Fresh country acts are typically more concerned with gaining staying power, Twitter followers or radio spins above all else.
For Thompson Square, the Nashville-based husband and wife duo composed of Shawna and Keifer Thompson, their first intention was something a hell of a lot more admirable: They immediately set out to give back, turning their good fortune into the same for others.
For the singers behind hits like "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not" and "Everything I Shouldn't Be Thinking About," their favorite moments aren't accepting CMT, ACA or ACM awards -- all of which they have won.
"Keifer and I had always said that if we had any success at all we would try to do some good with it," says Shawna Thompson. "That would be the moment for me: Being in Honduras [with Childfund International] and thinking 'Oh my gosh, I'm just a little girl from Chatom, Alabama and grew up, didn't have a whole lot, and we're here helping these kids in Honduras who have nothing.'"
There's still that sense of small-town wonderment in Thompson's voice as she recounts the story, sitting outside of a salon on Sunset Boulevard, fresh off a plane as Keifer has his hair cut inside before a long day of press obligations.
The pair have spent the past month playing USO shows to troops in Japan, specifically stationed in Okinawa, Atsugi and Yokosuka, before jumping back on the road for some headlining spots of their own.
"Just being there and singing for our men and women, I'm speechless," she says. "There were people that came to our meet-and-greets thanking us for being there because it reminded them of home, and the songs reminded them of their loved ones. It was incredible."
They're a harmonious act, both musically and in presentation, and it's been that way since their meeting at a Nashville singing competition right after the two moved to the city.
It's not always easy to juggle the creative output and the dynamics of marriage simultaneously, but the outcome is always positive, evidenced by Thompson Square's critical and commercial success over the past four years. The writing process, Shawna admits, can be a little trying, although she's giggling the whole time she's explaining it.
"We typically always have a third or sometimes a fourth person write with us," she says. "They're kind of like a referee or something because if it's something I don't agree with that Keifer's really fighting for, and the other person is saying it's pretty good, I'll typically go their way. We always have to have some other people around with us because we've tried to write by ourselves, just the two of us, and we're both very sensitive so it doesn't work out very well. [Laughs]."
Disparities aside, they're meant to work together for better or worse, 'til death do they part. After a creative outpouring on last year's Just Feels Good, the Thompsons still have a lot of material to work with, even though they're still gunning for "trying to have another 'Kiss Me Or Not,'" Shawna says.
With a bevy of tour dates to go and the chance to keep writing toward the new record while on the road, Thompson Square seems to be set for the near future. The stories the duo collects along the way, however, will create the shape of things to come, just as their past records have done.
"The second album was more Keifer and I than the first album, the first album showed people what we sound like and what our harmony sounds like," Thompson says. "The second album was lyrically our story from the first song to the last song. It was real life and what we were feeling at the time, what we had been going through. The third album will be fun and again, it will be what we're experiencing."
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Thompson Square is scheduled to perform on Thursday, April 10, at Country Thunder 2014 in Florence.