The Living Room Sessions (B. J. Thomas album)

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This article is about a B. J. Thomas album . For The Living Room Sessions (2007) by David Grisman, see The Living Room Sessions.
The Living Room Sessions
Cover art for BJ Thomas album, The Living Room Sessions
Studio album by B.J. Thomas
Released April 2, 2013 (2013-04-02)
Recorded 2012
Genre Country pop, soft rock
Length 42:32
Label Wrinkled Records
Producer Kyle Lehning
Singles from The Living Room Sessions
  1. "I Just Can't Help Believing"
    Released: June 3, 2013[1]

The Living Room Sessions (2013) is B.J. Thomas' first "unplugged" album, celebrating fifty years in the recording industry and forty-seven years since his first Gold record (a cover of the Hank Williams song, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"). The Living Room Sessions offers many of Thomas' most recognizable hits, the album was produced to instill the atmosphere of an intimate setting and includes duet performances from some of Thomas' favorite artists.[2]


B.J. Thomas[edit]

Billboard Magazine has ranked B.J. Thomas in the fifty most played artists in the last fifty years.[3] Thomas became the 60th member of The Grand Ole Opry on August 7, 1981, his 39th birthday.[4] Thomas was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Walkway of Stars in 1983.[5]

B.J. Thomas has:

"(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" (1975), written by Larry Butler and Chips Moman, had the distinction of achieving #1 on the The Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Country Songs charts. The song was also nominated Single of the Year, by the Academy of Country Music in 1975.[6]

"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" was featured in the 1969 film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, the song was a #1 hit for Thomas and earned him an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.[4][7] Movie goers became re-acquainted with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" when it was included in the film Spider-Man 2 (2004).[3] The 1969 recording was inducted into the 2014, Grammy Hall Of Fame.[8]


Two time Academy of Country Music Awardnominee Kyle Lehning,[6]:79 produced The Living Room Sessions at Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, Tennessee in 2012. Lehning and Thomas kept the pre-production details simple, realizing that the songs would naturally lend themselves to the acoustic format and trusted the musicians (Lehning and the Nashville “cats”) to deliver the acoustic interpretations with minimal melodic adjustments to the songs.[3]

Lehning and the Nashville “cats”


  • Pre-release of limited-edition, autographed versions of The Living Room Sessions went on sale on March 1, 2013.[9]

Guest appearances[edit]

(Alphabetical order)

Etta Britt[edit]

("New Looks from an Old Lover")
Etta Britt was the first artist invited to sign with Wrinkled Records and released her freshman album, Out of the Shadows in 2012.[10] Britt's behind the scenes work in the music industry includes artists such as Engelbert Humperdinck and REO Speedwagon.[11] In 1978, Britt joined Dave & Sugar, this group was nominated Country Music Association, Vocal Group of the Year, in 1978 and 1979.[12][13] Britt joins Thomas on his 1983, #1 Hot Country Songs hit, "New Looks from an Old Lover", co-written by Gloria Thomas.

Vince Gill[edit]

("I Just Can’t Help Believing")
Vince Gill first hit the Billboard Magazine charts as the front man for Pure Prairie League, the album Can't Hold Back (1979) hit #124 on the Billboard 200. Since that time, Gill has had a successful solo career with twenty Grammy Awards and eleven Country Music Association awards, five of those for Male Vocalist of the Year and two for Entertainer of the Year (1993-1994).[14] Gill is the only artist to win the Male Vocalist award for five consecutive years (1991-1995).[15]

Lyle Lovett[edit]

("Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head")
Lyle Lovett is a multiple Grammy Award winner for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male - Lyle Lovett And His Large Band (1989), Best Country Album - The Road to Ensenada (1996). Additional wins include, Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Blues For Dixie" (1994) and Best Pop Vocal Collaboration for "Funny How Time Slips Away" (1994).[16] Lovett is often noted for his ability to fold Big band and Swing genre music into contemporary hits.[17]

