Lionel Richie is no stranger to the world of country. He has 'dipped' his feet into the waters a few times over his career. He originally wrote Kenny Rogers' #1 hit, 'Lady' in 1980. Then, as he was at the height of his career, he cracked the top 10 on the country charts again, teaming up with Alabama for 'Deep River Woman.'

Originally 'Tuskegee,' which is named after his hometown in Alabama, was going to be his full fledged dive into the country pool. A new album with all new music. But, as he was going around Nashville talking to today's superstars in country music, they suggested that he dig back into his catalog and rework his hits, with a country feel.

As Lionel was talking with Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and other singers, he found out that they knew his music as well, if not better, than he did. So, he invited them to join him, in what would be a duets album. The only guidance he gave them was, "Make this song your own. Sing it like you would sing it if it was on your album and I was a guest vocalist."

'Tuskegee" is like your favorite pair of sweats. You already know these classic songs, put Lionel & Company put a fresh spin on them. Unlike a lot of today's popular music, it's not over-produced or relying on major studio tricks or music software. The songs sound contemporary, but with a full, rich sound that is missing from some of today's current hits. Songs like, 'Say You, Say Me' featuring Jason Aldean and 'Endless Love' with Shania Twain sound brand new. To be honest, I haven't been able to listen to 'Endless Love' since it originally came out with Diana Ross, because I got burned out on all it's radio play. But, I have already listened to the new version 10 times.


The whole album sounds like a bunch of friends got together and had fun making an album. I'm pressed to pick any specific highlights from the album, since each song is a home run, but 'Deep River Woman' is one that sticks out for me, because of the incredible harmonies with Lionel and Little Big Town. Another of my favorites is 'You Are' with Blake Shelton. Needless to say, Lionel's voice has never sounded better and all the singers' harmonies blend together in perfect harmony.

Do yourself a favor and either rediscover what made Lionel a radio staple of the 80's or discover his music for the first time. I think this will be one of the biggest album of 2012.  The album goes down 'Easy. Easy as Sunday morning."

Give 'Tuskegee' a listen and let me know what you think.

For a different 'perspective' on the album, check out the 'Taste Of Country' review.