Templeton Thompson knows a thing or two about bouncing back. At age 16, the then fledgling guitarist suffered an accident that all but severed two of the fingers on her left hand. “I’ve been a horse girl since I was born, I knew how to be around horses but on that particular day, I was working during a polo match & was going to tie up a polo pony (who i thought was loose, i later found out, he had been abused & there was a reason why he'd been left untied, unfortunately for both of us, no one had let ME know)...the horse pulled back & bless his beauty~full heart, i think of him often, i know he was more scared that day than I was...my hand got caught between the lead rope and the stock trailer i was planning to tie him to & the rest is as they say, history & now, i'm "stronger in the broken places":)…& that’s why I play “lefty,” she says. Eight surgeries managed to save the fingers but left her with very limited mobility in that hand. “I couldn’t make chords with that hand after that, but I could hold a pick…and I still had music in me that needed a way out… so I got a left handed guitar and started over. Honestly, I didn’t think that much about it and I never thought of it as a handicap, never do. I can’t make the peace sign with my left hand and it does limit my “non-verbal communication” with, say, a rude driver;) but, honestly it was more like, well, there’s that… what’s next?”
When Templeton’s music did find a way out, it was in a big way. After moving to Nashville, she landed her first publishing deal and soon her songs were being recorded by million-selling country artists like Reba McEntire, Jo Dee Messina, Little Texas and others. “I was blown away when I heard that Reba was cutting one of my songs…it was my first “big” cut and Reba is one of my musical heroes. I was FLOORED when they called and asked me to sing on the record!” Others were asking her to sing as well and it wasn’t long before Templeton was the first-call session vocalist for many of Nashville’s other top songwriters. “I got to sing hundreds of demos for some great writers. It was a great way to learn how to make records.”
While her Music Row career was flourishing, Thompson was also feeling the pull of the world outside of Nashville. “I wanted to get out and play… I’d toured a pretty good bit, a few trips to Europe, a three-month house gig at a little place in Japan… I was also playing around Nashville some… The Bluebird Café, that sort of thing, but the main focus at the time was writing so I was spending more time on the Row than on the road.” So, in 2003, Templeton (along with her husband/co-writer/producer Sam Gay) hit the road. “We put together my first CD “i remember you,” inspired by my work with EAGALA (the Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association, www.eagala.org), had a thousand copies pressed up and headed for Texas. We were aware of the great music scene in Texas and I’m a Texas girl so, when we decided to really focus on touring, that’s where the compass pointed.”
Templeton released her first single “if i didn’t need the money” to Texas radio in 2004. “Sam and I felt like Loretta and Doolittle Lynn driving from one radio station to another all over Texas.” The effort landed the song in the top-5 on the Texas Music Chart for 7 weeks and her CD “i still feel” was voted by Texas DJs and program directors as one of the top releases of 2004. “We played so much in Texas that a lot of our Nashville buddies thought we’d moved out there and, in a way, we kind of did. We’d leave home, be gone for 2 or 3 weeks then come back to the house for 3 or 4 days then back out for another long Texas run. We played everything from funky little beer joints to the Astrodome at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was sort of like my boot camp as a touring artist.”
In those times when Templeton is not on the road, she can almost always be found in the pasture behind her little white farm house in Dickson County, TN pursuing her other great passion, horses. “I did some barrel racing when I was a kid in Texas, fox hunted some as a teenager in Maryland and was on the University of Virginia Riding Team and the UVA Polo Team but, more than that, horses have always been my refuge. I don’t know of anything more healing for me, than burying my tear-soaked self in my horses' manes.” In 2005 Thompson began including major horse events in her touring schedule. “It was kind of a natural progression, horses have been such a huge part of my life and they keep showing up in my songs so playin’ for horse lovin’ people seemed like the next right thing to do. Plus, it gave us the chance to play for thousands of people on a given weekend at the bigger horse expos. Up until a while ago, I was taking my mare “Jane” to some of the bigger events, singing from her back & setting her free in the arena & playing with her at liberty:) Performing with her is one of my favorite things to do, she’s a ROCKSTAR.” Now, Jane's a Breyer Model horse (they made TWO models of her, one for our "girls & horses" music video & a special holiday limited edition that was only sold in Tractor Supply Company stores & included a cd with our tune, "happy yee~halidays.") They called Jane's model, "Templeton Thompson's Jane" but I think it should've been the other way around since I belong to HER!!;) Now Jane gets to spend her time just bein' a horse with her ROCKSTAR baby brother, Beau, but, you never know where & when you'll see me & my baby girl performing again, always dreamin' BIG!!;) Jane & Beau teach me something new, everyday...besides always working on being a better singer, songwriter, artist & musician, i'm constantly working on being a better cowgirl for my kiddos:) I feel like Jane & I got our "Grammy" in the horse world, now it's time to get that Grammy in the music world I've been shootin' for, dreamin' BIG * workin' hard & havin' faith!!:)"
To date, Templeton has recorded seven CDs, all on her own “rêve rêcords” label. “It’s hard to believe we’re getting ready to start working on our eighth one. When we got that first thousand of the first record I thought “how in the world are we gonna sell all these CDs? I think I still get that feeling a little, when we get big shipments even after selling quite a few thousand. We’re literally a mom and pop shop. Sam and I handle every aspect of getting our music “out there” from writing to producing and recording, layout and design, photography, web design, marketing, distribution…it’s a lot of hats to wear and it can be challenging to keep up with everything but we don’t have to run anything past a committee. The music goes straight from us to the listener…unfiltered…it isn’t run past a room full of “suits” trying to decide what people want to hear. The PEOPLE get to decide what they want to hear and I think that’s a good thing.”
Of the ups and downs of life as an independent recording artist, Templeton says, “You know, we’ve been broke at times and we’ve had it pretty good at others but there’s never been a time when I haven’t loved and appreciated what I get to do to make a living. I learned from ridin’ horses all these years, sometimes you get bucked off and you can either bounce back up and keep goin’ or you can walk away. I guess I’m a bouncer. I know I’m a blessed cowgirl!”
Music Row Magazine’s Robert Oermann reviewed the title track of Templeton’s “life on planet cowgirl” CD. ”The title tune to this lady’s latest is a rippling little gem. Sparkling guitar licks, a heartfelt vocal and a sunny lyric are the calling cards here.”
Oermann’s take on Templeton’s Texas Radio hit.
TEMPLETON THOMPSON/If I Didn't Need the Money
-"Templeton Thompson," love the name. It sounds like the moniker of a star. And, happily, her zesty vocal sounds star-like, too. There's energy and fire in this upbeat country-rocker.