Kelly Clarkson is pondering the Peach State. In the latest edition of Kellyoke, The Kelly Clarkson Show‘s live music cover series, the three-time Grammy winner got in touch with her southern roots for a soulful cover of Ray Charles‘ Great American Songbook classic “Georgia on My Mind.”
Spotlighted on stage in front of her band Y’all, Clarkson’s flexible vocals were on full display throughout her performance. Whether it was the organ-pitched keyboard, the electric guitar counter melodies or the “Stronger” singer’s added riffs and note changes, the soulfulness floating between each performer was nearly palpable.
“Other arms reach out to me, other eyes smile tenderly,” she sang before adding a wildly impressive, atmosphere-reaching riff on “Still in peaceful dreams I see, the road leads back to you.”
Originally written and recorded by Hoagy Carmichael 1930, the song’s most famous version was sung by Charles for his 1960 album The Genius Hits the Road. A native of Georgia himself, Charles’ cover — which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for one week the year it was released — was later named the state’s official song in 1979.
Clarkson’s new cover isn’t the first time she’s tackled a Ray Charles classic on Kellyoke, for which she most recently performed “Smoky Mountain Rain” By Ronnie Milsap and “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette. Back in 2020, she honored Veteran’s Day with a patriotic rendition of the singer’s “America the Beautiful,” a song first composed in the 1800s that Charles popularized in 1976 with his soulful version.
Watch Kelly Clarkson perform Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” below: