Talking with Thompson Square's Keifer and Shawna Thompson on the phone, their new puppy plays with a squeaky toy in the background. The 2012 Country Music Vocal Duo of the Year is at home, taking a short break from the Lady Antebellum Tour, which recently wrapped up. They are now on their own tour schedule and preparing to record a new album in the fall. Colorado is their next stop, hitting Gypsum's Lundgren Theater at 9 p.m. Saturday as the headline performance. They are looking forward to it.“We love Colorado,” Keifer said. “We're trying to make it a regular thing.”Shawna said they're also excited to show off their latest stage set.“We've stepped up the lights and things like that,” she said.Like any all-American couple, Keifer and Shawna are a product of many influences, and it's heard in their music, which ranges from hard to soft, from funny to serious and a lot in between. They co-write most of their songs and it seems that they've lived most of them, too. Songs like “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,” “Glass,” “Let's Fight” and “As Bad As It Gets” smack of genuine experience. The latter two especially flesh out the humor in marital spats.“No matter who you are, you can relate to these things,” Keifer said. “Country music tells stories of everyone's life.”Country music isn't their only influence by any means, however.“I like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre,” Keifer said. “Basically, I'm just influenced by music in general.”He also listed Adele, Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters among others as contemporary influences. That's in addition to the timeless Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, of course.They both grew up in musical families and knew early on that it was a way of life for them.“I was 5 or 6 when my family took me to an Alabama concert, and I knew from then on that I wanted to be on stage singing,” Shawna said. “Luckily my parents were very supportive. They helped me move to Nashville when I was 18, which was sort of my college experience.”That's where she met Keifer and both agree it was love at first sight.“I was dating someone at the time, and after I got to know Shawna, I had to call the other girl and tell her, ‘I found the one,'” Keifer said.At the time, Keifer and Shawna were both pursuing solo music careers. They continued on that track even after they got married. Eventually they tied the knot with their music as well, and that's when the magic happened. Now they've been married 13 years and together as Thompson Square for about seven years. In total, they've each been working as a musician for 17 years.“I think we found who we were when we came together,” Shawna said.Success doesn't come with guarantees, however. Like anyone, Keifer and Shawna are still trying to grow and find their way into the feature.“Every year I second guess myself and consider going to grad school,” Keifer, who has a bachelor's degree in psychology and an strong background in sports like football, soccer and track. “You can't give up,” he said. “No one can know how things will evolve. In terms of music, I would like to do a traditional country album at some point.”“After being on tour for a while, we're ready to make some new music,” Shawna said.Social CausesThompson Square has also partnered with some social causes, Including ChildFund International and Purina Dog Chow. ChildFund International will be on site at each concert in a booth run by volunteers who each personally sponsor a child through the organization. Fans who visit the ChildFund International booth and sign up to sponsor a child that evening will receive an autographed copy of Thompson Square's self-titled debut album.“We partnered with Purina Dog Chow because we are a proud dog family,” Shawna said.Through a new tab created on the Purina Dog Chow Facebook page, dog lovers can now visit Dog Families Know, a new community within a community, and share their own unique family moments about their dog's impact on their family — via stories, photos and videos. From now until July 31, a new topic will be proposed each week that dog families can relate to, and for every unique story, photo or video tacked onto the virtual community board, Purina Dog Chow will donate $1, up to $25,000, to Patriot Rovers Inc., helping support its mission to “Save Dogs, Help Soldiers and Honor Heroes.” Additionally, one photo will be selected each week as the Purina Dog Chow Facebook cover photo.“We just lost a (Yorkshire Terrier) in February,” Keifer said over the din of squeaky noises at his house. “It was tough but we're enjoying the puppy.”
If there's one thing besides harmonic melodies that can be expected from Gloriana when the band opens for Thompson Square at Gypsum's Lundgren Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, it's passion.After all, Gloriana's hit song, “(Kissed You) Good Night,” is about seizing the moment — following your heart without looking back — and it is something the three band members might know more about than they let on.“A lot of the songs on the album are written from the point of view of the person I would like to be,” says Gloriana vocalist and guitarist Tom Gossin on the band's website, www.gloriana.com. “Like on ‘(Kissed You) Good Night,' my alter ego comes in and does what I'm afraid to do in real life. It's ultimately a song about not ending up with regrets because the worst thing is to look back on something and think, ‘I wish I had done things differently.'” However, after chatting with Gloriana banjoist and vocalist Mike Gossin — Tom's younger brother — the band seems to exemplify the art of living in the moment.“They say you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket but that's exactly what I did when I was 16,” Mike said. “When you fully commit to something, that's when you succeed.”That was about the time Tom dropped out of college to pursue a music career and Mike joined him.“My uncle gave us an old car. We had a suitcase and guitar each, and drove to Nashville, where we had no place to live,” said Mike, who is now 27. Tom is 30.They scraped by, playing in bars five nights a week. They also discovered the band's third member, vocalist Rachel Reinert, through her Myspace page.“We went through 50 people and loved her voice,” Mike said. “So we sent her a message and tried not to creep her out. She agreed to meet us and I got goosebumps the first time we played together, it was such a good fit.”The band also picked up its fourth member, Cheyenne Kimball, who played with them from 2008 to 2011. Meanwhile, Reinert had a one-bedroom apartment where the band ended up living for a year as they continued to play in bars, subsisting on ramen noodles. They released their debut album, which included their hit single, “Wild at Heart,” in 2009 but the band had yet to find its name.