Release Date: Mar 27, 2012
Record label: Mercury
Genre(s): Soul, Country, Urban, Adult Contemporary, Funk, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary R&B, Country-Pop, Soft Rock, Smooth Soul, Quiet Storm
Imagine: You walk into a karaoke bar in Nashville and see Lionel Richie singing his cottony R&B hits with a bunch of country stars. Best vacation ever! OK, Rascal Flatts make “Dancing on the Ceiling” feel strained, and Jimmy Buffett doesn’t sound like he really wants to "fiesta forever." But these collaborations jell because Richie's style is so expansive, musically and emotionally; the steel guitar on "You Are" enlarges the song's unabashed gratitude. And when Little Big Town ease sparkling harmonies into "Deep River Woman," everybody in the bar, even Blake Shelton, knows better than to try to top it.
The pop-soul veteran, now 62, has always had country music in his bones: Just ask Kenny Rogers, who took the Richie-penned ”Lady” to No. 1 in 1980, or Conway Twitty, who famously covered ”Three Times a Lady.” (The ladies, Lionel knows.) Yet it’s still gratifying to see how many A-list Nashville stars lined up for guest spots on Tuskegee — Blake! Tim! Shania! Willie! — and to hear how naturally the Alabama native countrifies R&B classics like ”Endless Love” and the Jennifer Nettles-assisted ”Hello.” On a banjo-tastic ”Dancing on the Ceiling,” Richie even out-twangs good ol’ boys Rascal Flatts. A- Best Tracks:Darius Rucker duet Stuck on YouHarmony-laden Deep River Woman .
SPIRITUALIZED“Sweet Heart, Sweet Light”(Fat Possum) There’s so much uncertainty in rock right now. It’s turned into lightweight, flexible material; it’s almost apologizing for itself. It’s mostly become a question, or a proposal. It’s renting space. It can seem as if it might go away ….
The tempos, sentiments and story-telling centres of these songs are perfectly country. Lloyd Bradley 2012 From Tuskegee, Alabama, Lionel Richie was always a county boy at heart: that much was implicit by the narrative-heavy ballads that pepper his back catalogue and the countless countrified covers of Three Times a Lady. Here, his Stetson is truly out of the closet as he gives a collection of his classic numbers a pronounced rural makeover, duet-style as he brings in some of the genre’s biggest names.