Mikael Wood
March 23, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tuskegee

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Lionel Richie
music label
82065
genre
Country

We gave it an A-

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 You
Harmony-laden Deep River Woman

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