Photo: Anthony Baker
Sometimes, when a man and woman love each other very much, they form a Grammy-nominated country act and tour the world together, living happily ever after.
That’s the “birds and the bees” talk of how country duo Thompson Square came to be, at least. Keifer and Shawna Thompson were two struggling solo artists who encountered each other at a singing competition in their now-adopted home of Nashville (Keifer is from Miami, Oklahoma, while Shawna hails from Alabama) and soon fell head over heels for each other.
Many times, for a career in music to work, one has to sacrifice for the other, but Keifer and Shawna found a loophole: The pair decided to ditch their solo endeavors for a lifetime of collaboration with each other on and off the stage, vowing to spend their personal and professional lives together.
“We were singing together at the house, at my gigs and her gigs,” Keifer said. “It just made sense to do it together professionally. That’s when everything started happening for us, and we haven’t looked back.”
The duo found a home on Stoney Creek Records, a division of Broken Bow Records, the label that helped Jason Aldean to fame, and Keifer and Shawna then sought out to charm their way into America’s hearts. A smash, platinum-selling single, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” and “I Got You” made Thompson Square’s eponymous 2011 debut a hit, adding to a lineage of successful married country duos that has seen
scarce few new entries since the days of Johnny and June Carter Cash.
“It just works. I don’t know why,” Keifer said of balancing a marriage and career together. “Obviously, we married the right person.”
The two were able to equally bear the pressure to match the success of that self-titled debut when it came time to write and record the follow-up. Mostly, though, Thompson Square was on Cloud Nine, thrilled equally with the surreal professional success and personal bliss they had been enjoying, which is probably why the duo’s second album (which hit shelves last year) came to be called Just Feels Good.
“It kind of encompassed everything we were feeling,” Keifer said of the title. “We opened up a little more with this record. We wanted to give our fans an inside track to what Shawna and I are about.”
Playing Saturday at Frontier City, Thompson Square is in the preliminary stages of writing for its third record, and the duo has little intention on shying away from its fairy-tale story and penchant for love songs.
“We’re going to embrace even more that we are a married couple duo,” Keifer said. “As hard as we party or as much as we like to rock on stage, we don’t want to ignore that we can do something on stage that no one else can, and that’s sing a love song to one another and mean it. It’s a very powerful tool.”