As his new album Tuskegee spends its second week at number one on the Billboard Country Albums charts, TheFIX caught up with the soul legend to hear about his foray into country music. And to get a father-in-law's perspective on The Voice star and wannabe-Aussie, Joel Madden.
Speaking to us from Hamburg, Germany, Lionel says he's been blown away by the success of his new duets album a collaboration with country music greats including Shania Twain, Willie Nelson and Tim McGraw singing their own interpretations of his hit songs. But he's got his work cut out for him convincing Germans to buy the record!
"My album is doing so well in the States I want to run naked through the streets here in Germany so everybody here can know about it," Lionel jokes. "But they tell me nudity isn't that big a deal here and no one would even care. I guess I'll have to try it when I get back home."
And with that, we're loving Lionel!
Aussies love his son-in-law Joel Madden too, we tell him.
"Joel is just in love with Australia. This is a love affair," Lionel confirms. But he's not happy about Joel's talk of moving to Oz with Nicole and their two kids.
"Every time I talk to him he can't stop raving about how great it is in Australia. I love the place too, but I don't want them to move there," he says. "I keep reminding them how far it is for Granddad to travel to see the grandkids."
He wasn't surprised to hear that Joel is the most popular coach on The Voice, according to a poll on TheFIX. Describing his daughter's husband as "the sweetest guy on earth", he recalls how the love-struck muso proposed to Nicole over and over again before she finally said 'yes'.
"I was more worried for him than I was for her. I kept asking Joel, 'Are you ok?'" says Lionel, adding that his daughter Nicole is a tough cookie who is "set in her ways".
So when can we expect to hear a father and son-in-law duet? "I've been on him to collaborate with me for years," says Lionel. "You watch. I want in on the next album."
They're a talented family alright. Even Nicole and Joel's toddler is already taking after his music-loving dad and grandad. "Sparrow is already in the studio at two years old," says Lionel. "He's amazing."
Lionel was delighted to hear that Mahalia Barnes is competing on The Voice and has chosen Joel as her mentor. Mahalia supported Lionel on his 2007 tour of Australia, and he tells us she has an "incredible voice".
Asked if a reality show is the right place for someone so talented, Lionel tells us, "Absolutely. She has all the talent she needs, she just needed a platform."