When Theron Denson was growing up in Fort Leonard Wood and Columbia, ladies at church would tell him he sounded like Neil Diamond.
"I was like 'Who's Neil Diamond?' I thought I was going to church with him for a long time," said Denson. "After like the 500th caucasian lady said it me, I figured out that he didn't go to my church."
When he was 15, Denson bought a Neil Diamond album and fell in love with the music.
"The madness began at that point. Unbeknownst to me, every day for the rest of my life I was going to hear or utter the words Neil Diamond," Denson said.
Denson, an African-American Neil Diamond impersonator who calls himself Black Diamond, will perform from 7-9 p.m. Thursday at City Grill & Blue Room, 5384 W. U.S. 54, Osage Beach. Tickets are $10.
Denson has performed for U.S. presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, opened for the Pointer Sisters and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel's talk show.
He landed the one-night gig at the lake after Darin Bricker saw Denson perform in Columbia. Bricker owns Pick's Gallery at the lake, which sells fireplaces, including one with a black diamond burner, and he thought it would be fun to have a "Black Diamond" week.
Once the Blue Room was on board, Denson had a venue. While based in Las Vegas, Denson said he's happy to be back in Missouri.
Donna Rue Boatright remembers him from junior high in Waynesville.