Richard Marx[edit]

("(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song")
Richard Marx is the 2004, Song of the Year, Grammy Award winner, for the Luther Vandross penned "Dance with My Father".[18] Marx has been a regular on the Billboard Magazine charts since 1987, including Billboard Hot 100 number one Singles for: "Hold On to the Nights" (1988), "Right Here Waiting" (1989) and "Satisfied" (1989). Marx hit The Billboard 200 chart again in 2012, with his album Christmas Spirit.[19]

Keb' Mo'[edit]

("Most of All")
Keb' Mo' is the post-modern blues man with three Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Just Like You (1996), Slow Down (1998) and Keep It Simple (2004).[20] In addition to vocals, Keb' Mo' plays guitar, harmonica, banjo, keyboards and is also known to have played steel drums and upright bass. Keb' Mo' was the guitarist on several Papa John Creach albums, credited as Kevin Moore.[21]

Sara Niemietz[edit]

("Hooked on a Feeling")
Sara Niemietz may have been profoundly affected by the work of B.J. Thomas. At the age of four, Sara had approached the stage to experience B.J. Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling" from the front-row. Her presence was not lost on Thomas and he helped Sara on to the stage as she kept singing along. Sara's first encounter with the footlights, and this short duet with B.J. Thomas, was captured on home video and uploaded to Sara's YouTube channel.[22]

Well, that's just incredible, isn't it? What's her name? Sara? Boy, she can really sing. [...] She is so cute, how old is she? Four... and who taught her the words? ...she knows the words to all my songs? I don't know what to say.[22]

B.J. Thomas, March 29, 1997
Since that first duet, Niemietz had become a Broadway and singing phenom. On Broadway, she played a young Carol Burnett in Hollywood Arms at nine years of age, she continued with the Theatre in Los Angeles, landing the role of Patrice in the Los Angeles premiere of the Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish musical, 13 and the supporting role of Polly in Akeelah and the Bee.[23][24]
Niemietz is a prolific vocalist, with four independent records and dozens of professionally mastered music-videos, she works with Emmy Award winner W. G. Snuffy Walden and has made singing appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Richard Marx', A Night Out With Friends on PBS.[25][26]
Thomas was made aware of the existence of the 1997 video and Sara's accomplishments over fifteen years passed, On June 10, 2012, Niemietz and B. J. Thomas were reunited on stage.[27]

Isaac Slade[edit]

("I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry")
Isaac Slade, the lead singer of The Fray, is a pianist, composer and the co-writer with Joe King of the seventh longest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100. "How to Save a Life" (2006), is tied with Santana's "Smooth" (1999) at number seven.[28]

Steve Tyrell[edit]

("Rock and Roll Lullaby")
The implications of Steve Tyrell and B.J. Thomas performing "Rock and Roll Lullaby" together has historical interest. Tyrell managed Thomas and was the original producer on "Rock and Roll Lullaby" (Scepter Records). As a Single, the song was an Adult Contemporary #1 hit and reached #15 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The overall recording is solid, not your standard “Greatest Hits Revisited” package. And surprisingly, you don’t miss the orchestrations that marked the earlier versions—the acoustic instruments more than capably fill in. 
— Bob Paxman, "The Living Room Sessions by B.J. Thomas", Country Weekly, April 2, 2013 [29]
Despite the preponderance of guests -- Steve Tyrell, Etta Britt, and Sara Niemietz also appear, leaving just a third of the album to B.J. himself -- this amiable acoustic album is a showcase for Thomas, who hasn't seemed to lose much vocally, and remains an engaging, friendly presence on record.
— Stephen Thomas Erlewine, "B.J. Thomas The Living Room Sessions: review", Allmusic [30]
The Living Room Sessions is free of gospel. But the album does offer a fair sampling of Thomas' pop and country mastery via hits he had between 1966 and 1983. He enlists Isaac Slade, of the rock band the Fray, to assist him on "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." Gill chimes in on "I Just Can't Help Believing." Keb' Mo' shares the mic on "Most of All."
Marx blends voices with Thomas on "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song." Jazz and pop singer Steve Tyrell joins in on "Rock and Roll Lullaby." Thomas tapped touring and studio singer Etta Britt for the sultry "New Looks From an Old Lover" and newcomer Sara Niemietz for "Hooked on a Feeling." Lovett is the vocally canny accomplice on "Raindrops."
Thomas solos on the remaining four songs: "Don't Worry Baby," "Eyes of a New York Woman," "Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love" and "Everybody's Out of Town."
— Edward Morris, "B.J. Thomas Bows Duet Album of Hits, The Living Room Sessions", CMT News, April 3, 2013 [31]
The Living Room Sessions is recorded in a simple way and very close to the original songs. The instrumentation is phenomenal and the production is outstanding. Vocals? All I can say is B.J. Thomas has aged like a bottle of fine wine--the older he gets, the better he gets—period. For those that remember him from the beginning to the new crowds today, get this album; It’s available this week. You won’t be sorry.
— Pam Stadel, "Digital Rodeo Music Reviews: B.J. Thomas, Mark Cooke, The Mavericks", Digital Rodeo [32]


