Thompson Square, the married country duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson who last played at Country Thunder in 2012, will this year be headlining day one of the festival. The Explorer caught up with Keifer by phone to get his thoughts on the upcoming performance, as well as what it’s like working with his wife.Explorer: “You liked Country Thunder enough to return this year. What’s your favorite thing about this music festival?”Keifer: “The reaction we got last time was amazing, so you take it back to the people. We had a blast. You just couldn’t keep us away.”E: “What do you think of the fans at Country Thunder?”K: “They’re our lifeblood. It’s really important for them to know that they’re the reason we do what we do. The feeling they give us is just as important as the feeling we give them.”E: “You guys will be headlining this year. Is there any added pressure or excitement?
If you’re not having fun during Colt Ford’s show at Country Thunder this April, you need to check yourself – and that’s a message from the man himself.In a phone interview with Ford on Thursday, the Georgia native said while this is his first trip to Florence for Country Thunder, he plans to bring down the house.“I promise I’ll give you all a fat guy’s got,” Ford said. “I play hard. I play loud. I have fun. I want the fans to see I’m having a good time out there, and if they see I’m having fun, chances are they’ll have fun. It’s just the way I do it. I couldn’t be more excited to play out there.”While a newbie to Country Thunder, Ford is no stranger to big shows, having played all over the country in music festivals alongside some of country’s most recognizable names.In fact, Ford will soon be touring with one of those big names – Toby Keith – this summer in the “Shut Up and Hold On Tour.”Ford, who says he is a big fan of Keith’s, has been increasing his own fan base exponentially over the years with such hits as “Dirt Road Anthem,” originally composed by Ford and fellow artist Brantley Gilbert, and later covered by Jason Aldean in his 2010 album. Ford also co-wrote Gilbert’s “Country Must be Country Wide,” and Aldean’s “My Kinda Party.”
Easton Corbin is making a lot of good decisions these days. Luckily for country fans, one of those is to take part in his first-ever Country Thunder concert in Florence this April.Corbin, who goes on stage Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m., isn’t new to Arizona though, having performed at several festivals and concerts, including a show last year at the Marana Health Center.“There are some great fans out there, I love it,” Corbin said about what keeps drawing him back to Arizona.Corbin was the 2010 ACM winner of Single by a Breakthrough Artist and Music Video by a Breakthrough Artist (each for “A Little More Country Than That”), and his career has only continued in the right direction with later hits like “Roll With It,” “I Can’t Love You Back,” “Lovin’ You is Fun,” and “All Over the Road.”With so many hits to pick from, Corbin said if he had to choose a favorite song of his, he would go back to his roots.“I’d have to say, “It’s a Little More Country Than That,” said Corbin. “That’s the one that got me started.”
The winner of season three of The Voice, Cassadee Pope has quickly made a name for herself in the country music industry, as marked by her platinum-selling success in “Wasting All These Tears.” Now, she’s continuing to ride wave that brought her to success as she gears up to take part in her first-ever Country Thunder music festival from April 10-13 in Florence.The Explorer caught up with her by phone to see how she’s feeling about it.Explorer: “You’re attending Country Thunder for the first time. Are you excited?”Cassadee: “Of course I’m excited. I heard about it a while ago, and I’m a fan of everyone else that plays there. I’ve heard it’s hot there, but I’m a Florida girl, so I can handle it. Most of all, I heard the crowd is insane, which is the best part when you’re gonna play a show.”E: “What should fans expect to see from you on stage?”C: “The thing I like about playing live is having people get to know me a little better, so they’ll definitely see more of my personality come out. On The Voice, you know, I sang a song a week, and that’s how people voted for me – they heard me sing. It wasn’t really about a personal thing, and I hope people get to see my live show and leave there knowing me better.”
When country music star Craig Morgan is asked why he’s returning to Country Thunder in Florence for the second time in three years, his answer is simple: “Fans and money.”“If somebody wants to pay us and the fans want to see us, we’re there,” Morgan said in a phone interview. “As long as that happens, I’ll keep doing it.”And if Morgan’s last appearance at Country Thunder in 2012 is an indicator, fans will no doubt flock to see him when he goes on stage Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m.Twice nominated for Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards’ Top New Male Vocalist (2006, 2007), Morgan is also the winner of Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards’ Video of the Year and Mainstream Country Artist, and has charted 17 times on the Billboard country charts.The list of Morgan’s hits, which include “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” and “International Harvester,” has only expanded since 2012.“I’m still Craig Morgan. I’m the same guy I was last time I was there, I’ve just got more hits, and a beard,” he said.
Miranda Lambert is a household name in country music, and after increasing fan demand, she will be returning to Country Thunder this year. The Explorer chatted with her to preview her headline performance on Saturday, April 12 at 9 p.m.Explorer: “You're returning to Country Thunder for the second time. What made you decide to come back?”Miranda Lambert: “Arizona has some amazing country fans as does the Country Thunder festivals. Who doesn't want to come back and play for this kind of crowd?"E: “As a famous country artist, you've been all over the U.S. What's unique about performing in this setting? What do you like about Arizona?"M: “Like I said, Arizona is full of country fans who really get into the music and like hanging with us for a night. It's always such a high when you perform in front of that many country fans at one time and they sing along to your songs. They are there for a love of music and are eager to be entertained. Those are the best nights”E: “Your husband, Blake Shelton, put on a great show in 2012. Now it's your turn. Do you guys have friendly competitions as to who can "outdo" the other?”