An album of Lionel Richie covering his song with a gaggle of country artists might be a little on the lazy side, but from a marketing standpoint, it’s an excellent idea…and something Lionel should have done ten years ago. Better late than never, I suppose.

Lionel’s southern roots lend themselves well to country…I mean, how much more ‘Bama can you get than Tuskegee, right? Of course, Lionel’s dipped his pinky toe in that genre many times over the years. From his early days with The Commodores (“Easy”) to writing a sea of hits for Kenny Rogers (including “Lady and “Through The Years”) to recording “Deep River Woman” with Alabama, Lionel’s always had an affinity for the cowboy hat side of things.

The first single from his Tuskegee project is a version of his biggest hit, “Endless Love,” (10 weeks at #1 in the summer of ’81) with Shania Twain, who’s slowly wading back into the industry fray after being gone for quite some time. It’s a pleasant enough duet-Lionel sounds good, even though there’s some kind of processing that happens to Shania’s voice in post-production that always makes her sound borderline-cyborg. She is radiant in the video, though. The clip was shot in the Bahamas, which doesn’t exactly scream “country music” but makes for a very pretty visual.

Tuskegee is in stores this coming Monday.

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