Back in May, husband and wife duo Thompson Square were in the middle of Luke Bryan’s Dirt Road Diaries tour when a roadblock suddenly appeared. Keifer had blown out his voice and was ordered to go on full vocal rest.
“Words cannot express how devastated we both are to bring this news to our fans,” Keifer wrote at the time.
Now that they’re back on the road with Bryan and tourmates Florida Georgia Line, CMT Hot 20 Countdown ’s Katie Cook caught up with the team to check on Keifer’s progress. She also got the lowdown on how Shawna handles being the only girl in the group and what it’s like to “cruise” and “crash parties” with two of country’s hottest acts.
CMT: How’s the vibe out here on the Luke Bryan tour?
Shawna: It’s fun. It’s exactly what you see. Luke’s crazy and you never know what to expect.
Keifer: We’re having a blast. It’s an amazing tour and it’s our first tour as a middle act, so we get to stretch it out a little bit and work out a bigger sweat.
Shawna, you were the envy of women here in America a couple of weeks ago because your husband was on vocal rest — no offense. Is everything back to normal?
Keifer: I thought you were gonna say because she was married to me. But we’ll go with that.
But the hunky silent side, who wouldn’t take that for a few weeks? Now is everything back to 100 percent?
Keifer: You know, I didn’t know the extent of the damage. I’ve been abusing my voice I guess for years. They were like, “You’re gonna have to have surgery. You’ve got a hemorrhage. You’ve got a polyp going on.” I’m just like, “I kinda lost some of my voice,” you know? I was like, “What’s going on.” I was hoarse. And they said, “Let’s find a less invasive way to do it.” So, two weeks off.
Shawna: Two weeks and lots and lots of prayers from our fans.
Keifer: We came back and he was just like “The hemorrhage is gone.” I sang that week, came back and he goes, “Everything’s almost completely gone.” He was like, “What have you done?” I was like, “Man, I didn’t say anything. All I was doing was praying.” My voice is to a point now where I haven’t been able to do what I’m doing for a year and-a-half, almost two years.
Wow, well we’re very, very glad. I know your fans are happy. So Luke also has another guest out here, Florida Georgia Line. Any duo rivalry?
Shawna: No, not at all.
Keifer: There’s always gonna be duo rivalry. But not personally, no. Everybody gets along out here and it’s just a big little happy family out here.
Well, you have a big fan in Sheryl Crow. I don’t know if you saw this tweet recently. I’m gonna read it to you. “Happy to be home from the road, coffee in the kitchen, boys playing on the floor, ’If I Didn’t Have You’ on the radio. Ahhhhh….”
Shawna: We were really excited to see that and we played a show with Sheryl. We did a guitar pull with her, and she was sort of a special guest. When she came out, the first thing she did was sit down with her guitar and sing a little piece of “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” Keifer and I are massive fans of her, so it meant a lot to us.
Keifer: And she looked over and kind of winked at us and I was like, “Sheryl Crow just sang my song!” Now she’s tweeting about another one that I wrote, that’s awesome. Having the respect of someone like that is pretty cool.
Shawna, you’re like the only girl out here on this tour. What’s up with that?
Shawna: I know, it’s so weird. It really is. You know, we were out with Lady Antebellum last year, so at least I had Hillary [Scott]. We would get our nails done occasionally and stuff like that. But yeah, it’s pretty weird being the only girl.
Keifer: A lot of testosterone to deal with.
Are you keeping them all in line?
Shawna: I don’t know. I have a lot of trouble with this one. I don’t know if I could keep that many boys in line.
Keifer: Now that I can talk again, I’m like “I’m back baby!” And she’s like “Oh God, I liked you when you were silent.” She does good, though. She’s sort of tomboyish so she’s used to it.