September 24, 2009 at 05:50 PM EDT

Country up-and-comer Luke Bryan will release his second album, Doin’ My Thing, on October 6th. First single “Do I” (co-written with the seemingly omnipresent duo of Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood) is already on my radio station every 30 minutes or so, but it’s his cover of OneRepublic’s “Apologize” that caught my ear when I put the advance copy of the album on for a spin. It’s that experience of hearing a familiar song out of context that shakes it up — to me, Bryan’s version is even sadder thanks to the mournful twang of its Nashville arrangement, and he sings the stuffing out of it, handing the falsetto with more aplomb than American Idol‘s Kris Allen.

Listen below and then tell us: What do you think, Mixers? How does Bryan’s cover stack up to the original… and the Idol? And who’s looking forward to Doin’ My Thing?

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Photo Credit: Kristen Barlowe

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