- Personnel: Lionel Richie (keyboards, background vocals); Mac McAnally, Peter Mayer (guitar, background vocals); Ilya Toshinsky, Kenny Greenberg, Willie Nelson, Tom Bukovac (guitar); Dan Dugmore, Doyle Grisham, Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); John Lovell (trumpet); Michael Utley, John Jarvis, Steve Nathan , Gordon Mote (keyboards); Roger Guth, Chad Cromwell (drums); Robert Greenidge (steel drum); Ralph MacDonald (percussion); Chris Rodriguez, Tina Gullickson, Jim Mayer, Nadirah Shakoor, Perry Coleman, Kim Keyes (background vocals).
- Audio Mixer: Chuck Ainlay.
- Recording information: Avatar, New York, NY; Backstage At Sound Stage Studios, Nashville, TN; Ben's Studio, Nashville, TN; Blackbird Studios; Love Shack Recording Studio; OpalOna Studio; Pain In The Art Studios; Sound Emporium Studios; Starstruck Studios; The Grip Studios, Nashville, TN; Westwood Studios, Nashville, TN.
- Photographer: Alan Silfen.
- Lionel Richie's birthplace is Tuskegee, Alabama so for his 2012 country duets album, Tuskegee, he is trumpeted as the country boy returning to his roots. And there's something to that: as a songwriter, Richie has had success on the country charts, scoring big with Kenny Rogers of "Lady," one of many Lionel covers Kenny sang over the years. Rogers' enthusiastic embrace of Richie is an indication that the former Commodore's definition of country isn't quite down-home, and Tuskegee proves that assumption true, with each of Lionel's partners coming from the pop side of Nashville. A few perennials crop up -- Kenny comes in for a revival of "Lady," Willie Nelson stops by to lay some guitar and vocals on "Easy" -- but the point of the album is as much to have current stars pay tribute to Richie as it is to ease him onto country-pop airwaves. Tuskegee winds up being fairly successful in this regard. No matter how many fiddles and steel guitars are added -- and there are never too many -- the songs are never so altered as to be unrecognizable, the melodies are always proudly prominent, and there isn't a speck of dirt to be found anywhere, so it's suited for any clean crossover occasion. Apart from Pixie Lott -- a singer who has absolutely nothing to do with country -- popping up on the international version of the album and maybe the revival of the recent "Just for You," there are no surprises on Tuskegee; even the partners match up correctly, with Jimmy Buffett adding good times to "All Night Long," Shania Twain playing the Diana Ross role on "Endless Love," Rascal Flatts forcefully pumping out the good cheer on "Dancing on the Ceiling," Blake Shelton smiling along on "You Are." Even if the production has changed -- it's not as glossy as the '80s, there are fewer keyboards and more guitars-the sensibility remains the same, so Tuskegee generates a bit of dj vu: the surroundings are new, yet everything feels familiar. Whether that's a comfortable bit of nostalgia or just a shade too predictable depends entirely on the tastes of the listener. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rolling Stone (p.72) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hese collaborations jell because Richie's style is so expansive, musically and emotionally..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.73) - "[It's] gratifying to see how many A-list Nashville stars lined up for guest spots here...and to hear how naturally the Alabama native countrifies R&B classics like 'Endless Love'..." -- Grade: A-