Kenny Rogers’ first posthumous album detailed

Life Is Like A Song was curated by his widow

Life Is Like A Song, a stunning and emotional new song cycle, featuring previously unreleased gems and coveted rarities performed by the legendary Kenny Rogers, telling the story of the love, life, loss, and faith between Rogers and his family, will be released June 2nd via UMe. The collection, comprising songs from Rogers’ archives that were deeply personal to him, will be available on CD and 2 LP as well as digitally. The project marks the first new non-Christmas studio album by Rogers in 10 years and the only non-compilation/non-reissued full-length album to be released on vinyl since 1991.

Curated and executive produced by the late Country Music Hall of Famer’s widow, Wanda Rogers, the project features eight never-before-heard recordings, spanning 2008-2011, and showcases Rogers’ range through an array of original material and covers, including interpretations of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” and Lionel Richie’s “Goodbye,” as well as the artist’s long-sought-after duet with Dolly Parton, “Tell Me That You Love Me.” A digital deluxe edition includes two bonus tracks — a cover of the Mack Gordon/Henry Warren standard, “At Last” (made famous by Etta James), and the Buddy Hyatt-penned original, “Say Hello to Heaven.”

“I think the record is fabulous, and it is going to make Kenny so proud,” states Wanda Rogers. “These songs are such a beautiful reminder of his love ‘for the feelings a song can make’ for a person. He would often say that he wanted his songs to be ‘what every man wants to say, and every woman wants to hear.’ I think there are a lot of those moments on this album. This is a very special record to me and our family because it really tells the story of our life together, and I feel his fans will also relate to it in a big way because it walks the listener through the seasons of life that we all experience in one way or another. There is joy, there is love, there is family, there is uncertainty, there is pain, there is faith… it’s emotional and real. This is the kind of music Kenny loved to make.”

Fans can stream two selections from the album that showcase the many sides of Rogers’ artistry and the breadth of these recordings. Album opener “Love Is A Drug” is a hard-driving, fist-pumping country rock anthem co-written by Rogers’ longtime musical partner and former New Christy Minstrels bandmate, Kim Carnes. On the other end of the spectrum is the Motown classic, “I Wish It Would Rain,” originally made a hit by The Temptations. Brought to life with new instrumentation by celebrated producer Kyle Lehning and in-demand musician/producer Viktor Krauss, who together oversaw Rogers’ recording, the ballad harkens back to Rogers’ classic soft rock era.

The centerpiece of the album is the unreleased treasure, “Catchin’ Grasshoppers,” a deeply personal ode to Rogers’ twin sons with Wanda Rogers, Justin and Jordan. Written by Laura McCall Torno and Earl Torno, with production work by Rogers and Randy Dorman (a member of Rogers’ band, Bloodline, since the 1970s), the moving tune finds Rogers reveling in the quiet, precious memories made with his young children, now aged 18. Rogers sings, “Years from now I won’t remember this day/I won’t recall the field/But I’ll remember my children’s eyes/Lighting up like stars when they were five/Yes, I’ll remember/Catchin’ grasshoppers.”

Similarly, “Straight Into Love,” a duet with Australian country star Jamie O’Neal, helmed by award-winning producer Brent Maher, a veteran of Rogers’ productions, speaks to cherishing time together with the one you love.

Another duet on the album pairs Rogers with his longtime friend, collaborator, and fellow icon, Dolly Parton. The duo, who began their chart-topping musical partnership with 1983’s “Islands In the Stream,” reunited in the studio in the mid-aughts to record “Tell Me That You Love Me.” Helmed by veteran producer and record exec Tony Brown (George Strait, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire), the song originally appeared on a 2009 compilation. Long out-of-print, a never-before-released, remixed version of the rarity will now be available on digital platforms and vinyl for the very first time, as well as on CD for the first time in this form.

Those sessions with Brown also spawned Rogers’ rendition of “Goodbye,” written by another good friend and frequent collaborator, Lionel Richie. The emotional song, which closes the album, offers fans a particularly poignant ending. The song has long been a fan favorite after first appearing on the same, aforementioned 2009 anthology; following Rogers’ death in 2020 at the age of 81 it became a comforting musical balm. A touching lyric video for the song was played at Rogers’ memorial in 2022.

Rogers also delivers a standout take on Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” The song features a newly recorded music bed, courtesy of Lehning (whose credits for Rogers span more than 40 years) and Krauss. Backed by an acoustic guitar, Rogers makes this classic ballad his own, while Lehning and Krauss bolster Rogers’ performance with gentle orchestration.

“Am I Too Late,” written by Larry Keith and Jim Hurt, is one of Rogers’ self-proclaimed favorite songs of all time. Originally cut for Rogers’ 1977 hit album, Daytime Friends, the song is reimagined here as a duet with powerhouse vocalist Kim Keyes (Billy Joel, Amy Grant, Peter Cetera). “That’s Love To Me,” penned by Gary Burr and Jim Photoglo, is a beautiful quintessential Kenny Rogers love song. In the cinematic Legrand/Demy/Gimbel composition, “I Will Wait For You,” Rogers’ impassioned vocals shine: “Forevermore, I will wait for you/The clock will tick away the hours, one by one/Then the time will come when all the waiting’s done/The time when you return and find me here and run straight to my waiting arms.”

The tracks on Life Is Like A Song feature production from a whole host of producers and co-producers, including Rogers himself, Tony Brown, Viktor Krauss, Kyle Lehning, and Brent Maher, as well as members of Rogers’ longtime band, Bloodline: Randy Dorman, Steve Glassmeyer (on the deluxe edition), Warren Hartman, and Chuck Jacobs. The album was executive produced by Wanda Rogers, Ken Levitan, and Jason Henke.

CD | 2 LP

1. Love Is A Drug
2. I Wish It Would Rain
3. Am I Too Late (with Kim Keyes)
4. Tell Me That You Love Me (with Dolly Parton)
5. Straight Into Love (with Jamie O’Neal)
6. Wonderful Tonight
7. Catchin’ Grasshoppers
8. That’s Love To Me
9. I Will Wait For You
10. Goodbye

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: