Country legend Kenny Rogers is among the special guests scheduled to appear with Lionel Richie during the latter’s showcase performance tonight at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. The annual music conference and festival kicks off tonight (the companion SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film festivals are already in progress) and runs through this weekend.
Rogers will appear with Richie at the Billboard showcase at ACL Live, to perform the Richie-penned song “Lady,” which was a major hit for Rogers three decades ago.
“The first time I heard ‘Three Times a Lady,’ ‘Still,’ and all of those incredible Commodore songs,” Rogers told Billboard, “I knew there was a connection between R&B music and country music, so I tracked Lionel down and brought him to Vegas,” Rogers says. “He played me a small part of ‘Lady,’ and I fell in love with that song and his writing at that point.”
Rogers is also among the guests appearing on Richie’s upcoming duets album, Tuskegee, which is scheduled for release on March 26. The album will also feature, among others, country singers Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and Jason Aldean.
Working with young, up-and-coming acts and attracting a new audience of potential fans was Richie’s main cause for making his inaugural trip to Austin.
“It’s so great to be a part of a festival that for two decades has helped launch the careers of some important new artists and celebrates iconic artists who have had a lasting impact on the musical landscape,” Richie told Billboard. “I’m looking forward to checking out some of the new bands that I’ve been reading about for the last several months and making some new friends who share my passion for music.”
Austin’s annual South By Southwest festivals and conferences covering music, interactive media, and film are running this year from March 9 to 18.
– Kurt Wolff, CBS Local