Lionel Richie has gone country! Well, actually, from the very beginning, many of the Tuskegee, Ala., native’s songs have been rooted in country rhythms and themes. Just consider his classics “Sail On” and “Easy,” recorded by the Commodores, as well as “Lady,” which was a hit for country superstar Kenny Rogers. Richie totally embraces that country influence when CBS broadcasts “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends — In Concert” at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 13.
The two-hour special will feature country music collaborations with Richie, featuring duets from his upcoming album titled “Tuskegee,” along with solo performances. Some of Richie’s greatest hits will be performed by today’s hottest country artists, including Jason Aldean, who interprets “Say You, Say Me,” Richie’s Academy Award-winning composition from the feature film “White Nights.”
Other performers include The Band Perry (“Penny Lover”), Luke Bryan (“Running with the Night”), Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum (“Truly”), Martina McBride (“Still”), Jennifer Nettles (“Hello”) and Rascal Flatts (“Dancing on the Ceiling”). Duets with Richie include “My Love,” with Kenny Chesney; “Sail On,” with Tim McGraw and “Lady,” with Kenny Rogers.
“It has been so rewarding to have my songs embraced by country music artists,” said Lionel Richie. “Since Conway Twitty recorded ‘Three Times a Lady’ and Kenny Rogers sang ‘Lady,’ I have been welcomed into the country music family with open arms. It’s the ultimate compliment to have country artists record and perform songs that I’ve written. I’ve always felt right at home in country because I was raised just down the road from Nashville in Tuskegee, Alabama, where I was immersed in country, R&B, gospel and classical music. This show will be a homecoming and family reunion combined, and I’m so glad that viewers will be able to share these special moments with us. It will be a night that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
During the course of an amazing career which started at Tuskegee Institute as the front man for funk band the Commodores, Richie, a four-time Grammy winner has earned sales of more than 100 million albums, 22 Top Ten hits, and a Golden Globe. The prolific producer/songwriter is responsible for such timeless hits as “Endless Love,” “Three Times a Lady,” “Jesus Is Love,” “All Night Long,” “Just to Be Close to You” and “Zoom,” as well as “We Are the World,” written in collaboration with the late Michael Jackson.
“We’re honored to bring together the industry’s greatest artists with Lionel’s legendary sound for what will be a once-in-a lifetime concert,” said Orly Adelson, president of dick clark productions and executive producer of the special.