Lionel Richie Misses By Country Mile On Tuskegee
Lionel Richie. Country album. What would be four words that are typically not associated with one another, Alex? The prospects for such a record are typically hit or miss. The musician either strikes gold with a new direction for his music or takes a big swing and miss at a new genre. For Richie’s latest record, Tuskegee, the pop singer’s star-studded country foray was a bit of a misadventure as the LP seemed to be more “Lionel Richie sings country” than a pure country record.
His first record since 2009’s Just Go, Richie enlisted a series of well-known country acts for Tuskegee: Willie Nelson, Kenny Rodgers, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw. The career spanning track list contained some of his biggest commercial numbers, “Easy” and “All Night Long,” including a fresh take on “Lady,” which Richie originally penned for Rodgers in 1980.
The record, comprised of 13 countrified slants on songs from Richie’s catalog, is a tad disappointing from what could have been an intriguing concept. The idea of taking on a new genre was certainly interesting. Richie singing his former chart toppers with Nashville’s Top 40, however, turned out to be a bit shallow. Instead, more original tracks might have better served the idea. Of the thirteen tracks, not too much stands out as a terrific reformation, although the original concepts behind the songwriting remain strong enough that it might be a keener purchase for more devout aficionados than casual fans.
Richie’s brief Tuskegee Tour 2012 will start on September 24 in Dublin, Ireland as part of a European run of shows. Tuskegee is available as a digital download and deluxe cd/dvd edition.
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