Parton’s or even Jack White’s did. He plays it slow and sultry, looking straight at the camera.
His version puts a queer spin on the heartbroken ode to love, continuing his subversion of country music that started all the way back with ‘Old Town Road’.
The much-anticipated Montero was released on September 17th and has been collecting strong reviews for its powerful queer representation and potent mixture of hip hop and pop.
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