Country Beat: B.J. Thomas, John Hiatt, Austin Lounge Lizards …

'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' singer hits 70 million sales.

B.J. Thomas was honored at Saturday’s (July 8) Grand Ole Opry show with a plaque marking 70 million in album sales. Thomas may be best known for the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” from the Academy Award-winning movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” …

Prominent Nashville resident John Hiatt is finishing an acoustic album, Crossing Muddy Waters, due Sept. 26 on Vanguard. The album simultaneously will be released online, at emusic.com, and in stores. Eric Clapton and B.B. King are riding high with their release of Hiatt’s song “Riding With the King” (RealAudio excerpt), the title cut of their new album. …

The Austin Lounge Lizards, Trout Fishing in America and Tony Trischka are among Americana, folk and roots-music artists slated for the third annual Bean Blossom Jam Fest, a spin-off of the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, which, in its 34th year, is the longest-running such event in the world. Robin and Linda William, Crucial Smit, the Burns Sisters, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe and Blue & Lonesome will also appear at the fest, July 28–29 in Bean Blossom, Ind. In addition to the Bluegrass Festival (held in June) and the Jam Fest, Bean Blossom also hosts a Gospel Jubilee, Aug. 18–20. …

Wilco, Joe Tex, Floyd Cramer and Joe Henry are among artists tapped for the Mammoth soundtrack for the quirky upcoming flick “Jesus’ Son.” …

Andy Griggs‘ debut album, You Won’t Ever Be Lonely, has been certified gold. …

Bike enthusiasts Montgomery Gentry are set to perform with the Marshall Tucker Band and ride during Bike Week, in Sturgis, S.D., Aug. 7–9. …

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America will bestow its Silver Buffalo Award on Louise Mandrell for having raised more than $1 million for the organization. The award, which acknowledges extraordinary service to youths, will be presented to the singer Tuesday (July 11) at the Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. …

Singer/songwriter Kim Richey‘s June 26 concert, recorded at the New Orleans House of Blues, will be video cybercast at 9 p.m. EDT July 16 on the HOB Web site (www.hob.com). Richey’s performance featured the Continental Drifters backing her on such songs as “Come Around,” from her latest release Glimmer. The concert will be re-broadcast on www.hob.com at 6 p.m. PDT on Aug. 17. …

Faith Hill‘s VH1 “Behind the Music” feature will air July 23. (Sonicnet.com’s parent company, Viacom, also owns VH1.) …

Wynonna will appear alongside Macy Gray, TLC‘s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Missy Elliott in a photo essay titled “Women of Music” for the September issue of Interview magazine. The project marks the first still shoot for director Hype Williams, who has shot videos for these female artists and such others as Will Smith and No Doubt. Wynonna is the only Nashville artist out of the 12 women included in the essay. …

Twelve-year-old country singer Billy Gilman will appear on the “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Tuesday (July 11). …

Bloodshot Records is repackaging classics from 1930s and ’40s western swing pioneer Hank Penny. Thirty previously unreleased cuts, including his trademark song “Little Red Wagon,” will be released on Crazy Rhythm as part of the label’s revival series on July 18. …

Liquid Audio is providing free downloads for select live performances from Telluride Bluegrass Festival. For a limited time, fans can choose selections from Lonesome River Band, Jesse Winchester, Tim O’Brien and Judith Edelman, among others. …

Johnny Cash will release a gospel album tentatively dubbed My Mother’s Hymn Book sometime next year. Cash’s gospel hits include “What You Do Here on Earth (For Heaven’s Sake)” and “It Was Jesus,” which is included in the God segment of his recently released Love, God, Murder box set. This new set finds an intimate Cash with only his guitar and marks his fourth album produced by Rick Rubin. …

Dwight Yoakam, Clay Walker, Sawyer Brown and Alecia Elliott are set to perform July 29 in Canton, Ohio, at a concert celebrating this year’s inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The new inductees include Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Howie Long, Dan Rooney and Dave Wilcox. Walker will perform the national anthem at the induction ceremony held before the concert. …

Lorrie Morgan calls much modern country music “bubblegum.” Quoted in the new issue of The Journal of Country Music, published by the Country Music Foundation, the singer, who parted ways with BNA Records earlier this year, said, “That ain’t what life’s about. Country music is therapy — it’s therapy for the rural world. And it’s gotten so far away from it that nobody knows what’s real anymore. You know, people aren’t what they appear to be in their pictures anymore. That concerns me, that we’re reaching out for perfection, when country music has always been about imperfection.” …

Vanguard will release an 18-song album Aug. 15 to complement the documentary “The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack,” which chronicles the life of folk stalwart Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. His daughter Aiyana shot the film, which nabbed the special jury prize at this year’s Sundance and recently was screened at the Nashville Independent Film Festival with Elliott in attendance. The set includes never-before-released duets between Elliott and Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Odetta. …

Singer John Rich, former frontman for Lonestar, has been named one of “America’s 100 Most Eligible Bachelors” by People magazine. …

Asleep at the Wheel will be country headliners on Delbert McClinton‘s next blues cruise. His Sandy Beaches Cruise VII departs Jan. 7 from Port Canaveral, Fla., for seven days of cruising the Caribbean on an ocean liner. Also performing will be John Hiatt, Marcia Ball, the Derailers, Stephen Bruton, Al Anderson, Bonnie Bramlett, Bekka Bramlett and others. Details are available at delbert.com. …

— sonicnet.com staff report