Charles Kelley hails his home state in a new rendition of “Georgia on My Mind,” which appears in an ESPN commercial leading up to this year’s Masters golf tournament.
The Masters tournament takes place in Charles’ hometown, Augusta, adding extra meaning to his performance. “Growing up in Augusta I have been going to the Masters for as long as I can remember, so this was a special full-circle moment for me,” the singer notes.
"Georgia on My Mind" dates back to 1930, but it’s most closely associated with Ray Charles -- another Georgia native -- who released it as part of his The Genius Hits the Road album in 1960. Ray is best known as a blues, soul and pop singer, but he’s got strong country ties, too, thanks to his 1962 Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year.
“No one can sing this song like Ray Charles,” Charles acknowledges, “but I hope I did him justice and I can’t wait to get back home and experience the Masters in person.”
Charles is also an avid golfer who multiple tournaments as a preteen before his focus shifted to music. But he still loves to unwind on the golf course, especially with fellow country stars like Darius Rucker and Jake Owen.
This year’s Masters tournament will begin on April 7.