The “Montero” artist performed a warm acoustic version of Parton’s Grammy Hall of Fame song “Jolene” on the Sept. 21 episode of BBC Radio 1. Lil Nas X posted the video to Twitter to share with his fans, but his inspiration also caught wind of the cover.
“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, 75, tweeted Wednesday.
Other artists have covered Parton’s 1973 hit including Reba McEntire, The White Stripes and her goddaughter Miley Cyrus. Parton said she was both “honored” and “flattered” by the “Industry Baby” rapper’s performance.
“Of course, I love him anyway. I was surprised and I’m honored and flattered. I hope he does good for both of us,” she added to the tweet.
Lil Nas X also posted the performance to Instagram and got the attention of other artists.
“Love it,” Tamar Braxton wrote.
Lizzo wrote: “That drummer goin brazy.”
Cyrus wrote: “When legends cover legends! 1st Dolly Parton?! And now YOU’RE covering me ?!?!?!”
In November 2019 Parton encouraged fans to make their own covers of “Jolene” with the #JoleneChallenge ahead of her Netflix series “Heartstrings.”
Lil Nas X’s breakout country hit “Old Town Road,” which even got a remix feature from country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, was shunned from Billboard’s country music charts for “not embracing enough elements of today’s country music.” However, the song made enough of an impact anyway that it became eligible for a number of CMA categories in 2019, and earned the now-22-year-old artist two Grammys.
‘Montero’ album review: Lil Nas X proves himself as an innovator in emotionally raw album
His debut studio album “Montero” was released earlier this month and USA TODAY’s music critic Melissa Ruggieri describes it as “a genuine musical progression.”
“The introspection that the openly gay Lil Nas X reveals throughout ‘Montero’ is laudable. So is his willingness to dabble in unadulterated pop, grimy rock and the rap-singing that has so far popularized his career,” Ruggieri writes.
Contributing: Melissa Ruggieri