Margo Price Gives “Jolene” An Unexpected, Soulful Twist

YouTube/Paul Ward

It’s a song you’ve heard a thousand times, but never gets old. “Jolene” tells the timeless tale about a wife confronting a stunningly beautiful woman named Jolene, who she believes is trying to steal her husband.

Dolly Parton wrote the song after meeting a young fan at a show 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.'”

She penned the tune about another redhead that had influenced her life, a bank clerk who was getting a little too friendly with her husband, Carl Dean, when they were newly married. She changed the clerk’s name to keep her anonymity and replaced it with Jolene.

According to Parton herself, “Jolene,” which is ranked No. 217 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, is the song most-recorded by other artists of all the songs she’s written. From Olivia Newton John’s disco version to a goth rendition from The Sisters of the Mercy to her goddaughter Miley Cyrus’ folky cover, the song can be performed across all genres and still make perfect sense.

Many country singers have performed the famous tune including Keith Urban, Mindy Smith, Sherrié Austin, but none have sung it quite like up and coming country singer Margo Price. Price came on to the country scene a few years ago and has played with the likes of Grammy nominated singer Sturgill Simpson and Marty Stuart’s longtime guitarist Kenny Vaughan.

While out on her current European tour, Price gave the crowd at the Button Factory in Dublin a treat when she covered one of her idol’s biggest hits. She slowed the song down a bit, and added soul, passion, and incredible vocals.

Fans can see more of her when she returns to the states in February, playing several small venues as well as a few major music festivals including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Stagecoach Festival, and Bonnaroo.

Watch her soulful rendition of “Jolene” below.