B.J. Thomas, the five-time Grammy winner and two-time Dove Award winner, will perform next weekend in Smithfield.
Thomas has found an unusual way to celebrate his half-century in music. He’s released “The Living Room Sessions,” acoustic versions of 12 of his songs.
Thomas recorded many of the songs as duets. Among his “Living Room” guests are pop singer Richard Marx on “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” country singer Vince Gill on “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” bluesman Keb’ Mo’ on “Most of All,” Lyle Lovett on “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” rocker Isaac Slade, lead singer of The Fray, on “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and country singer Steve Tyrell on “Rock and Roll Lullaby.”
“The Living Room Sessions” also includes four solo performances that represent a several-decade swing in Thomas’ career: “Don’t Worry Baby,” a Beach Boys classic first covered by the singer in 1977; “Eyes of a New York Woman,” 1968; “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love,” a No. 1 country hit in 1983; and “Everybody’s Out of Town,” 1970.
While Thomas brings a fresh emotional urgency to each song, he mostly kept the arrangements simple and in line with the original, only varying the melody slightly on a select few, including “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “Don’t Worry Baby” and “Hooked On A Feeling.”
Thomas continues to do 60-80 shows annually throughout the United States, and he tours internationally, everywhere from Australia to and Hong Kong.
Thomas will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday. Nov. 2, in the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium at Johnston Community College, 245 College Road, Smithfield. For advance tickets, which cost $27.50 for adults and $25 for seniors, students and the military, go to www.johnstoncc.edu/performingarts or call 919-209-2099. Tickets at the door will be $30.
Taylor Leopold will open for Thomas. Leopold started off performing at local open mics. She went on to win Clayton Idol in 2010 and the Joco Loco Talent Competition in 2012.
Leopold has two singles on iTunes: “One Is Better Than None,” which was released in 2012, and “Don’t Give Up on Me,” released in 2013.