The New York Times Reviews Lionel Richie's "Tuskegee"
The New York Times reviewed Lionel Richie's latest album, "Tuskegee."
There are many reasons for the air of inevitability around “Tuskegee,” the sleek, sure-footed new country duets album by Lionel Richie. Start with the mainstreaming of country music, with Nashville’s embrace of soft rock and soaring pop. Then take the demographics: Mr. Richie is 62, with a multigenerational fan base and a durable catalog of hits. Consider too that the all-star duets album is a proven route to career rehabilitation, and that country listeners make up a big chunk of the public that still buys albums.
You could take all of the above into account and begin to see how natural it is that Mr. Richie opened at No. 2 on the pop charts, behind another confoundingly well-preserved agent of reinvention, Madonna. But then you’d be leaving out the influence of reality singing competitions, with their endless reframing of songs across genre lines. If you’ve been watching “The Voice” this season, you’ve seen Mr. Richie pull a shift as a mentor; you’ve also seen Blake Shelton, one of the show’s judges, dispense big-brotherly advice.
Mr. Richie, born and reared in Tuskegee, Ala., has said that making this album felt like coming home. That’s a nod to his Southern roots, but it might just as well refer to the crossover fluidity of a song like “Lady,” the smash he wrote for Kenny Rogers more than 30 years ago. That song arrives near the album’s close, before an amiable “Easy” with Willie Nelson and an obvious “All Night Long” with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band. It’s the old-timer’s corner, and Mr. Richie seems happy there, though he clearly has other designs
For The New York Times' full review, check out NYTimes.Com