Exclusive: Tour Dates, Plus 'Way Out Here' Star Talks New Record
The music industry tends to shift into high gear in January following a restful Christmas holiday. One country star who is definitely in that mindset right now is Josh Thompson.
Not only is the Wisconsin native putting the final touches on his sophomore release, due out on RCA later this year, he is going on the road -- in a big way. Last year, he performed over 250 dates, and 2012 looks to follow suit, with his "Change Is Comin" tour scheduled to begin February 3 in Charlotte, NC!
In an exclusive interview with Billboard's The 615, Thompson said he was looking forward to taking his music to the people.
"We're headed out on the road for at least the next four months," he said excitedly.
Though he has performed with some of the top names in the business, like Hank Williams, Jr. and Dierks Bentley, Thompson will be going this tour alone. Asked whether there was any trepidation about that, he said "No, there isn't," adding that "We've been doing a lot of shows by ourselves. We're just going back to the markets that we have been to -- the ones that have been really good for us. The shows have gotten bigger, and I think that has to do with the fact that I've gotten so many great tunes."
He does admit that he has watched and learned from some of the artists he has opened for in the past. What did he carry away from them "Really, it was just watching the show and the flow of it. It's amazing how the music doesn't stop. It's just a real audience participation kind of show, and the fans are able to get face to face with them. I think that has a lot to do with it."
Being on the highways as much as he is definitely qualifies Thompson as a "road warrior." He smiles when he hears that description. "I've heard it so much. It just kind of makes me laugh. I guess that's what you would call it. We do stay gone quite a bit, but it's important for me to get out in front of people and make some believers."
He's also made some "believers" at country radio, who have helped make "Beer On The Table" and "Way Out Here" hit records. They are already spinning the new single, which Thompson is excited about. "It's the first single from the second record. The song is called 'Comin' Around.' It's really about coming around and doing some thinking about where you've been wrong before -- like hating your parent's music or hating the town you're from. Then, one day, you wake up and decide that you miss those things. It's just that kind of turning point."
The new project teams Thompson with highly-esteemed producer Phil O'Donnell. The singer said the two fit together perfectly. "His nickname is 'Philbilly.' That should tell you right there. He's about as hillbilly as they come, and really a great guy. He's very good friends with the musicians that I wanted to play with on this record, so it was a great choice."
Josh has also been busy with his writing the past couple of years, earning cuts by Jason Michael Carroll and Brad Paisley, among others. He's also had a chance to collaborate with a few of his heroes, such as John Anderson.
"That was awesome," he says. "I've had the chance to write with some legends, and John Anderson was one of them. It's one of those things that you almost have to pinch yourself in the middle of doing. There's always those things that you never thought you would be doing in your life, and for me, that was one of them. Sitting in a room with him, and writing a song with him was one of the highlights in my career."
With a new single, album, and tour, it looks like Thompson is hoping for a big 2012. What are his goals for the year? "I would love to see a top ten or number one single," he said. "The record is coming out later this year. So, I'm excited about that. I'm hoping for a big first week, and hope that the record is loved by the people. We'll be on the road a lot, getting the new music out in front of people!"
CHANGE IS COMIN' TOUR DATES
2/3 -- Charlotte, NC - Coyote Joe's
2/4 -- Greenville, SC - Blind Horse Saloon
2/8 -- Foxborough, MA - Showcase Live
2/9 -- Uncasville, CT - Wolf Den
2/10 -- Bethleham, PA - Musikfest Café
2/11 -- Portland, ME - Asylum
2/16 -- Columbia, SC - Jillian's
2/17 -- Milledgeville, GA - Cowboy Bills
2/18 -- Sebring, FL - Highlands
3/10 -- West Palm Beach, FL - Cruzan Amphitheatre
3/16 -- Jacksonville, FL - Landing
3/17 -- Lakeland, FL - Boots N Buckles Saloon
3/24 -- Quincy, IL - Morrison Theatre
3/29 -- Flagstaff, AZ - Museum Club
3/30 -- Mesa, AZ - Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill
3/31 -- San Miguel, CA - The Ranch
4/4 -- San Jose, CA - Graduate
4/5 -- Davis, CA - Davis Graduate
4/6 -- Ridgecrest, CA - Tommy T's
4/13 -- Chicago, IL - Joe's Bar
4/14 -- Detroit, MI - McMorran Auditorium
4/21 -- Dixon, IL - Dixon Theatre