LIVE: Thompson Square @ Proctors, 3/10/11

Shawna and Keifer Thompson
Shawna and Keifer Thompson

The second installment of WGNA’s Rising Star Country Series took off with out a hitch in Proctors’ stadium-seating styled G.E. Theatre last week. This time out Thompson Square brought their dual intertwining harmonies, single acoustic guitar jams and image-packed lyrics for a terrific set that included their smash Top 10 country hit, “Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not?”

Married for nearly a dozen years, the collaborative husband-and-wife team of Keifer and Shawna Thompson joked and chatted comfortably with the sold-out audience. Exuding the infectious enthusiasm of two happy kids let loose in a candy store, the duo have worked years at their craft to finally get their big break. “It’s hard to believe that a year ago we were still bar tending down in Nashville,” Shawna told the crowd.

That was then, and this is now. Their songs are rapidly reaching radio listeners from coast to coast through country radio stations like Nippertown’s own WGNA-FM, which has successfully championed past rising stars from Ricky Skaggs to Lady Antebellum. Thompson Square is no exception. They’re hot, and they’re touring in support of their self-titled debut album, already a Top 10 entry on Billboard’s Country Album charts.

Like many a long-time married couple that works together, Keifer and Shawna publicly poked fun at each other’s personal idiosyncrasies on stage, but when they stopped talking and started playing, they fused their individual talents into the collective magic of Thompson Square. Tight vocal harmonies ruled their songs, but it was the slice-of-life, everyday things that they sang about that pulled at the heartstrings of their fans. Shawna said with a smile, “We write what we know.”

And that they do.

From “As Bad As It Gets” to “Glass,” their own colorful tunes are chockfull of hooks and hummable refrains. Acknowledging the influences of Shelby Lynn and Tom Petty in their music, Thompson Square’s version of the latter’s “Won’t Back Down” blended seamlessly with the arsenal of tunes they pulled from their own personal songbag.

If you like great tunes with strong lyrics, keep an eye on Thompson Square because this duo’s brand of country music has lots of refreshing roots-Americana and alt-country edges to separate them from the rest of the pack.

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

I Got You
Let’s Fight
Getaway Car
Won’t Back Down
Heart To Come Home To
As Bad As It Gets
Don’t Want To Miss You
Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not
Brilliant Disguise
My Kind Of Crazy

Keifer and Shawna Thompson
Keifer and Shawna Thompson

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