Lionel Richie goes country with Tuskegee, but he's been here before. For those with short memories, he embarked on numerous collaborations in the 1980s with Kenny Rogers, who "went pop" with Richie's song "Lady."
This collection of strategic duets features Ritchie trading notes with The Voice coach Blake Shelton ("You Are"), arena country rocker Jason Aldean ("Say You, Say Me"), and aging outlaw Willie Nelson ("Easy").
Such is the state of contemporary country music, and the enduring popularity of the Quiet Storm radio format, that Richie doesn't sound out of place among such company as Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, and Shania Twain. His confident, honeyed delivery suits the straightforward arrangements, which prescribe the same dose of pedal steel throughout.
For those who were never fans of Richie's Teflon-smooth productions, Tuskegee will be a good deal more palatable than the songs' original R&B incarnations. For longtime listeners, however, the album will serve as little more than a revamped greatest hits collection.
About the Title
Lionel Richie was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and attended college at the famed Tuskegee Institute.
Lionel Richie on the Album
"I've always felt right at home in country because I was raised just down the road from Nashville in Tuskegee, Alabama, where I was immersed in country, R&B, gospel and classical music," Richie told Reuters in the lead-up to the album's release.
Different Versions of Tuskegee
Just when you thought it was "easy like Sunday morning," it gets complicated. The edition of Tuskegee released to Europe features several different duets than the U.S. version. "Sail On" is sung with Swedish country singer Jill Johnson rather than Tim McGraw, and "Say You, Say Me" is sung with Danish crooner Rasmus Seebach instead of Jason Aldean.
The European version also features one extra track: "Angel," featuring English songstress Pixie Lott.
Best Songs on Tuskegee
- "Deep River Woman"
- "Stuck on You"
Track List for Tuskegee
- "You Are" featuring Blake Shelton
- "Say You, Say Me" featuring Jason Aldean
- "Stuck on You" featuring Darius Rucker
- "Deep River Woman" featuring Little Big Town
- "My Love" featuring Kenny Chesney
- "Dancing on the Ceiling" featuring Rascal Flatts
- "Hello" featuring Jennifer Nettles
- "Sail On" featuring Tim McGraw
- "Endless Love" featuring Shania Twain
- "Just for You" featuring Billy Currington
- "Lady" featuring Kenny Rogers
- "Easy" featuring Willie Nelson
- "All Night Long" featuring Jimmy Buffett and Coral Reefer Band
Release date: March 5, 2012