"Just Feels Good" arrives as new single, "If I Didn't Have You," climbs the country charts
The husband-wife duo Thompson Square had a hand with their new album, "Just Feels Good," out Tuesday on Stoney Creek. The followup to their 2011 debut is full of material from some of Nashville's top writers, including Brett James, Bob DiPiero, and the Warren Brothers. While the duo co-wrote six of the thirteen songs on the album, Keifer Thompson says that they were very much willing to turn to outside sources.
"Why wouldn't you, if you can?" he asks. "We've been very fortunate to have a lot of friends over the past three or four years that we write with, and we will call them also asking for songs that we didn't write together."
He adds that time played a part in that decision -- there's not as much of it as there once was.
"We're on the road and sometimes we can only write a couple days out of the month, but they're in Nashville every day. It was interesting how all the songs came together – even the outside ones. It all fell into place at the right time. It just felt like the perfect storm."
The success of the first single, "If I Didn't Have You," which rises to No. 14 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart this week, relieved some of the pressure about the sophomore album. When asked if there was a degree of pressure to follow up their debut, Shawna Thompson admitted, "Maybe before the single came out, but now that we're so close to the top ten, we're past that. I feel like this album is more us than the first album. The debut established who we were and what we sound like, but with this album, we really focused in on what we wanted to write about."
They had plenty of experience from which to draw inspiration. "We had so many wonderful things to happen to us over the past two or three years, but also some downs with my father passing away in February 2012, so there was a lot to write about."
The duo's self-titled 2011 debut disc, notched them three top-20 singles, "Glass," "I Got You," and the chart-topping "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not."
Keifer agrees with his wife allowing that "Just Feels Good" is "more focused. I get the sophomore thing – about having your whole life to write for that first album, but at the same time, you can't put every song that you wrote for it on there. We had a lot left over. But, It seemed like what we found from the outside really fit the mood. We felt very fortunate. I think from a song quality standpoint, it's even better than the first one."
In addition to the romantic ballad, there are several uptempo songs that show their ability to rock. Keifer says that might come as a surprise to some. "I think people who haven't seen us live, or have gotten to know us yet might have a misconception that they are going to see Sonny & Cher singing love songs to each other. We get loud, have fun, and rock out. We really wanted to put that out there.
Maybe the biggest stretch for the duo is the hip-hop feel of "Testing The Water." Shawna says the song clicked with her instantly.
"That one came in pretty late, and I could not stop listening to the demo. I played it in my car over and over again, which is kind of rare for me, because I don't really listen to a lot of music – as weird as that might sound. I played it for Keifer. I think he was a little concerned whether I could pull it off, but we gave it to our producers, and it turned out cute."
Needless to say, Thompson Square is enjoying life and career a lot these days. But, Keifer says it's something that they have worked for.
"We were in town about thirteen years before we ever got a record deal. I can't tell you how many nights we played for just a handful of people on Broadway. I wouldn't trade any of those memories for anything, but I also wouldn't take any amount of money to go back and re-live it again. I loved the memories, but it was a tough part of our lives."