Imagine: You walk into a karaoke bar in Nashville and see Lionel Richie singing his cottony R&B hits with a bunch of country stars. Best vacation ever! OK, Rascal Flatts make “Dancing on the Ceiling” feel strained, and Jimmy Buffett doesn’t sound like he really wants to "fiesta forever." But these collaborations jell because Richie's style is so expansive, musically and emotionally; the steel guitar on "You Are" enlarges the song's unabashed gratitude. And when Little Big Town ease sparkling harmonies into "Deep River Woman," everybody in the bar, even Blake Shelton, knows better than to try to top it.
• Photos: Random Notes