Primary Artists[edit]



  • Jon Allen - vocal engineer
  • Ryan Carr - overdub engineer
  • Maggie Berry - design
  • Justin Francis - assistant engineer
  • Katie Gillon - art direction
  • Josiah Hendler - vocal engineer
  • Luellyn Latocki Hensley - art direction
  • Jason Lehning - overdub engineer
  • Jordan Lehning - overdub engineer
  • Kyle Lehning - mixing, producer
  • Lisa Proctor - groomer
  • Doug Sax - mastering
  • Kevin Sokolnicki - overdub engineer
  • Angela Talley - photography
  • Casey Wood - engineer



B.J. Thomas The Living Room Sessions (2013) [33]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Don't Worry Baby"   Roger Val Christian, Brian Wilson 4:27
2. "I Just Can't Help Believing" (B.J. Thomas featuring Vince Gill) Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil 3:47
3. "Most of All" (B.J. Thomas featuring Keb' Mo') Buddy Blue, James B. Cobb Jr. 3:46
4. "Eyes of a New York Woman"   Mark James 3:13
5. "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" (B.J. Thomas featuring Richard Marx) Larry Butler, Chips Moman 3:19
6. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (B.J. Thomas featuring Isaac Slade) Hank Williams 3:22
7. "Rock and Roll Lullaby" (B.J. Thomas featuring Steve Tyrell) Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil  
8. "New Looks from an Old Lover" (B.J. Thomas featuring Etta Britt) Hollis R. "Red Lane" DeLaughter, Lathan Hudson, Gloria Thomas 3:27
9. "Whatever Happened Old Fashioned Love"   Lewis Anderson 3:47
10. "Hooked on a Feeling" (B.J. Thomas featuring Sara Niemietz) Mark James 3:00
11. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (B.J. Thomas featuring Lyle Lovett) Burt Bacharach, Hal David 3:00
12. "Everybody's Out of Town"   Burt Bacharach, Hal David 3:34

Popularity of re-released songs[edit]

B. J. Thomas—Chart positions of songs re-released on The Living Room Sessions
Track Song Title [34] Year Hot 100 AC Country
1 "Don't Worry Baby" 1977 #17 #2
2 "I Just Can't Help Believing" 1970 #9 #1
3 "Most of All" 1971 #38 #2
4 "Eyes of a New York Woman" 1968 #28
5 "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" 1975 #1 #1 #1
6 "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" 1966 #8
7 "Rock and Roll Lullaby" 1972 #15 #1
8 "New Looks from an Old Lover" 1983 #1
9 "Whatever Happened Old Fashioned Love" 1983 #93 #13 #1
10 "Hooked on a Feeling" 1969 #5
11 "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" 1969-70 #1 #1
12 "Everybody's Out of Town" 1970 #26 #3

