Keifer and Shawna Thompson, known by most simply as Thompson Square, sat grinning in front of a battery of reporters Tuesday afternoon (May 3), prior to one of two celebrations held on Music Row honoring their first No. 1 single, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not." For nearly half an hour, the husband and wife duo obligingly answered questions and expressed gratitude and surprise at their recent success.
Photo Credit: Kim Sorensen
"All the microphones in the world would not be enough to express how we feel right now," Keifer said. "It's been an amazing, hard road. A few ups, a lot of downs and we're just happy to be here."
In fact, at this time last year, the husband and wife duo were bartending at The Wheel, a honky-tonk on Nashville's Lower Broadway. Over the next 12 months, the two recorded a successful debut album featuring their No. 1 single, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not," guest starred on several late night television programs, nabbed two upcoming CMT Music Awards nominations and will soon be joining label mate Jason Aldean for his My Kinda Party tour next month.
"I've been wearing these clothes for five days," Keifer chuckled regarding their whirlwind success. "I haven't had time to change clothes. There's not a whole lot of free time. It's exactly what we wanted."
Jokes aside, these two eloquently expressed heartfelt words during dual celebrations held at both songwriting organizations, BMI and ASCAP. Addressing all those affiliated with their No. 1 single, Keifer and Shawna affectionately thanked the song's craftsmen, Jim Collins and David Lee Murphy, as well as their close-knit producers and individuals from their newly formed record label, Stoney Creek Records.
But it was Shawna who had a few extra words for her musical and lifelong partner.
"I just wanted to say thank you to Keifer," she began. "If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be standing here right now. Through all the hard times, he was always there. I thank God for you every day," she said as tears began streaming down her face.
After a tender kiss and embrace from his wife, Keifer provided some comedic relief before he too became overwhelmed by emotion. "Well, now that we're crying, we might as well go on," he smiled.
"These next people," he said shakily, turning to look at his parents standing nearby, "I don't know what I'd do without them. They've been there for everything I've ever done, supported me through everything I've ever done and this is just another one of those things."
Pausing to gain his composure and fight back a flood of more tears he added, "They deserve this just as much if not more than I do. This is for you, mom and dad," he said handing them each a commemorative plaque.
For those few who still remained dry-eyed, it would be short lived as Shawna reclaimed the microphone. Though professing not to be wearing waterproof mascara, her makeup held up flawlessly as more waterworks ensued.
"This is for my mom and dad," she said delicately, looking at her mother who was also among the weeping crowd. "They brought me to Nashville when I was probably 14 years old and they've always believed in me. They've been there every step of the way," she began to cry. "My dad couldn't make it today because he's not doing very well these days."
Fighting back her tears, she went on, "But we're doing a show in my hometown and I'm going to give it to him at the show in Chatom, Ala., so he'll be able to experience this."
When it came time for the veteran songwriters to say a few words, Murphy and Collins were both quick to deflect any attention back to the country newcomers. After all, these two have been here before, remaining two of country music's most distinguished craftsmen. In fact, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" marks Collins' seventh No.1 single and Murphy's sixth, though he most recently nabbed his seventh chart-topper with Kenny Chesney's current single, "Live a Little."
After each briefly articulated heartfelt thank yous to the crowd and Thompson Square, Collins gracefully added a few words for Keifer and Shawna's parents.
"You got some good kids here," he said smiling. "The reason they're having this success is because they're coming from the right place. They perform their songs from their heart and they're having a good time. And that's a winning combination," he added. "You can't go wrong with that."
View photos from the No. 1 parties.