A self-described “hillbilly from East Tennessee,” Tara Thompson was raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, surrounded by the familiar sights of small-town life — bars, mobile homes, lawns dotted with pink flamingos — that would eventually fill the songs on her debut album for The Valory Music Co. Thompson, the young cousin of Loretta Lynn, left home as a teenager and moved to Nashville, becoming a regular performer at several popular honky-tonks downtown. She sang there for six years straight, performing classic country songs by Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline during her daily and nightly shows.
These days, Thompson is singing her own songs, and telling her own stories, too. A sly, quirky songwriter, she fills her music with anecdotes about her family, whether it’s her mother’s rushed coming-of-age, handled with delicacy and grace in “Pregnant at the Prom,” or her sister’s wedding, which serves as the jumping-off point for “Vows.” Thompson shines a light on her own misadventures, too, with her debut single “Someone to Take Your Place,” a tongue-in-cheek anthem about embracing the single life. Together, the autobiographical – and slightly amplified – songs showcase a young singer and storyteller who’s ready to carry on her family’s country legacy, with one foot rooted in the twang of traditional country music and the other pointing in a new, bold direction. Thompson is currently putting the final touches on her candid tracks and is expected to release her full-length album later this year.