“We went through several names, some of them pretty dorky,” Mike said. “We were in the studio recording ‘Wild at Heart,' when someone spit out, ‘Gloriana,' and it stuck.”Shortly after “Wild at Heart” hit the radio, the band found themselves getting picked up in a whirlwind that changed their lives for good.“We were touring in a van and had just finished playing at a chicken wing sports bar when our record label called and said, ‘Someone's on the phone for you, it's Taylor Swift,'” Mike said. “We thought they were joking. Taylor was like, ‘No, it's really me. I like your song on the radio and I want you on my tour.' After 10 years, it was the phone call we had always waited for.”A week later, Mike found himself in Australia, walking on stage to play for 20,000 people.“One week we're in a van outside a bar, the next we're on our first big stage,” he said. “We were shaking. My heart was pounding. It seemed like our set only lasted a minute, it was such a rush. It felt like a dream, because there you are, the thing you've always waited for, and then it's like, did it happen?”Mike said the experience gave them a little taste of major success.“We had more drive after that tour,” he said. “To play for 20,000 people and then go back to smaller venues keeps you humble and makes you strive to reach that point again.”Another humbling experience the band went through was when Kimball quit unexpectedly last year.“That was tough,” Mike said. “I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, though. It gave us time to reassess things. It made us stronger and feel closer than ever. It's been cool to see everybody get behind us.”Obviously, the band has been through a lot since they started playing in the small apartment, which Mike said really shaped the Gloriana's acoustic sound.“People change over the course of three years,” Mike said. “I think our new album (A Thousand Miles Left Behind) reflects that. We wrote all the songs. Some are experiences on the road and with loved ones. Some are kind of on the outside looking in. We still have that Gloriana sound but it has matured.”And none of it would have happened if the Gossin brothers hadn't had the courage to follow their hearts and hit the road more than 10 years ago. Now Gloriana will open for Thompson Square at Gypsum Daze and it could make for a magical moment.“We've done one or two shows with Thompson Square before,” Mike said. “They're great people. I think our music is a good fit together.”Considering the band's ability to recognize “a good fit,” that statement holds promise.— Derek Franzdfranz@eaglevalleyenterprise.com
What: Seven praise and worship bands from congregations from all over the valley, will perform a community concert.When: Thursday, July 19Time: 6 p.m.Where: Lundgren Theater Park Details: Following the live music, the moving “Courageous” will be screened.
What: Basketball competition for agesWhen: Play begins at noon on Friday, July 20Where: Gypsum Recreation CenterDetails: Teams must include at least three players and there is no cost to register a team, but preregistration is required. Call the Gypsum Recreation Center at (970) 777-8888 for additional information.
What: Fishing derby hosted by the Colorado Division of Parks and WildlifeWhen: Friday, July 20Time: 4 p.m.Where: Gypsum PondsDetails: There is no charge to participate and bait and tackle will be provided. For additional information call (970) 524-7514.
What: Talent competition for youth ages 5 to 17 yearsWhen: Friday, July 20Time: 6 p.m.Where: Lundgren TheaterDetails: The competition field is already set for this event because it was limited to the first 20 participants. Cash prizes are awarded to the winners. Come out and enjoy performances by the area's talented younger set.
When: Friday, July 20Time: 8:30 p.m.Where: Lundgren TheaterDetails: Friday's concert is a free event, open to all ages.
When: Saturday, July 21Time: 7 to 10 a.m.Where: Gypsum Fire Station at 511 Second StreetDetails: Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids ages 12 and younger.
What: The run is a fund-raiser for the Gypsum Public Library and ribbons are awarded for the top three finishers overall and the top three finishers in eight age categoriesWhen: Saturday, July 21Time: 8:30 a.m.Where: Race starts in front of Gypsum Town HallDetails: Register in person at Columbine Market of Gypsum Town Hall through Thursday, July 19. Cost is $10 for advanced registration or $15 on race day. Registration will be accepted at the race site up to 20 minutes prior to the start of the event.
Theme: “Back to the Future”When: Saturday, July 21Time: 11 a.m.Where: Valley RoadDetails: Parade participants should check in between 9:30 and 10 a.m. Judging begins at 10:15 a.m. Parade lineup is at the Columbine Market parking lot. There is no entry fee and cash prizes of $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place go to the winners. For additional information contact Marie Sanders at (970) 524-1740.
What: The show is open to all classic cars, pickup trucks, off road trucks and vehicles, antiques, street rods, muscle cars, racers and toys with awards presented in several categoriesWhen: Saturday, July 21Time: 11 a.m.Where: Town Hall ParkDetails: Registration is $20 on the day of the show with $10 charged for each additional entry. For additional information contact event organizer Steve Carver at (970) 989-0470.
What: Variety of free children's activities planned at Town Hall ParkWhen: Saturday, July 21Time: Noon to 4 p.m.Where: Town Hall ParkDetails: Activities are offered free of charge and include arts and crafts, zip line rides, inflatable jumpers, trail rides, a rock wall, bungee trampoline and more.
When: Saturday, July 21Time: Noon to 4 p.m.Where: Second Street ParkDetails: Preregistration required. Contact Mark Silverthorn at 9(70) 524-7514.
What: Free gun and archery supplies will be provided along with a free cook outWhen: Saturday, July 21Time: Noon to 4 p.m.Where: Gypsum Shooting Sports ParkDetails: A machine gun shoot is also planned, for a nominal fee, at the site beginning at 11 a.m. Children's activities including face painting and balloon animals will also be offered on site. Johnny Cash tribute band Instant Cash will perform from 1 to 3 p.m.
What: Hot treats competition for adults and kidsWhen: Saturday, July 21Time: 1 p.m.Where: Main food tent at Town Park HallDetails: Prizes provided for winners