With a career spanning nearly 40 years and more than 100 million albums sold, Lionel Ritchie has proven himself to be a legend in the world of music. With timeless hits ranging from “Brick House” to “Three Times a Lady,” Ritchie continues to set a standard that remains untouched.
With his latest album release “Tuskegee,” his first country duet album, Ritchie has broken the barrier between musical genres R&B and country. Released last week, the album has sold more than 125,000 copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, throwing Adele’s album “21” off its 24-week No. 1 spot.
The 13-track album is marinated with country music royalty. Trailblazers such as Kenny Rogers (Lady), Willie Nelson (Easy), Jimmy Buffet (All Night Long) and Shania Twain (Endless Love) all come together, lending their voices to Ritchie’s timeless hits. Joined also by rookie artists such as Darius Rucker (Stuck On You), Kenny Chesney (My Love) and Blake Shelton (You Are), Ritchie has drawn the attention of the younger generation of fans.
Both young and old, fans across the world are delighted to hear the collaboration of such great artists.
“I think anything Lionel Ritchie touches is automatically gold,” said Barbara McGriff, a retired Leon County schoolteacher. “I can go all the way back to the Commodore days, when he had me ‘juking’ in the club to ‘Zoom’ and ‘Brick House.’ I’ve been a fan from the beginning and will remain one until the end. I know this album will be no different than the rest.”
Starting the album with a collaborated duet of his 1983 classic hit, “You Are,” with country newbie, Blake Shelton, Ritchie brings a more Southern twang to what was once an R&B treasure originally written for his then wife, Brenda Harvey.
A featured duet with Shania Twain, performing “Endless Love”, which was originally recorded with Ritchie and musical diva, Diane Ross, has been called the greatest song duet of all time, according to Billboard. Though Twain had big shoes to fill, she easily adjusted to the rhythmic demurs of the R&B staple song and made it her own.
“Not many can touch that song,” said Tyneisha Gaines, a third-year pharmacy student from Jacksonville, Fla.
“My parents got married to that song, so it’s been a constant resonance in my ear since birth. To hear Shania Twain, a country artist, cover this piece was at first weird, but as I continued to listen, the chills began to rise–proving that their collaboration is indeed magical.”
Though contemporary fans will have to do some research on the various artists, the album promises to delight audiences of all ages.
New listeners will be exposed to the genius of true musical talent Lionel Ritchie, while older fans will be able to reminisce on times filled with magical moments and unforgettable events. All in all, “Tuskegee” promises to deliver the true sound of county music mixed with the best of R&B.