B.J., Billy Joe headline opera house

Two famous Billy Joes -- Billy Joe Royal and Billy Joe Thomas (better known as B.J. Thomas) -- perform at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Newberry (S.C.) Opera House.


Tickets cost $30 for the matinee and $40 for the evening. Call (803) 276-6264 or order tickets online at newberryoperahouse.com.

Mr. Thomas' bio says his high school baseball coach started calling him B.J., but other sources say he changed his show business name to B.J. because Billy Joe Royal was famous.

The first hit for Mr. Royal, a native of Valdosta, Ga., came in 1964 with Down in the Boondocks, written by fellow Georgian Joe South. Mr. Royal was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1988.

The first hit for Mr. Thomas, a native of Hugo, Okla., came in 1967 with a remake of the Hank Williams' classic I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry .

He went on to score 15 Top 40 pop hits, 10 Top 40 country hits and win five Grammy Awards with a long list of hits including The Eyes Of a New York Woman, Hooked on a Feeling, It's Only Love and his trademark hit Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, popularized by the movie Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid .

There are lots of other bluegrass and country stars heading this way in coming weeks, including:

CHERRY-HOLMES , one of bluegrass music's most popular performing families, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St., $12.50, $17.50, $22.50, (706) 722-8341, imperialtheatre.com.

CRAIG MORGAN (Little Bit of Life), 8 p.m. Friday, The Country Club nightclub, 2834 Washington Road, $25 advance, $30 day of show, (706) 364-1862, augustacountry.com.

JOHN BERRY (Standing On The Edge of Goodbye), performing his Christmas show, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, Imperial Theatre, $27 adults, $20 children, (706) 722-8341, imperialtheatre.com.

CONFEDERATE RAILROAD WITH DANNY SHIRLEY (Trashy Women): Jan. 18, The Country Club nightclub, 2834 Washington Road, no prices posted, (706) 364-1862, augustacountry.com.

JOHN ANDERSON (Just A Swingin'): Jan. 26, The Country Club nightclub, 2834 Washington Road, no prices posted, (706) 364-1862, augustacountry.com.

RONNIE MCDOWELL (Older Women Make Beautiful Lovers), film and TV voice of Elvis Presley, 8 p.m. Feb. 1, Newberry Opera House, $30, (803) 276-6264, newberryoperahouse.com.

TRACE ADKINS (This Ain't No Thinkin' Thing) and JASON MICHAEL CARROLL (Alyssa Lies), 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, University of South Carolina Aiken Convocation Center, 471 University Parkway, $39.75, (803) 643-6900.

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 37 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.