INTERVIEW: Thompson Square

“Not Far Enough” the new CD project released by the new country duo, Thompson Square hit the shelves in August. I caught up with the couple and chatted with them about music, love and how combining both makes a difference in their lives. We started at the beginning and looked to the future as we spoke of how everything in life has a meaning and a purpose, and what it feels like the moment you understand some of the special moments we are given.

Bev: Shawna & Keifer thank you so much for the opportunity to visit with you about your new CD. Your first release as husband and wife is called “Not Far Enough” , which came out at the end of August. What has been the biggest and most common reaction to the song when people hear it?

Thompson Square: It’s all been good. It is very exciting. One of the things we do get quite often is that people cannot really express or decide who we sound like and that is the point we are very proud of that. If people compare you to other artists and say you are unique in the way you sound, then that is just a great compliment.

Bev: In a sense, your story of following your dreams and finding love along the way is a song in itself. Are any of the songs on your CD auto-biographical?

Thompson Square: We think so. “Little White House” especially is a reflection of who we are and how we feel and about our relationship. “Keep on Keepin’ On” is another written during a time we were apart a lot as our career was just starting and how hard it was to be doing what we love and yet missing the person we are in love with. Our relationship works best when we are together most of the time, because our desires are to do the same things. “Then There’s You” is written about Shawna, so yeah there are a lot of songs on here that are very personal.

Bev: Do you both write songs ?

Thompson Square: Both of us write and one or both of us had a hand in writing the songs on this project. We have found that the songs you have lived and been through are easier to write and perform because you can put so much of your own emotion in them.

Bev: Do you feel a connection with your fans and audience as you perform certain songs?

Thompson Square: Ohhhh yeah. Especially songs like “Keepin’ Up With The Jonese’s”. We have friends who have or have had addiction problems and have had them tell us how this particular song really hit home with them. One show an older man came up to us and you could tell he had been crying and was on the verge of crying again and he was so emotional and said “you just sang my life story in three minutes”. His wife was an alcoholic and he had battled her addiction with her. Those are the moments that make such a difference.

Bev: Do you feel you have any added pressure filling the shoes of past country couples?

Thompson Square: There is a pre-conceived notion that if you are a married duet singing couple that you are expected to sing these sappy love songs to each other. As far as added pressure, no. The thing about us is there is nothing out there like Thompson Square. We are starting out from the beginning of our careers as this, not coming together after both having established our own individual careers. We were really careful not to do that as we put this project together and feel the power we have and what makes it fun, is the ability to sing guy songs, girl songs, and can also do something and look into each others eyes and mean every single word of it. We both can sing lead as well as harmonize and what we have is refreshing and new.

Bev: When you are not on the road, what do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax?

Thompson Square: Relax? What is that? I don’t relax much (Keifer). I love what I do, but I have recently bought a motorcycle, so I am enjoying working on that. Shawna says, I love photography so I will go do some of that and I am into beading and making jewelry. We do love to watch the TV show “Lost” we are very addicted to that. We have a studio we have just completed in our home, and that has been our project away from work, not sure how relaxing it is, but it is what we have been doing.

Bev: Since you both have leads on different cuts throughout your project, is there any friendly battles that go on when deciding who gets the lead vocal and who will harmonize or do you flip a coin?

Thompson Square: When we were working on the record, I (Shawna) really wanted to do the lead on “Keepin’ Up With The Joneses” and in the past Keifer had always done the song, but I begged him to let me do this one because there are women alcoholics too and you do not hear as much about that. So eventually we recorded it that way.

Bev: How long did it take you to complete this CD?

Thompson Square: It took well over seven months. We took every song and tried it out both ways with each of us doing the lead, and same with instruments we really gave attention to the detail of every aspect of the production to make the song the best it could be.

Bev: I am sure this is not the first time you have been asked this, but, how did you arrive at the name Thompson Square?

Thompson Square: We battled this out a long time trying out different combinations and this just came back to us time after time and the more we said it sounded good. The Square part can be a metaphor for many things, from the mathematical concept of two of us so “squared” and the square as a box or a home and being a place of comfort, and it is also a landmark so it represents a lot of facets of who we are and want to be. It is a symbol of a town square and small places, where we both come from so it is many things.

Bev: Most of the songs on your cd have messages of simple lifestyles, falling in love or a “feel good” quality about them, do you intentionally write and record this kind of music or did it just happen on this CD?

Thompson Square: Subconsciously it came out that way. It is the kind of people we are and it shows in our work. We were at a time and place that things were great and are great and it just all worked out.

Bev: Each of you came to Nashville separately to land a career in music, did either of you ever have a duet in mind?

Thompson Square: Never. We always imagined solo careers and it is not fun anymore to get up there and sing without each other. I think when you realize your purpose and can honestly say you have found what you were meant to do, then you know it. We are so much stronger and better together.

Bev: How did you know or when did you realize that you had something magical when you sang together?

Thompson Square: We had done our own shows separately and then once in awhile when one of us was at a showcase or a show, the other would join them on stage and we would do a George Jones and Tammy Wynette song or something and the room would go quiet and we had everyone’s attention and afterwards people would approach us and encourage us to more together. One specific time was when were doing a show, and a good friend of mine in the industry who I respect with utmost sincerity heard us and he told me how it just grabbed him when he heard us perform together and his words had a major impact on our decision that we should be duet partners and not try and be solo artists.

Bev: If you could change any one thing in the country music industry, what would you change?

Thompson Square: We wish that it could be a little more like it used to be, for example Coal Miner’s Daughter when they went around from radio station to radio station and if they liked it, they played it. There was not so much political involvement. But we think that the internet has opened up that free enterprise aspect again and people are able to sell worldwide. We literally have music in every corner of the globe and that in itself is just really cool, because we would not have had that chance to let that many people hear our music let alone sell music to them.

Bev: Besides the music, do you have any other aspirations in the entertainment industry? Acting or producing?

Thompson Square: Keifer, yes! I always aspire to do more. I actually am going to take on some producing soon, so once this project is kind of out of our hands, then I will move on to that. And acting is possibly in our future very soon. We are working on a project to do some TV to add to our exposure as artists, there is some things in the works already. So sure we aspire to grow and do more.

Bev: What is the most commonly asked question when you are interviewed or by the fans when you meet them?

Thompson Square: We are always asked if we are brother and sister or married. We joke that we are both.

Bev: If you were given the opportunity to be on the stage performing with any one artist, who would you choose? And a writer?

Thompson Square: Keifer answers quickly and without hesitation, Bruce Springsteen for both. Shawna replies with Reba to perform with and Merle Haggard to write with.

Bev: What is the funniest gift a fan has given you so far?

Thompson Square: We have gotten a lot of really cool gifts that we are very appreciative of, but the only funny one I can think of is bear from Build-A-Bear that had a recorder inside that said something like Hi We Are Thompson Square or something like that, it is really cute.

Bev: Shawna & Keifer, I have truly enjoyed sitting here today and getting to know you both and want to say thanks for your time and most of all I wish you all the success in the world as you follow your hearts together and make your dreams come true. I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about you.

Thompson Square: Thank you so much and it has been great to get to know you too. I hope we see you again soon.

For more information on Thompson Square you can check them out online at or

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