His mom lives in Port Washington. He went to high school in Cedarburg. His song âBeer on the Tableâ is a Top 20 hit. Heâs Josh Thompson, and heâs a burgeoning country music star.
Six years ago, Josh Thompson was pouring concrete with his father Nick in the family business in Cedarburg.
Today, he can be seen on CBS.com in a series of videos covering his road tour from Nashville to the Academy of Country Music Awards Show in Las Vegas Sunday, April 18.
Heâs not nominated for an award this year, but CBS picks rising stars to feature in its annual Road to the ACM Awards videos. Gloriana and Lady A were featured the last two years.
âIt was a big honor to be chosen. Itâs been an incredible year,â Thompson, 32, said in a phone interview Monday from Nashville.
In the videos, Thompson talks about his life and clips from his Jagermeister tour with Eric Church are shown.
A year ago, Thompson was signed by Sony Columbia Records in Nashville, and itâs been nonstop since then, he said.
Thompsonâs first single âBeer on the Tableâ hit No. 16 on the Billboard country music charts. The title track of his album âWay Out Hereâ was released as a single this week and is already in the Top 40.
A CD release party was held Feb. 22 at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee.
Thompson will be part of Brad Paisleyâs H2O World Tour, a one-year tour that will hit 75 cities in the United States, Canada and Europe and raise money to provide safe, clean water in underdeveloped nations.
Thatâs a long way from pouring concrete foundations and roads.
A 1997 Cedarburg High School graduate, Thompson started working in his fatherâs business when he was 12. He continued to work summers while pursuing a degree in natural resources.
âI didnât start playing the guitar until I was 21,â Thompson said. âI always wanted to learn how to play and sing some songs.
âWhen I learned a couple of chords, I started to write, and it slowly became a necessity for me to write and express that creative side of me.â
When he went to Nashville in 2005, Thompson got a job pouring concrete.
âYouâve got to have a day job when you live in Nashville,â he said.
He last poured concrete in November 2008.
Sony liked his song âGrowing Up is Getting Old,â which was recorded by Jason Michael Carroll for the title track of his album.
âThey wanted to hear more songs and asked if I would have a meeting with them,â Thompson said. âI met with them, played some more songs and left. An hour later they called and said, âWould you like to sign with us?ââ
Lyrics such as âWorking hard all week puts beer on the tableâ and âI blame the cussinâ on my Daddy, good lucks on my Mama, but as for my honky-tonk ways I blame it on Waylonâ resonate with hard working, hard-drinking, hard-playing men and women.
ââBeer on the Tableâ was inspired by that whole lifestyle of working hard all week. You take care of your responsibilities and spend the rest on yourself and having a good time,â Thompson said.
âI would describe my music as honest, real simple country.â
The white Ford Econoline van shown in the videos is the same one Thompsonâs been driving for three years. It has 175,000 miles on it, 65,000 of them logged last year.
âLast week, I was in a bus for the first time and, hopefully, that will be the theme for the rest of the tour,â Thompson said.
Thompson said he constantly writes songs now.
âI write whenever I get a chance,â he said. âThatâs why itâs good to be back in Nashville. I can get together with a friend or two and try to write something cool.â
Thompson spent nine months in the Nicolet National Forest living off the land during a survival class. He took his guitar with him, and thatâs when he decided to pursue his dream in Nashville, his mother Barb Bagles said.
Thompson gets back to Wisconsin whenever he can to visit his mother in Port Washington and his sister Nichol in Cedarburg.
His father, who supported his move to Nashville, didnât get a chance to see his sonâs success. He died three years ago. Thompson picked up the shell casings from the 21-gun salute at his fatherâs funeral and had three of them chrome-plated. He gave one each to his mother and sister and wears the other one around his neck.
More information and music videos are on www.joshthompsonofficial.com.