The sophomore album by Josh Thompson, "Turn It Up," was released this week, and although the release date may have given others pause, Tuesday, April 1 was a natural for Josh, who tells Nashville Edge, "With my sense of humor, April Fools' Day is of course the day I'm going to release a record. Some people would probably be really superstitious of it but I'm not, I think it's hilarious."
As funny as putting out a long-awaited album on that prank-filled day can be, Josh took making it seriously, especially since his debut had come out in 2010, followed by an album that to date remains unreleased. Still, he stayed busy on the road building his fan base and eventually changing record labels from Columbia Nashville to Show Dog-Universal for "Turn It Up."
"I had five years of playing in front of my fans experience to draw from, so when I was writing and putting this record together it had to be something that would translate live very well," he says. "It had to be something that would go over well with my fans and that they would love and want to come out and hear more of -- and something that I thought would create more of a reaction, whether it's singing or raising a glass."
The Wisconsin native moved to Music City in 2005, and in 2009 co-wrote the title cut of a Jason Michael Carroll album.
"I've written more songs," he says of the time between his last album and now. "I'm more comfortable with it. I've found new places to go lyrically and melodically. You can't help but grow as you mature and life goes on; you just get different experiences. It all influences and affects your songwriting, especially when it comes to something creative."
When it came to giving the album a title, "Turn It Up," one of the disc's high-energy tracks, fit the bill nicely. "I was looking for a title that would describe this record, and that's it," Josh explains. "It's about turning up the feel-good and turning up the crazy and it's not just about the music. It's just about turning up the good times and leaving out all the negative stuff that's going on in your life and just turning up the fun for a little bit. And that definitely is what this record means to me."
While Josh may be adding to his fan base on a weekly basis, there's one thing he recently let go of that he had been working on for more than a decade—his signature ponytail—although he doesn't really miss it.
"I love it!" he says enthusiastically about his new look. "It's a lot easier now. I don't really notice it. Maybe when I reach to grab my hair, I definitely notice it but I don't notice it just sitting here."
What we could we donated to Locks of Love," he says of the discarded hair. "It's funny because it took I don't know how many years to grow my hair that long and only two seconds to cut it all off. I think I started growing it in 2003, so 2002 would've been my last haircut of any significance."
Unlike Samson, however, Josh Thompson's strength isn't in his hair, but in his solid, working-class tunes and his easygoing charm, both of which are well-supplied throughout "Turn It Up." And that's just what he wanted to bring to the party in 2014.
"I hope this is the record that [country fans] choose when they're out on the lake all day, road tripping, partying, whatever," he says. "I hope that this thing kind of outlines their summer."
Summer, it seems, came early this year, and that's no April Fool's joke.