Thompson Square isnt a real place, exactly. Its the musical territory staked out by the husband-and-wife duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson, an exciting and unpredictable area where country meets rock, rough meets smooth and one vagabond heart finds a harmonious common ground with another. Its the sweet destination where two journeys end and another one begins. "Its the place where we create our thing, a little fantasyland where we live," Keifer says.
And now the rest of us get to discover that magical place, starting with the duos new self-titled debut album. Fans began truly getting to know their way around Thompson Square with the release of the infectious radio smash "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not," a fitting introduction to the Thompsons natural chemistry and spirit of buoyant romance. Things have happened very quickly since then: theyve been rapturously received as an opening act on superstar Jason Aldeans tour, packed high-energy shows of their own and seen the "Kiss Me" video become a favorite on GAC. Perhaps most emotional for the duo was their debut performance on the legendary Grand Ole Opry. "That was bucket-list stuff," says Shawna. "Thats something you dream about all your life."
The suddenness of their success belies the fact thatseparately and togetherKeifer and Shawna have been learning their craft in Nashville for a decade. "To see it paying off right now is elating," Keifer says. "Every day I try to take a little time, soak it all in and say thanks."
Now Music City is sharing with the rest of the world the pitch-perfect combination of Keifers soulful intensity and Shawnas crystalline grace; her classic country upbringing and his wide-ranging singer-songwriter influences. Shawna grew up in tiny Chatom, Ala., learning traditional country songs from her guitar-playing father and soaking up the sounds of Reba McEntire and Alabama on the radio. Keifer was raised in Miami, Okla., where he was exposed to everything from Roger Miller and Merle Haggard to punk rock and heavy metal before finding his most profound influences in thoughtful tunesmiths like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. Each moved to Nashville within the same week, and met at a singing competition a few days after hitting town.
"I walked in and saw her, went right up and started talking to her," Keifer recalls. "She beat me in pool, and thats where it started." Like Keifer, Shawna sensed a connection right away. "I knew immediately," she says. "It sounds so cheesy, but it was a love at first sight thing for me."
Each had come to Music City intending to pursue a solo career, and for a few years thats just what they did. "She was doing her own thing, and I was doing my thing," Keifer says. "After a while it made sense to combine what we did. We looked at each other one day and said, Maybe we should try to do this."
And so Thompson Square was born. They adjusted to the idea of combining the pressures of married life with a career choice that demanded near-constant togetherness. "A lot of couples cant be together 24 hours a daybut for us it doesnt work unless its like that," Keifer points out. "Its still like were dating, and weve been married for 11 years. We like to have fun, we like to laugh and we like to rock outso thats what we try to do."