It was a match made in country heaven. Keifer and Shawna moved to Nashville within the same week into apartment complexes adjacent from each other and had no clue. Five days later, they met at a singing competition and Keifer asked Shawna to play pool. He thought he was going to be “rico suave,” recalls Shawna. “I guess I was,” recants Keifer. “We literally haven’t been apart and that was seventeen years ago. And we’ve been married for fourteen.”
While you’ll find artists from Black Keys to Keith Urban on his playlist at any given time, Keifer Thompson’s songwriting is inspired by the classics. “Merle Haggard was the really the reason why I even started writing country songs,” explains Keifer. “And I married that with Springsteen and Bob Dylan and Petty. I’m just really into singer songwriters. I always gravitated towards the Haggard kind of thing because I could really feel his life being told through these songs.”
We asked his wife and music partner Shawna about her songwriting influences and she had a much different answer. “I didn’t grow up really dreamin’ of being a songwriter; I just wanted to sing. When I met Keifer, he just pulled the songwriting outta me so one of my biggest influences songwriting-wise is him,” confessed Shawna. “I’m not trying to get brownie points either!” “That’s just the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me our whole life,” Keifer grinned. Their love for each other through music is clearly genuine. Which you would know if you’ve seen them perform live… there tends to be some on-stage PDA.
Despite their love and affection, they admit that they can’t write or record with just the two of them. “We’re married so we say whatever the hell we want to to each other (without a third person in the room)” laughs Keifer. Because Shawna never considered herself a songwriter, she brings an outside perspective to Keifer’s writing. “I listen to songs differently,” she explains. Keifer professes that she has a sharp ear for what makes a hit song. She pushes him to give more attention to songs that he might otherwise think were finished. And although she’s not always right, she is “a lot of the time.” Shawna, we’ve got that in writing!
They released the album Just Feels Good earlier this year and their newest single “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” is damn catchy. The official video has a retro vibe that perfectly exemplifies their sound. For the video, they were the first artists to be able to film in Patsy Cline’s house, which she built herself and in which she entertained all the biggest names in country, like Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. “We figured the house would have some really good good mojo,” explained Shawna.
When we asked them about their nomination for Best Vocal Duo at the Country Music Awards after taking home the win last year, they assured me there is no pressure. “We were told by someone who used to be at our label that we would never win anything because we were at such a small label,” recalls Keifer. “It’s an honor to be nominated. With American Idol and all these shows, it’s made everything so competitive, and we really are trying not to look at our career as a competition between us and everybody else, but more of a competition between ourselves and how we improve every year and what we’ve done… We’re just happy to be doing what we’re doing and doing it together.”
They also are quick to use their spotlight to shine a light on those less fortunate. A while back they teamed up with ChildFund International. “20,000 kids a day die worldwide of disease and malnutrition,” Keifer soberly explained. “And this is one of those organizations that goes around… basically saving lives. Building houses, building latrines, providing food and shelter.” Because of their work with ChildFund International, Keifer and Shawna Thompson were inspired to work with friends and Office Depot to donate five computers to a school in Honduras where they were able to convert the principle’s office into a computer lab.
You can catch Thompson Square on the Dirt Road Diaries tour with Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line through the end of October. Next year they hope to take to the road on their own with songs they’re hashing out this fall and will be on the USO tour of Australia and Japan in March. Their newest album Just Feels Good is on sale now and you can buy it through the link. Check out ThompsonSquare.com and Thompson Square on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to find out about upcoming concerts and music.