Special to the Bulletin
Chris Thompson of Erath County will be one of the featured performers at this September’s Brownwood Reunion Celebration, opening for John Michael Montgomery. Thompson has a discovery story that could rival anything out of Hollywood.
Thompson was literally discovered overnight while working as a dockhand in a remote fishing camp in Northern Canada. Within six months, Thompson was recording his debut country rock album in Nashville with top caliber musicians and hanging out at singer Jewel’s spread in Central Texas.
“My head hasn’t stopped spinning,” said Thompson, now living at a ranch near Stephenville.
Jay Presti, with OLP Media Solutions who signed on as Thompson’s publicist related the story.
“My crew and I along with Bart Johnson and his sons were spending a little time at this great fishing lodge in the middle of ‘no-where’ in far North Canada,” Presti said. “We first met Chris early in the morning, busy helping out on the dock. That night, he picked up his guitar and entertained us around the campfire. Bart and I were blown away. Not only could this kid sing but there was something very new to his sound. It was a sweet blend of traditional country music with a distinctively rock twist, new and different. It was a blend of Texas and Canada country rock — Texadian is the only way to describe it.”
According to a front-page article in the Star-Phoenix, a newspaper in Saskatoon, a city of 220,000, the success story did not come without years of hard work on Thompson’s part, not to mention a good measure of luck.
Thompson said he got his first guitar at age 10 and never put it down after that. He said his good luck started in high school at an outdoor concert.
“My buddies and I went to a huge outdoor festival in Saskatoon. Billie Joe’s band Green Day was the headliner and we were as close as possible to the stage. Billie Joe started asking a few people to join him on the stage. His bass player pointed me out — me, a 17-year-old kid. Before I knew it, I was on stage in front of 22,000 people. I played my heart out. I did back flips, Eddie Van Halen kicks, and I learned a new song from Billie Joe in three seconds — it was perfect! The crowd roared and I felt like I had been shot out of a cannon.”
A little later Thompson formed his own band, cut three albums and performed across Canada and on the stage with leading rock bands. Things stopped for a while when his band split up.
“I went back home to the prairies and the music I’d listened to when I was growing up and helping my granddad on the family farm, but I still continued writing and playing,” he said. “I was working at various places, going to school, and still performing on my own when I could. It was then that I began to realize that my music had really changed. And, it felt good. Whether anyone listened or not, I decided I wasn’t going to stop.”
Thompson said that he felt like he had finally discovered himself.
“Not long afterwards, I got discovered — it was wonderful and weird at the same time,” he said.
Thompson will perform on the main stage on Saturday night, Sept. 15, immediately before John Michael Montgomery. Tickets will be available on line at www.BrownwoodTx.com, various businesses and at both the Brownwood Area and Early chambers of commerce in the coming weeks.