Less than three weeks ago, the husband-wife singing duo Thompson Square was at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, accepting their first nomination for two Country Music Association awards.
On Friday, they'll perform at a honky-tonk in a Tampa strip mall for a small, appreciative audience at the Round Up.
It's been quite a year for the country couple, and it's not over yet. On Nov. 9, Keifer and Shawna Thompson are up for CMA's New Artist of the Year and Vocal Duo of the Year.
They have a catchy, sassy single to thank.
Keifer puts it bluntly: Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not "changed our life.''
Keifer, 37, and Shawna, 33, are no strangers to Tampa. The duo performed this summer with Jason Aldean during his tour stop at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre. They spoke with tbt* while on a stop in Michigan, still high from the news of the nominations.
Congratulations on your two CMA award nominations. How does it feel?
Keifer: I don't know. I've never had anything this cool happen to me before so I'll have to get back to you on that. (Laughs) It might take another week or two for it to sink in.
Who's going to give the acceptance speech if you win?
Shawna: Well, we'll probably share. When I was a kid my whole family would sit around and watch the CMAs. I got excited one night and went into the kitchen and grabbed a mason jar and started giving an acceptance speech to everybody. I was probably 8 or 10 years old.
What's it like working and performing with your spouse?
Keifer: It's wonderful. We wouldn't have it any other way. It's the only way we know how to do it.
What was the thought behind naming it Thompson Square rather than Thompson Squared?
Keifer: "Squared," I thought was mathematical for two, and come to find out, it's not. (Laughs.) Nobody could hear the "D" so we just dropped it. We thought we were going to be crafty, but it was just that much harder to pronounce.
By taking out the "D" you kind of made it into a place.
Shawna: Keifer and I are both from real small towns that have small-town squares, so it kind of reminded me of home.
How did you two meet?
Shawna: We met at this place called the National Nightlife in Nashville back in 1996. They had this weekly singing contest and we got there and have been together ever since. He asked me to play a game of pool and thought he was going to be all Rico Suave and show me how to hold a pool stick. He found out pretty quick that my dad had taught me how to play pool when a was a girl. I beat him pretty bad.
Your lives have dramatically changed in the past year. Is there anything you miss?
Keifer: Nope. (Laughs) We moved to Nashville to do this. We're happy to be where we're at and very thankful.
Shawna: We miss our dog. We don't get to see him a whole lot.
What did you think of Scotty McCreery singing Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not on American Idol?
Shawna: We didn't get to see it the night he did it because we were on vacation on a cruise. We didn't have any cell service or anything, and when we pulled into the port, our emails started blowing up and texts were saying, "Scotty McCreery sang your song on American Idol."
Keifer: I didn't even know who he was.
Shawna: Nobody told us it was going down so we were kind of blindsided by it, but it was a pleasant blindside.
Keifer: The cool thing for me about it was that (producer and record-label founder) Jimmy Iovine picked the song for him. I really hold him in high regard with the Tom Petty stuff and everything else. So to compare our record with a Petty record is pretty amazing. We all freaked out.