Country People Exclusive

Charles Kelley's Miley Cyrus Cover Will 'Wreck' You

02/01/2016 AT 11:00 AM EST



Now here's a stripped down version of Miley Cyrus that's easy to like!

Charles Kelley's cover of Cyrus' hit song "Wrecking Ball" is slower, grittier – and proof that it's a good tune in any genre.

When his label asked him to do a cover, Kelley, 34, didn't want to go the usual route. "Everybody does the same kind of thing," he tells PEOPLE. "It's like, all right, let's pull out a Tom Petty song or whatever and play it."



So to mix it up a bit, Kelley, whose debut solo album, The Driver, is out Friday, started thinking out of the box.

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"I've always thought that song was one of the best written songs I'd ever heard," he says. "I think Miley does an amazing job on it. I always thought it was an amazing song, no matter what genre it even lived in. Music like that – it just transcends genre. I thought it would catch people off-guard."

Mission accomplished. And Kelley, who's expecting a son with wife Cassie later this month, is pumped for Cyrus to take a listen.

"I hope she hears it, man!" says Kelley. "I really do think she's a great artist. She's known for a lot of her antics, but underneath there, there's definitely a true artist. I think that's one of those songs that is going to be around for a long, long time and it would be cool if she hears it. I hope she digs it."
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