Thompson Square

By Bob Doerschuk

© 2011 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

Every vocal duo is a story still being told. And when the members have a personal as well as musical bond, it’s often about two roads starting at different places before joining as one highway of song.

So it is with Keifer Thompson and Shawna Thompson, a.k.a. Thompson Square. His path began in Miami, Okla., where he grew up on Merle Haggard, Roger Miller, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen as well as heavy metal and even punk. Meanwhile, Alabama, Reba and Shawna’s guitarist father’s music nurtured Keifer’s future wife in tiny Chatom, Ala.

Fate guided them to Nashville during the same week, where they met at a vocal competition days after they’d arrived. When she beat him at pool, their plans of solo success began giving way to dreams of finding it as a duo.

Shawn Pennington of Matchless Management became their manager after hearing them at a local club. Days later, he arranged a showcase for the staff at Stoney Creek Records, who put them in the studio with producers Kurt Allison, David Fanning, Tully Kennedy and Rich Redmond of New Voice Entertainment. They would emerge with their self-titled debut, featuring 12 songs, nine of them co-written by one or both Thompsons.

Each pushes the other toward a middle ground where their aesthetics merge. Their first single, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” (written by Jim Collins and David Lee Murphy), is a great example of their process, exploding at the top like a Springsteen power lick, yet when they hit the chorus, Shawn’s pristine voice hardens to complement Keifer’s gig-toughened delivery. This mirrors what they do on “Glass” (Ross Copperman and Jon Nite), where Keifer’s harmony nestles next to Shawna’s fragile, heartfelt lead. In performance as in life, their union is obviously meant to be.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

ITEMS FOR YOUR PERSONAL TIME CAPSULE
BOTH “Our laptops, Keifer’s Harley boots, tape recorder, lyric sheets and photo albums.”

FAVORITE MODE OF TRANSPORATION
BOTH “Motorcycle.”

MOMENT YOU’D LIKE TO RELIVE
KEIFER “The proposal.”

SHAWNA “The day we got married.”

SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
KEIFER “I buy book after book because I love the idea of going to bookstores and reading, but most never get finished.”

SHAWNA “I’m obsessed with Hello Kitty.”

On the Web: www.ThompsonSquare.com

Source: Country Music Association

Thompson Square Photo by Lynette Garbonola / Provided by Country Music Association

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