From the opening line of Thompson’s Square’s turbo-charged “Trans Am,” it’s obvious Keifer and Shawna Thompson are still a fun-loving married couple. Otherwise, Mrs. Thompson might not let her other half get away with singing a suggestive double-entendre like, “She’s fast, she’s loud, looks pretty damn good with her top off.” (Hear the exclusive premiere of “Trans Am” below.)
Penned by the ACM- and CMA-award-winning couple with Blair Daly and Nathan Chapman (who has produced albums for Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and the Band Perry, among others), “Trans Am” is the first taste of the duo’s upcoming album. The new LP marks the first time Thompson Square have worked with super-producer Dann Huff, who co-produced the new music with Mickey Jack Cones.
When it came time to jump into their “Trans Am,” the ride was a pretty smooth one, according to Keifer.
“Blair Daly had the title and we all jumped on it,” he tells Rolling Stone Country of their writing session. “I’ve wanted that car ever since I can remember, especially after I saw Smokey and the Bandit, of course. We both love American muscle cars and that’s, without a doubt, one of the most identifiable representations of American muscle.”
“I’m definitely a child of the Eighties,” Shawna adds. “When I think late Seventies, early Eighties, the Trans Am Firebird was, and still is the sexiest car ever.”
Those freewheeling decades are well-represented in “Trans Am”‘s grooves (think Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” meets Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise”), and that feel-good vibe is in the driver’s seat of the new LP.
“We wanted this album to reflect what our live show is like,” Shawna explains. “It’s a very tempo-driven project and probably represents us more than both of its predecessors.”
“We’re continually influenced by all music and life in general and that’s what creates growth,” Keifer adds. “This album is just our current state of mind. More now than ever, we want to show the world this more aggressive side of Thompson Square. It’s a lot of fun for us.”
Along with a more aggressive sound throughout, Keifer hints that the upcoming album will focus less on the couple’s status and husband and wife, although he admits there will most likely be a love song or two.
“This album is going to be very different from any other we’ve done,” he says. “We really focused on writing great songs and not giving much thought to the ‘married couple’ aspect of who we are. It was extremely liberating for us not to paint ourselves into that corner.”
Not surprisingly, when it comes to their own first cars, although neither was a Trans Am, both were mid-Eighties models. Keifer’s was a 1984 Buick Skylark.
“It was without a doubt the biggest piece of junk I ever drove,” he confesses. “But we had the most fun in it. I really should keep these stories to myself . . . for everyone’s sake.”
Shawna’s first car, a 1984 Toyota Corolla, was a hand-me-down that her brother had wrecked.
“My parents never fixed the hood,” she says. “So I drove it proudly with a busted-up hood and windshield wipers that didn’t work. It did have a sunroof, so we would stick our heads and arms out and wipe the windshield manually. Good times!”
Thompson’s Square’s as-yet-untitled third album, the follow-up to 2013’s Just Feels Good, is due later this spring. Download “Trans Am” here.