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Josh Thompson talks 'Cold Beer'

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Country singer-songwriter Josh Thompson plays Funshine Music Festival in Tampa Sunday and then Joyland in Bradenton May 10. COURTESY PHOTO

Beer has been good to Josh Thompson. The country singer-songwriter first tasted stardom in 2009 with “Beer on the Table.” Beer played a big role in his following hit song “Won’t Be Lonely Long.” Thompson’s highly anticipated next single, his first for Toby Keith’s record company Show Dog – Universal Music, will be about beer, too. It’s called “Cold Beer with Your Name on It.”

“It’s a love song,” Thompson said, with a chuckle, during a phone interview. “It’s about a guy who’s really missing a girl and has a cold beer with her name on it waiting, if she’s wanting to come back.”

Thompson plans to perform the new single, which he thinks will be issued to radio in June, Friday when he returns to Joyland, the Bradenton country music club he has packed several times in recent years.

“I love that place,” the 35-year-old Thompson said. “The fans are just rowdy, right up on the stage and there to have a good time.”

Thompson first played Joyland to support “Beer on the Table,” a song the Wisconsin native wrote while trying to make in Music City. It’s a rollicking ditty with universally-appealing lyrics about getting up every morning “before that rooster crows, heading straight to somewhere (you) don’t even want to go” to pay the bills and afford life’s simple pleasures.

“I was working construction in the concrete business in Nashville trying to juggle a songwriting career,” Thompson said. “I was just working hard so I could buy beer on the weekend.”

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Josh Thompson/COURTESY PHOTO

The success of “Beer on the Table” led to Thompson’s 2010 major label debut album “Way out Here.” The album’s title track became the singer-songwriter’s next single and second Top 20 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, also crossing over to the Hot 100 pop survey. There have been countless songs inspired by Hank William Jr.’s anthem “A Country Boy Can Survive.” “Way Out Here” is one of the best. It features a sing along chorus closing with the memorable line, “We're about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere way out here.”

“It’s one of those things that just fell out in the right place at the right time,” Thompson said of the lyric. “It was definitely one of those light bulb moments where you go, ‘Hey, that’s cool.’”

Another country music icon gets the tribute treatment on the boot-stomping “Blame it on Waylon.” Thompson credits Waylon Jennings, a pioneer of the Outlaw Country movement of the 1970s, for his “don't care attitude and long hair and meaning every damn word I'm singing.”

“I think I was like 15 when I started digging old country and I heard Waylon and I guess there was just something infectious about the beat, his songs just stuck,” Thompson said. “Then I started learning the stories, about these guys spending late nights at honky tonks and you want to experience that, too.”

The album “Way Out Here,” which cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s country chart, received a third boost with the single “Won’t Be Lonely Long.” It starts out as a tear-in-the-beer ballad but quickly picks up speed and becomes a party declaration with a lesson: Don’t dump your man “at seven o'clock on a Friday night;” because he will go out to the nearest bar, drink a bunch of beer and have a good time.

“That was personal,” Thompson said. “Just about getting broken up with on a Friday night and how awesome it can be.”

10 p.m. Friday (May 10), Joyland, 5520 14th St W, Bradenton; $10 (advance), $15; 756-6060; joylandcountry.com
Last modified: May 16, 2013
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