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A conversation with country newcomer Josh Thompson

Josh Thompson performing in concert. Photo by Jessica Bray

Lately, I had the opportunity to talk with country music singer Josh Thompson about his latest single, being one of the hottest bachelors, and being out on the road.  Thompson was picked as one of our top men in country music to watch in 2010.  Below is our conversation:

Kentucky Country Music:  How have you been doing lately? 

Josh Thompson:  It’s been going great. I’ve been extremely busy so far over the last week and a half. The last four days has been like 2 flights a day, get in do a radio show. I’ve been hitting some cool places, like Bakersfield at the Crystal Palace, which I’ve always loved going. We were in Boise, Idaho last night and just flew into Bozeman, Montana to do these four dates with Gary Allan and Jack Ingram.

It sounds like you’re having a blast.

JT:  As you know, I don’t like flying. I will drive for 3 days straight just to get there.

One of the things that the fans have asked me to ask you is, how does it feel to have the honor of being Country Weekly’s #3 Hottest Bachelor?

JT:  (Laughing) It feels great for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that it was a fan voted thing. Judy [head of the Josh Thompson Fans Group on Twitter/Facebook] worked her butt off and voted a lot. The fans kind of dictate of who wins and that’s great to me that I’m getting the support from the fans. When I got into this whole thing I never really realized that there was the possibility of being one of the hottest bachelors. It’s a little weird. I’ve been getting made fun of by my buddies back home.

They’re kinda ribbing you about it? What do the guys in the band think?

JT:  
“Hey hottest bachelor!” is what they have been hollering.

When was the first time that you actually took to the stage to perform?

JT:  
The first time ever in my life would have to be in church and in school plays. As far as singing, I can’t remember the very first place for some reason. It was in Milwaukee at some biker bar. A couple of buddies of mine and myself put a little band together and did a couple of shows. We weren’t very good.

Fast forward to now, you recently performed on the Grand Ole Opry. What was running through your mind as you sang in the circle that Johnny Cash, Porter Waggoner, all the great performers have played?

JT:  It was probably one of the most humbling experiences you can go through as a country singer I think . It’s just there. It’s a big flood of emotions. It’s like what am I doing here; all of my heroes have stood here, everything that the Opry means. I think about that when I sing and when I’m not singing during the parts where the band is just playing. I just take it all in and look down the audience and try to live the moment standing in that circle. I think that thing will never get old.

I’ve been in the circle during a tour of the Opry. It was a great experience, but I could never imagine what it would be like up on that stage as a performer with the crowd cheering you on.

JT:  It is an amazing experience.

You have the song, “Blame it on Waylon,” and have said before that you are influenced by Waylon Jennings and many others. Did you have the opportunity to see Waylon live or meet him?

JT:  I never did and I never had the opportunity to see him live or meet him unfortunately. I never got a chance to see Conway or Johnny either. I have seen Merle and Jones quite a bit.

How are you handling the constant attention you are dealing with now as compared to being when you were alone in the wilderness for 9 months?

JT:  It’s definitely shocking, but it’s okay. Sometimes I don’t get much attention. These days I’m just traveling to one place for a night. You go do the show, sign, and you pretty much got the rest of the night, or at least 4 hours to sleep before you catch the next flight. There are times mainly before shows that I’m hanging out that people will recognize me and the attention starts. I definitely don’t want to avoid fan contact. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming, but at the end of the day, I would meet all of them if I could.

You recently upgraded to a new tour bus. I’ve had a lot of people ask me what happened to Van-A-White (Josh’s white van). What happened to the van & where is Van Wilder at?

JT:  Van Wilder (official spokes doll) is sitting in my room and Van-A-White has been retired from the music industry.

You have been a part of a strong elite group of Nashville songwriters that includes Arlis Albritton, Lisa Torres, Karleen Watts, and many more. Is there anyone that you hope to write with one day or someone you’ve recently written with that you thought you would never co-write a song with?

JT:  I recently wrote with Dean Dillon. I have an appointment on the books with John Anderson. Those are two guys I never, God, never knew was in the realm of possibility The fact that those things are happening, those two are legends, and to sit down with them is like what do I deserve to be here. I’ve listened to their stories and those guys are cut from the same mold and came from the same background. Everyone move to town and had a dream and those guys are as humble as the day they moved to town for the most part.

I can say that Kentucky is delighted to have you and Ashley Ray to perform at the Froggy Field Party in July in Owenton. They wanted me to tell you howdy.
JT:  Tell them I said howdy back.

You are headlining this show and you have opened shows for Jamey Johnson, Dierks Bentley, and recently Eric Church. What can fans expect with you being a headliner as compared to opening a show?

JT:  I will have more time as usually I have about 30 to 45 minutes. In this case, I have 75 or 90 minutes. We’ll be able to do the whole album, do some new songs that will hopefully be on the second album and some of my favorite covers of course.

Right now you have “Way Out Here” as a single and it’s gaining airplay and attention. Have you had any thoughts as to the next single will be after this or just focusing on “Way Out Here?”
JT:  I’m really trying to focusing on “Way Out Here” and supporting it. It’s doing great. It’s kicking Beer on the Table’s butt by a long shot. I would like to see “Sinner” become a single.

Soon you will be going out on tour with Brad Paisley on the H2O tour. Are there any towns that you’re looking forward to playing on that tour?

JT:  I haven’t really sat down and looked at where we’re all going. To be honest, I’m excited to get to every town because everyone is going to be someplace new whether I’ve played the town before or not. It’s going to be at a new venue and put me in front a lot more people. I’m excited about getting to every one of them.

Watch out for Brad’s pranks!
JT:
 That’s what I hear that he’s good at pranking.

What do you think your dad would say about your success if he was here today?
JT:  I think he would say he’s proud of me and to make sure that my feet stay on the ground. I’m sure that’s probably close to what he would say.

After speaking with Josh Thompson, I can say that his feet are planted firmly on the ground. Even as his career is gaining momentum, he is still humble and taking it all in. Be sure to pick up a copy of Josh Thompson’s new album, “Way Out Here,” featuring the title track that is climbing up the charts. Kentucky fans can check him out on July 9, 2010 during the Froggy 104.9 FM Field Party in Owenton, Kentucky, at the Owen County Fairgrounds.

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