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums[35] 39


  1. ^ "R&R :: Going For Adds :: Country". Radio & Records. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Ward, Jamie (10 January 2012). "B.J. Thomas To Release "The Living Room Sessions" With Special Guests". The Living Room Sessions. Music News Nashville. Retrieved 16 February 2013. "The singer, a five-time Grammy and two-time Dove Award winner who has sold more than 70 million records and is ranked in Billboard’s Top 50 most played artists over the past 50 years, invites longtime fans and newcomers alike into his “living room” for never-heard-before arrangements of his legendary classics" 
  3. ^ a b c d "B.J. THOMAS The Living Room Sessions" (PDF) (Press release). Nashville: Wrinkled Records. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  4. ^ a b James, Gary. "Gary James' Interview With B.J. Thomas". Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Walkway of Stars". REMEMBERING THE WALKWAY OF STARS. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 18 February 2013. "Photos: Sandy Campbell" 
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  10. ^ "Etta Britt". Out of the Shadows. AllMusic. 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Etta Britt". Music City Roots. Retrieved 21 February 2013. "With what she calls a “cool groove record” — her first album for the Wrinkled Records label — Etta stakes her claim as one of the most versatile singers working today." 
  12. ^ "TOP CMA AWARD NOMINEES" (PDF). Dave & Sugar Nominations. Country Music Association. p. 64. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Garrard County". Garrard County Society, Residents, and Births. Garrard County, KY. Retrieved 26 February 2013. "Melissa Prewitt (aka Etta Britt), of Garrard County, was part of the 1970s popstyled country band, Dave & Sugar. The band recorded multiple number one hits and made it to the Billboard country music charts sixteen times." 
  14. ^ "Past Winners". Vince Gill. Grammy Awards. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "VINCE GILL". Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 19 February 2013. "Gill is the only songwriter to win Song of the Year four times. His wins came for “When I Call Your Name” (1991), “Look at Us” (1992), “I Still Believe in You” (1993), and “Go Rest High on That Mountain” (1996)." 
  16. ^ "Lyle Lovett". Past Winners. Grammy Award. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  17. ^ Iwasaki, Scott (25 August 1999). "Lyle Lovett in Concert at Deer Valley Resort". The Deseret News. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "List of Grammy award winners". Dance With My Father. USA Today. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 18 February 2013. "Among winners at the 46th annual Grammy awards: Song of the year: Dance With My Father, Richard Marx and Luther Vandross" 
  19. ^ "Richard Marx". Awards. AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Past Winners". Keb' Mo'. Grammy Award. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Keb' Mo'". Awards. AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  22. ^ a b BJ Thomas and Sara Niemietz (2008-05-25). BJ Thomas & Sara Niemietz singing "Hooked on a Feeling" in 1997. (Video - Requires Flash Player). Wheeling, Illinois: Sara Niemietz on theBJThomas YouTube Channel. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  23. ^ Verini, Bob (2007-01-09). "'13'". Variety (Variety). Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  24. ^ "Akeelah and the Bee (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
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  26. ^ "FRONT ROW CENTER". 109 “Richard Marx: A Night Out with Friends”. American Public Television. Retrieved 30 May 2012. "In this concert, Marx takes us through his legendary career and brings along a few friends including Hugh Jackman, Matt Scannell, and Sara Niemietz." 
  27. ^ BJ Thomas and Sara Niemietz (2012). BJ Thomas and Sara Niemietz / Hooked On a Feeling (Flash) (Video). Temecula, California: B.J. Thomas YouTube Channel. Event occurs at 3:48. Retrieved 17 February 2013. 
  28. ^ "The Fray". Awards. AllMusic. Retrieved 18 February 2013. "GROUP MEMBERS: Joe King, Ben Wysocki, Isaac Slade, Caleb Slade, Dave Welsh, Dan Battenhouse, Mike Ayars" 
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External links[edit]