Lil Nas X Delivers Intriguing Cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ Sounds Like Nashville
Appearing on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge Tuesday (September 21), the singer behind the controversial hip-hop meets country hit, “Old Town Road” (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), delivered a moving performance of Parton’s “Jolene.”
Treating the 1973 country classic with reverence and his patented sense of genre-busting intrigue, the hit maker was on the show to mark the release of his album debut, Montero. And although “Jolene” doesn’t appear on the project, his performance shows the Atlanta hitmaker is still fascinated by country.
Using a deep vocal with a hit a growl and gentle instrumentation, his “Jolene” cover is basically the opposite of “Old Town Road” and it’s thumping country-trap beats. That track sparked a questions of over its country-ness when it was initially declared “not country enough” for Billboard’s country charts, but adding Cyrus to the track helped change the perception. It eventually broke records as the longest serving Billboard’s Hot 100 Number One and won some country awards, but with “Jolene,” Lil Nas X’s country cred will go unquestioned. During the show, he explained that the song reached out to him.
“This song is kind of, like, beautifully sad, you know?” he said, according to reporting from Billboard. “I like the little twang, like the country twang in it. So I was like, ‘Lemme try this out.’”
Montero, the full length album debut from Lil Nas X, is titled after the singer’s real name — Montero Lamar Hill. While on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, the singer also performed tracks like “That’s What I Want,” “Dead Right Now” and the title track, “Montero (Cal Me By Your Name).”