When times get rough, this inseparable duo doesn’t quit. Thompson Square has had quite the active past few months. Not only have they been working around the clock on their third album, but they’ve also added construction onto their to-do list.
After a flooding in their Alabama home while away on the road, Keifer and Shawna Thompson have now had to go through an entire house reconstruction and decoration process. Without skipping a beat on their musical ventures for the year the two-time ACM and CMA “Vocal Duo of the Year” winners will visit The Grand Canyon State to hit the end of Arizona’s Spring season for a concert just in time to jump start Talking Stick Resort’s summer music series.
We chatted with Keifer Thompson himself while in the midst of working on his home reconstruction during a break before they packed back up and hit the road to the Wild West.
AFM: Go ahead and tell me about the flood and what’s been going on?
K. Thompson: “We been having to building everything from scratch, from the inside out really. It was just a hose in one of the upstairs bathrooms that broke and flooded for six and a half days vefore anyone knew what was going on. And, we just literally just moved in too. We’ve been there a few years but we just literally got all the furniture in and decoration done, and now it’s all gone. It sucks, but we have a good attitude about it and we’re fine. It’s going to take six to eight months to rebuild and we’ll be back in business.
AFM: What was something that was lost that meant the most / cant get back?
K. Thompson: “Honestly you know… one of the main things was our awards got rained on. Most of those were metal so we can get the rust off those but the envelopes the said the ‘The winner is’ were destroyed.”
AFM: How’d you deal with the news of the flooding while traveling?
K. Thompson: “The day we found out, we were in Florida. We just left and drove home. We had to leave the radio tour that we were on for a bit. Luckily we have an assistant that’s been helping us out and family is down there.”
AFM: How has it affected you both personally?
K. Thompson: It really hasn’t. We keep each other going.”
AFM: What keeps your hopes up/ positive?
K. Thompson: “Well, Shawna made the example the other day that when you lose a parent or someone like that, and everything else kind of fails, you have a continuum. It just sucks… and thank God it’s not like losing a family member. Just life happens to everyone - sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.”
AFM: What’s it like being a married duo/ performing team?
K. Thompson: “Well for us, it’s a dream come true. We get to be together and do what we want for a living. I think what gets you down is having a job you don’t like and bringing that frustration home, and we just don’t have that. We get along really well, and it works out great for us.”
AFM: Tell me your love story.
K. Thompson: “In reverse order, Shawna’s been doing music a lot longer than I have. That’s all she’s ever done is music and I was a little different and went to college. We’ve both loved music since we were little kids. We both ironically moved to Nashville that same week and met each other right at that time in 1996, and have been together ever since. Married 15 years now. Some say serendipitous.”
AFM: When did you decide to start performing as a country duo together?
K. Thompson: “Um we dated for three years and were married for three years and that’s when we decided, we didn’t like being a part. I was doing stuff and she was doing stuff and we just didn’t like being a part that much. Our marriage is really important to us and that’s how we came up with Thompson square and everything else is history, you know.”
AFM: Are there any struggles being a married couple duo?
K. Thompson: “There are struggles in any marriage. You just deal with it differently when you’re working together. But, a lot of it is letting things go and have a maturity level that is very difficult for men and admitting when you’re wrong and moving on. We just decided a long time ago that sometimes you have to accept when you’re wrong and move on. You don’t have to prove your point because it doesn’t really do anybody any good.”
AFM: How did you both fall in love with country music specifically?
K. Thompson: “I don’t know. I guess that’s like asking someone why do you like ice cream? We’ve just always been in it. It’s the first thing we were exposed to. Her dad was in a band playing country music and I’ve always loved it. We love all kinds of music, though. Its not just country, but for us to sing… kind of like breathing, we have to have it.”
AFM: Who is your country role model or idol?
K. Thompson: “Merle Haggard. That’s really hard, too. Honestly for me I fell in love with songwriting because of his songwriting. I love the way he’s a true artist and sings soul music. I do more of his songs than anybody.”
AFM: Any relation to AZ / good memories here?
K. Thompson: Well we haven’t spent a whole lot of time there. I definitely love the west from the scenery standpoint and the weather and everything about it. Usually that’s the bitch about our business – we roll into town, do a show and then leave. So we don’t get to spend a whole lot of town anywhere. But I just love that whole area. It’s great to have your fans out there.”
AFM: What’s a normal day for Thompson Square?
K. Thompson: “You wake up, go to the gym, come back. Emails… catch up on some business. Relax a little bit. Sound check. Shower. Meet and greet every night. It’s kind of the same thing every night to be honest with you.”
AFM: And when you guys are not on the tour, what’s a normal day like?
K. Thompson: “Wow, um…if it’s nice, we’ll usually buy motorcycles or yesterday I wanted to go fishing so I took to fishing… so we did that all day. We like to do normal stuff because we don’t really get to do that a lot, like going to dinner, going to the movies. Hanging out with friends is really important to us. So we try and do as much of that as we can.”
AFM: What’s something you want the audience to take away from the tour?
K. Thompson: “I think we’re extremely serious about what we do and we hold music in high regard. We have a lot of fun, and we have a great fan base that knows what they’re going to get when they come out there. It’s a rocket show. It’s kind of like a roller coaster. You have your ups and it’s not always the same. We just kind of decided to make our stuff a little bit different than everybody else’s and it’s just a lot of fun. We have a blast as a band on stage.”
AFM: What’s your favorite song to perform together?
K. Thompson: “I wouldn’t say we like more than the other. Right now though, one of my new favorite songs to sing is Trans Am is fun because we’re showing everybody the new evolution of Thompson Square. We’re doing like three or four new songs for the show. It’s kind of our job to show different aspects of how we are and they’re tons of song. We’re still Thompson Square but the whole project is very forward and we’re excited to play.”
AFM: Releasing third album?
K. Thompson: “Probably October or November. It’s going to be stellar; it’s going to be the best album we’ve ever put together. We took almost an entire year off just to write the songs. Sometimes you just have to do that for your creative juices, and we did. It’s really paid off.”
AFM: What’s the forward theme you’re hoping to show?
K. Thompson: “It just sounds different. We listen to the radio and we want to sound different than anybody else. We don’t want to blend in and sometimes you have to punch through that. We’ve always wanted to do our own thing and the artists that we’ve historically loved always stood out and never really sounded like anyone else. We do as much of that as we possibly can without being so weird that no one gets it.”
AFM: What’s something silly about you and Shawna that no one would know?
K. Thompson: “Shawna is a good shot. We just got a handgun together and we always pack it, so don’t mess with us! Just kidding. We’re definitely pro-gun type of people. We come from hunting families. The first time I bought Shauna a 9mm glock and she took it out and shot dead center. She’s got a better shot than me, yes.”