Kate Thompson's Out of the Box

Reviewed by Susan Cox

Looking for something a little different? How about a forty-something classic rocker from Australia making it big with twenty- and thirty-something Americans?

With her first United States release hitting the shelves last month and a promotional tour just kicking off, Kate Thompson is proving that sometimes bending industry standards can work.

Thompson is undeniably a diversion from the standard fare. She maintains that her experiences as a wife and mother have been the fertile ground from which much of her songwriting has grown.

"I can't write about things I haven't experienced or felt," she says. "My songs aren't all factual events, but they are taken from emotions and experiences at different points in my life. They all seem to be pretty universal themes, though."

Thompson isn't the only member of her family with musical talent; two of her children are also in the band. Shallie plays keyboard and Shaun is the drummer. Rounding out the family affair, Thompson's husband plays bass and son-in-law Jonathan is the band's sound man at concerts.

"Having been in a number of bands back in Australia, you always have to tread carefully around someone," she says.

"You have to be conscious of stepping on one another's toes. With my family, someone can have an off day or a disagreement, but we still love each other.

"Everyone really does like everyone here, and that's part of the chemistry that makes us exciting live. Of course, genetics play a part in that special vocal blend we get, too."

The most recent addition to the band has also been the most influential in mapping Thompson's current direction. Record producer Clifford Madison Watkins met Thompson after he relocated to Atlanta when his stint with Tears for Fears ended. He soon set about arranging, engineering and producing Thompson's new album, Out of the Box.

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Last modified 8/8/95