Ashley Monroe and Ruston Kelly Cover 'Love Hurts' on Her New EP: 'Love How We Sound Together'

Ashley Monroe says "all the emotion in these songs just hits harder now" following her cancer diagnosis

If you're looking for a new song to add to your heartbreak playlist, Ashley Monroe and Ruston Kelly have got it covered.

The country stars, along with producer Tyler Cain, have teamed up for a cover of the Everly Brothers' "Love Hurts," which PEOPLE is premiering exclusively.

The track is one of five songs Monroe, 34, and Cain recorded together as part of an upcoming EP called The Covers, which will be released on Wednesday.

The singer tells PEOPLE that she has known Kelly, 33, for several years after the two wrote a few songs together, and was moved to invite him to hop on a track with her.

"We rekindled our friendship flame earlier this year and I love how we sound together so I just asked him to do one of these covers with me," she explains, adding that "Love Hurts" was Kelly's choice.

Ashley Monroe Debuts New Song with Ruston Kelly
Ashley Monroe; Ruston Kelly. Electra King; getty

Though Monroe began work on the EP before she was diagnosed with blood cancer in July, she finished it after her diagnosis, something she says has influenced just what the project means to her.

"I hear all the lyrics differently now," she says. "All the emotion in these songs just hit harder now. I remember on one of the days we recorded, I came in and had just gotten off the phone with my doctor telling me I was still severely anemic. I remember thinking that day, 'I should never have taken my health for granted.' Little did I know the news that was coming. Sometimes on days when the chemo has me in bed all day, I listen to these covers and feel so much joy."

Ashley Monroe
Ashley Monroe. Courtesy Ashley Monroe

The idea for the EP came while the Pistol Annies singer and Cain, who have been friends for 15 years, were hanging out at his studio discussing their favorite songs.

"I said we should just film ourselves recording some of our favorite songs on earth, the ones that make us feel better," she recalls. "Maybe it will help other people too."

The EP's four other tracks are "Don't Worry Baby," "Every Breath You Take," "More Than Words" and "Everything I Do," which features Brittney Spencer.

"The project began out of a shared love for these songs," Cain tells PEOPLE. "There's just something magical about taking classic songs that we've listened to for most of our lives and stripping them down to just vocals and a guitar."

Tyler Cain publicity photo: - Jonathan Dale
Tyler Cain. Jonathan Dale

For Monroe, the project also served as a therapeutic outlet during her cancer treatments.

She was diagnosed in July with Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM), a rare type of blood cancer, after routine blood work found she was anemic several months earlier.

"It's causing my body to be pretty severely anemic, and I feel it," she wrote on Instagram in a post announcing her diagnosis. "I start chemo tomorrow. Seems like such a negative thing to say. Until I flip that doom feeling on its head and think, wow, I'm thankful I have an illness that is VERY live with-able. I'm thankful there IS a treatment that actually works to fight what is causing harm to my body."

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