Thompson Square – Just Feels Good
***½ (out of 4 stars)
Label: Stoney Creek Records
(Photo above: Thompson Square’s 2013 album, Just Feels Good. Photo by Joseph Anthony Baker, courtesy of Dashboard Media.)
I suspect the first big, must-have, country anthem of the summer has just been released. It’s a driving, insistent up-tempo song titled “Here’s To Being Here.” I can already see it as the opening number from a live concert. If it’s been too long since you’ve heard some live country music, this song will validate your choice to get out to that concert and let your soul be happier than usual for a few hours. (Here’s a link to Thompson Square’s touring schedule, by the way). You can find “Here’s To Being Here” on Thompson Square’s Just Feels Good — the husband-wife duo’s latest celebration of life, love and their life together in love. Their music pushes country music in the right direction with a hipness that’s anything but “square.”
Just Feels Good tells an upbeat love story that reflects of the duo’s rise in the country music scene. Keifer and Shawna Thompson drew instant attention when they first shared their soul-infused pop-country songs. For their refreshing earthiness mixed with sophistication they were rewarded with awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music for Duo of the Year. When you’re a new country act, I bet that just feels good.
It’s not a perfect album (I could live without having to fast-forward “Testing The Water,” for instance), but what album is? For a second release, it is solid stuff that captures the duo’s charismatic presence and makes you want to get in on their flirty relationship. On the other hand, one of the most effective tracks on the album is “If I Didn’t Have You.” It’s a song perfectly suited for Thompson Square’s strengths, and it has “hit” written all over it.
Thompson Square – “If I Didn’t Have You”…
If their stunning self-titled debut album defined who Thompson Square was, then Just Feels Good shares how they feel. It is a musical autobiography of sorts of their profound connectedness at this moment. And what a moment it is — after paying their dues as working musicians on Nashville’s Lower Broadway they co-wrote a breakout Grammy-nominated hit, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”, they were named Billboard’s No. 1 New Country Artist in 2011, and they won all those awards for Vocal Duo of the Year. It makes me wonder why the final track on Just Feels Good wasn’t just titled “Happy Ending.” Maybe because, as with most happy endings, this is still just the beginning. In a promising year of album releases, with this album Stoney Creek Records should already be proud of the music they’ve given us in 2013.
Essential Downloads: “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” “That’s So Me And You,” “If I Didn’t Have You,” “Here’s To Being Here,” “Just Feels Good,” “Run.”
To preview or purchase this album on iTunes, click here.
As a tribute to the new album released today by country music husband and wife duo, Thompson Square, here’s a look at some of Nashville’s favorite couples, past and present… (click here).