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02 Feb 2017

A Country Family: Thompson Square Comes to Fantasy Springs With New Songs—but Without a Much-Anticipated Third Album

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Thompson Square. Thompson Square.

Husband-and-wife country duo Thompson Square released their first album in 2011—and ever since, they’ve seen 10 singles reach the charts.

However, fans have been waiting since 2013 for a follow-up to sophomore album Just Feels Good. Two singles—“Trans Am” and “You Make It Feel So Good”—have been released since then, but there’s still no word regarding that third album’s name or release date.

Thompson Square’s current tour will make a stop at Fantasy Springs this Friday, Feb. 3.

During a recent phone interview with Keifer Thompson, he laughed when my first question was about that third album. 

“You’re going to jump right in there, aren’t you?” Thompson said. “It’s a combination of things. Honestly, when you have a record label (Stoney Creek Records), and you’re going back and forth—trying to decide what’s good and what’s not good, what to put out and what not to put out, and everything else—you don’t always see eye to eye on stuff. … It’s been kind of strange that’s it’s eluded everyone for three years now. There are some major changes going on at our label right now, too. I can’t imagine, no matter what happens, that we’ll be letting our fans wait for another six months for a new record. I think we’re going to put this thing to bed pretty quickly when we learn what’s going on.

“We’ve been writing songs for it forever, from what it seems. I have to apologize to everyone for not putting the record out. This has gone by so fast for us over the past six years, and to only have two records, it’s pretty crazy.”

A major change in the lives of Keifer Thompson and his wife, Shawna, has helped shaped that upcoming new album.

“Having our son, Cooper—Cooper changed the face of everything we wanted to do,” he said about the birth of their son in January 2016. “We had this thing in our life and a brand-new emotion. So we wrote some really great songs around that.”

Keifer Thompson said the new album will feature a lot of “honesty.”

“We’ve gone through a lot of things over the past few years,” he said. “We lost Shawna’s dad a few years back; we had a baby and all these major events in our lives. There’s a song we wrote about Shawna’s dad that she’s never been able to sing and get through it. We’ve talked about it, and that’s the raw emotion that I think you’re required to pass along to fans. That’s what makes country music so great: It’s hard to sing because it hits home. There are so many people out there who have dealt with the same thing she has with losing her dad. It’s one of the songs that every time she sings it, it rips me apart. If you’re going to do a ballad, make it worthwhile to the listener.

“‘You Make It Look So Good’ is a great song to us because of that—because it’s our heart story. I’m so excited about it, and I think we’re actually going to do what we wanted to do with this project.”

Touring with a baby in tow hasn’t been hard for Thompson Square; in fact, Thompson said they’re enjoying it.

“Thank goodness he’s been a good traveler so far,” he said. “He’s getting (turning) 1 here, and I can’t believe that’s already here. You have us, the crew, two dogs and a baby all on the same bus. It’s fun, and it’s very family-feeling on this bus right now. We’re having a blast. I think I would miss it if we didn’t have him here now. We have a nanny on tour with us who helps out when we’re onstage and when we do things. It makes things a lot easier, and I can’t imagine doing it without one. We made that decision before we had a kid: We would either quit the business and do something else, or we’d have a nanny on the road with us. I don’t want to quit the business. I think I’ll be 90 years old before I quit.”

Thompson said that he feels Thompson Square still has a lot to accomplish.

“We were also told we would never win an award or even be nominated because we were on a small label. We’ve proven all that stuff wrong,” he said. “I think our goal is to be able to put 20,000 people each night in a room, but it takes an army of people to be able to do that. It takes a great label, a great support system, some luck, some hit songs, and putting out an album every year and not every three years. There are a lot of things to go into that. As long as you realize you can’t do it by yourself, and it takes a lot of things for that to happen, you’ll rest easy at night.”

Despite the album hold-up, Thompson said he still loves being on Stoney Creek Records.

“I don’t think it’s been a struggle being on a small label, but as a group, here as of late, we’ve struggled as a collective,” he said. “Our single ‘Trans-Am’ didn’t do very well for us, but not every song is going to be a hit. There’s always that stuff in this business. We actually wanted to be on a small label, though—that’s our thing, and we love doing things independently. Being on Stoney Creek, it’s like a family, and they changed our lives. They changed our lives from playing for tips in honky-tonks to being able to realize our dream. I know everyone there, and that’s a nice thing.”

Thompson said the show at Fantasy Springs should serve as a preview, of sorts, for the new record.

“I think we’re going to do a lot more of testing the water with new material on our crowd,” he said. “We’re going to pull out two or three new things each night and see how people react. We’ve already chose a couple of different songs that will be on the record. It’s fun to be able to play new songs—and we have to as a band. We’ve sung a couple of new songs now, and our fans already know the words, and they’re digging it.”

Thompson Square will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $29 to $49. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

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