We know by now that Thompson Square isn’t a real place – it’s the musical space created by the husband-and-wife duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson. And now we’re all included there, starting with their self-titled debut album, a No. 1 hit debut single, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,” countless live performances, and of course our favorite way – at the Grand Ole Opry. The duo made their Opry debut on November 26, 2010 and have been back a number of times since.
The debut single that spent five consecutive weeks at #1 on the Country Digital Soundscan chart, went No. 1 platinum, and was iTunes’ Country Song of the Year for 2011 is actually much more than that. The song uses its lyrics to go beyond charts and numbers. It says something to fans, speaks to couples, and even kids have been known to sing it to a video camera now and then.
“The weirdest thing is this woman came up to me one night and said ‘Your song saved my marriage,’” Keifer said backstage at a recent Opry appearance. “You never know what a song means to somebody else. It’s just weird that whatever they were going through at that time, these lyrics helped them through.”
The song’s lyrics have also proved more than enough to be used for wedding songs. And with a song that says So I took a chance, Bought a wedding band and I got down on one knee And you smiled and said to me “Are you gonna kiss me or not?,” it isn’t so surprising that the duo is being included in those special moments.
“It’s a big responsibility when they’re using this song in their wedding,” Keifer said. “For the rest of their life this song is going to be associated with you.”
Shauna’s from Chatom, Alabama and learned traditional country songs from her guitar-playing father. Keifer was raised in Miami, Oklahoma, where he heard everything from Roger Miller and Merle Haggard to punk rock and heavy metal growing up. Each moved to Nashville within the same week, met at a singing competition a few short days later, and they say it all started when Shauna beat Keifer in a pool game. Even though they each arrived in Music City with solo careers on their minds, after awhile it made sense to form a duo. And now they’ve been married for eleven years and an official recording duo since 2009. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often – not for 47 years, actually.
“There’s still a strange thing out there,” Keifer said. “We had the Hall of Fame do some research for us on artists that were married starting out that had a No. 1 hit, and it’s been 47 years. I’m still standing on this rock thinking it’s been a long, long time that someone’s been married starting out and doing something like this. I know it’s a very small category, but we’re still proud of that.”
And that’s only one thing for the duo to be proud of. Following their debut single, their second one released, “I’ve Got You” also climbed the charts into the Top 10. What’s next for them? They tell us it’s called “Glass.”
“‘Glass’ is a song that initially when we heard it, Keifer wasn’t interested in singing it,” Shauna told us. “He thought it would be cooler if I sang it, coming from a woman’s point of view. We tried it out, and it’s just a beautiful song about how in a relationship people individually have been through a lot, and then they come together and have to deal with that. We’re all fragile, our hearts are fragile.”
“It’s a very metaphorical way to look at a relationship,” Keifer added. “It’s a beautifully written song. We were trying to figure out what single to come out with next, and there’s so many messages on Facebook and Twitter and from fans in the crowd that love the song. So, we listened, and radio loves the song and wants it. We are going to give it to them and see what happens.”
The single is set to be released to radio on January 30. We’re looking forward to seeing them return to the Ryman stage sometime soon, and they’ve said they are too.
“It’s like being in a holy place for me,” Keifer said. “Our debut for the Opry was at the Ryman. It literally is the mother church of country music. And at the Opry House every time you step on the piece of wood from the Ryman, it’s a very special moment for any artist. It’s an honor to be able to stand there and be accepted by those who have come and gone. It’s one of the most exciting times for me and Shauna. That’s why we told the Opry that any time we can do it, we want to.”
Until then, here’s their No. 1 hit on the Opry stage: