Hear Dwight Yoakam's Twangy Tribute to Prince: A Bluegrass 'Purple Rain'

Billboard

When Dwight Yoakam's new album drops Sept. 23, it will feature a surprising tribute song: the country icon's take on Prince's "Purple Rain."

Alongside 11 reworks of his own tunes, Yoakam's Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars ... will include a bluegrass version of the pop classic. 

The country star shared the cut exclusively with People on Tuesday (listen here), and told the magazine how the twangy cover came to fruition.

Yoakam said he had been planning the album in the spring when he heard the shocking news of Prince's death. The music legend was found dead April 21. An accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl was to blame, according to the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office. 

"The fact that he was found alone at his compound just seemed ... a tragic punctuation to the sense of the loss for millions that he had brought such joy to with his music," Yoakam told People. 

"We were all lamenting it, and I said, 'It just feels like we should record "Purple Rain."' I had always loved the simplistic beauty of that melody and refrain." 

Yoakam got the blessing of Lenny Warnoker, the label executive who signed Prince, then 18 years old, to Warner Bros/Reprise Records.

Of his connection to Prince's original, Yoakam shared: "The first time I heard it, it stopped me in my in car. I thought it spoke volumes about the honest willingness of the person who wrote it to bare his heart to the world through his music. Prince, I never really knew you, but I'm sure going to miss you."