Published June 14. 2014 4:59PM Updated June 14. 2014 11:57PM
Loved this moment during Thompson Square’s Friday concert at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den: singer Keifer Thompson asked who in the crowd was there just because it was a free show and didn’t really have any idea who Thompson Square was.
Some folks raised their hands.
Thompson then did something rather smart. He gave a few of the country duo’s CDs to the uninitiated so they could learn more about Thompson Square. Nothing like creating good will — and new fans.
Chances are, he won’t have to do that much longer because Thompson Square seems bound to become more and more famous. This husband-and-wife team of Keifer and Shawna Thompson is a country act on the rise.
Their music is, honestly, more pop than country. But so many Nashville artists have strayed from the strict confines of old-school C&W that that is no longer a sin.
What makes Thompson Square such a force is, simply, that they’re really good. Their harmonies flow like honey, and their songs bump with a fresh liveliness. Man, their tunes know from catchy; the choruses on “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” and “Testing the Water” are irresistible sing-along material.
It’s not just that Thompson Square’s songs betray a pop-rock influence, by the way. They slipped songs from that genre right into the midst of their own on Friday. They worked a bit of Great Big World’s “Say Something” into “I Can’t Outrun You.” While singing “You Don’t Get Lucky,” they segued into U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Keifer’s best vocals of the night were when he hit notes and runs on that U2 cover that even Bono hasn’t tried.
As for Shawna’s pinnacle, her crystalline voice proved particularly stunning and pure on the emotional ballad “Glass.”
Keifer and Shawna share a comfortable rapport — as they should, considering they’ve been married for 15 years. She playfully grabbed his shoulder during “I Got You.” They sang “If I Didn’t Have You” directly to each other, ending it with a kiss.
It did take the duo a while to really win over the crowd. Part of that was a function of a show’s natural momentum, but part, too, was that they need to project and connect better with concert-goers, all the way to the last row — which, in the case of the Wolf Den, means the folks ringing the venue’s perimeter.
And for those audience members who got a free Thompson Square CD? Lucky you. Listen and enjoy.