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The voice behind classic songs such as “Stuck on You” and “Lady,” Lionel Richie will take the stage with Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Little Big Town during the Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 9), and the pop singer says he’ll be recreating some of the musical magic that happened in the recording studio when he was making his new album. “We’re just showing off,” Lionel tells CountryWeekly.com.
He’ll perform “Dancing on the Ceiling” with Rascal Flatts, “Deep River Woman” with Little Big Town and “Stuck on You” with Darius. This isn’t Lionel’s first appearance on the CMA Awards stage; he performed “Lady” with Kenny Rogers in 1984; two years later, Lionel sang “Deep River Woman” with Alabama.
Lionel says the chemistry between the artists in the studio was instant, given that the artists had long been covering his songs in concert. Lionel recalls of recording “Stuck On You” with Darius Rucker, “Darius walked in the studio and I made the first mistake by giving him a lyric sheet. He said, ‘What’s this for?’
“I said, ‘Well, just so you’ll know the lyrics,’ and he said, ‘Lionel, I’ve been singing this song all my life.’”
Lionel sings with not only Darius, Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town on his upcoming album, Tuskegee, but Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw and Kenny Rogers also make appearances on the album.
For Lionel, the duets go far beyond a casual collaboration; for him these duets are a celebration of artistry. “I joined Little Big Town,” he says. “I’m their new member and I’m the new member of Rascal Flatts. Darius and I are now Sam and Dave, you know? What I love is that we joined each other’s groups. You’ll see probably more fun and more winking onstage at the CMAs. . . . Notice how we look at each other. The smiles on our faces are because we had so much fun recording these songs in the studio. This is the reunion for us.”