Chris Tompkins

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Chris Tompkins
Birth name Christopher G. Tompkins
Born Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Genres Country music
Occupations Songwriter
Years active 2002–present
Labels Big Loud Shirt Industries
Associated acts Rodney Clawson, Carrie Underwood, Craig Wiseman, Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, Tyler Hubbard
Website Tompkins at Big Loud Shirt

Christopher G. "Chris" Tompkins (born Muscle Shoals, Alabama) is an American songwriter based in Nashville.[1] Since 2002 he has co-written songs for pop, rock, and country artists as diverse as Jimmy Buffett, Jamie Lynn Spears, Hank Williams, Jr., Rascal Flatts, and Plain White T's, and has written charting singles for artists such as Jake Owen, Daughtry, Shelly Fairchild, Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, and Tim McGraw.

Tompkins has won two Grammy Awards for Best Country Song, first for "Before He Cheats" sung by Carrie Underwood in 2007, and also for Underwood's 2012 song "Blown Away." Tompkins has won a number of other industry awards as well, including Songwriter of the Year by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Among his recent projects is Jason Aldean's 2014 single "Burnin' It Down", which peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Country Singles chart.

Early life[edit]

Chris Tompkins was born and raised in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.[1] As a teenager Tompkins started playing in a garage band and a country cover band (Keith Whitley, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson) with his good friend, country musician Jason Isbell.[2]

Music career[edit]

2002-09: First hits[edit]

Tompkins signed his first publishing deal at age 22, moving to Nashville, Tennessee. In 2002 he and Joe Doyle co-wrote a song for J. Michael Harter, and in 2004 Tompkins had his first hit on the Billboard charts, co-writing "Me and Emily" by Rachel Proctor.[1] He also co-wrote "Time Machine" on Shelly Fairchild's 2005 album Ride, as well as "I'm Gone" on Bo Bice's 2007 See the Light album. He started working with Big Loud Shirt Industries during the summer of 2006 as a songwriter.[1]

He and songwriter Josh Kear wrote the platinum seller "Before He Cheats", sung by Carrie Underwood and released in 2007. It was named 2007 Single of the Year by the Country Music Association. Tompkins won the 2007 MusicRow "Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year" award and was honored as the Alabama Music Hall of Fame songwriter of the year.[3] The following year "Before He Cheats" won several categories at the 50th Grammy Awards, including Country Song of the Year. While at the awards Tompkins befriended Tom Higgenson of the indie rock group Plain White T's. They soon began to collaborate, and Tompkins has since co-written several songs on their albums, including "Welcome To Mystery" on Almost Alice.[1]

Tompkins co-wrote the song "Voices" along with Chris Young and Craig Wiseman in 2008, which peaked at No. 37 on Hot Country Songs,[4] and would later reach No. 1 when released in 2010. In 2009 Tompkins wrote "Don't Cost a Dime" on Martina McBride's Shine album.[1]

2010-12: Increased output[edit]

In 2010 he co-wrote the song "Ain't Back Yet" with Kenny Chesney. The song reached No. 2 on the country charts, and also appeared in Chesney's movie Summertime in 3-D. Also in 2010, he co-wrote "Kiss Me When I'm Down" by Gary Allan.[1] He worked on a number of charting singles in 2011, including the Chris Young single "Voices."[1] He co-wrote the duet "I Feel Like a Rockstar" in 2012, performed by Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw.[1]

Carrie Underwood singing in "Blown Away," which Tompkins won a Grammy Award for co-writing in 2013

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He collaborated with Underwood once again on her 2012 album Blown Away, notably on the second single of the same name. The single was co-written with his frequent collaborator Josh Kear, and as noted by interviewer Kurt Wolff, "the melody and overall sound of the song also stand out as something fresh and very different."[5] Tompkins explained to Wolff that "Blown Away" was an "attempt at 'melodic pop' that was 'unique' yet still 'country.'"[5] Tompkins also commented that "Blown Away" is "It's a completely different type of song for Carrie. She's got a lot of pop elements, and I listen to a lot of pop, but I listen to everything from Randy Newman to Mozart to Rihanna to Steely Dan. I think all that stuff shows up in my music, and I think it showed up in 'Blown Away.'"[5] The single peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

2013-14: Recent projects[edit]

He also co-wrote Florida Georgia Line's 2013 single "Get Your Shine On" with Rodney Clawson, peaking at #5 on the Hot Country Songs and #1 on the Country Airplay charts. He also co-wrote The Band Perry's 2013 single "Don't Let Me Be Lonely" and Frankie Ballard's 2013 single "Helluva Life". At the 2013 ASCAP Country Music Awards he was awarded "Song of the Year" for Luke Bryan's "Drunk on You".[6] "Jumped Right In" by Canadian country rock artist Dallas Smith was nominated for Single of the Year at the 2013 Canadian Country Music Association Awards.[7]

"Lookin' for That Girl" is a song recorded by American country music singer Tim McGraw, released in January 2014.[8] Co-writer James T. Slater told Roughstock that the idea came when writing with Mark Irwin, who suggested that the two write with Tompkins. Slater said that he had an idea that "wasn't really fitting anything" when Tompkins played a loop on a drum machine and came up with the song's title.[9]

He also co-wrote the song "Drunk on a Plane", recorded by Dierks Bentley and released in April 2014.[10] It is Bentley's 18th career single to peak in the top 10 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs or Country Airplay chart and has been certified Gold by the RIAA.[11]

He co-wrote Florida Georgia Line's 2014 single "Dirt" and co-wrote Jason Aldean's 2014 single "Burnin' It Down", which both peaked at #1 on the Hot Country Singles chart after only 2 weeks in release. The songs hit #11 and #12 on the all genre Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
2007 MusicRow Awards Chris Tompkins Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year[3] Won
Alabama Music Hall of Fame Chris Tompkins Songwriter of the Year Won
Country Music Association Awards "Before He Cheats" Single of the Year Won
2008 50th Grammy Awards Country Song of the Year Won
Song of the Year Nominated
2013 55th Grammy Awards "Blown Away" Country Song of the Year Won
ASCAP Country Music Awards "Drunk on You"[6] Song of the Year Won



Selected songs written or co-written by Tompkins, with selected peak chart positions.
Year Title Artist Chart peaks Album Co-writers
2002 "On My Way Home" J. Michael Harter Unexpected Change Joe Doyle
2004 "Me and Emily" Rachel Proctor 18 Where I Belong Rachel Proctor
2005 "Time Machine" Shelly Fairchild Ride Doug Johnson
2006 "That's How They Do It In Dixie" Hank Williams, Jr. That's How They Do It in Dixie Josh Kear, Mark Irwin
"Bama Breeze" Jimmy Buffett Take the Weather with You Kear, Irwin
2007 "Before He Cheats" Carrie Underwood 8 1 6 4 Some Hearts Kear
"Hometown" Bucky Covington Bucky Covington Kear, Irwin
"I'm Gone" Bo Bice See the Light Bo Bice
"Big Bad World" Plain White T's Big Bad World Tom Higgenson
"Rainy Day" Higgenson
"Meet Me in California" Higgenson
2008 "Rocks Instead of Rice" Kellie Pickler Kellie Pickler Pickler, Kear
"Voices" Chris Young 53 1 86 The Man I Want to Be Craig Wiseman, Chris Young
2009 "Don't Cost a Dime" Martina McBride Shine Kear, Irwin
"Change" Carrie Underwood Play On Katrina Elam, Kear
"Learn My Lesson" Daughtry Leave This Town Daughtry, Mitch Allan
"Seeing Stars" Jack Ingram Big Dreams & High Hopes Jack Ingram
2010 "Kiss Me When I'm Down" Gary Allan 38 Get Off on the Pain Andrew Dorff, Kear
"Shut Up Train" Little Big Town The Reason Why Hillary Lindsey, Laird
"Welcome to Mystery" Plain White T's Wonders of the Younger Higgenson
"Broken Record" Higgenson, Zac Malloy
"Red Camaro" Rascal Flatts Nothing Like This Joe Collins
"Shake That Thing" Gwyneth Paltrow Country Strong Irwin, Kear
"Keep Drivin" Katharine McPhee Unbroken Katharine McPhee, Rachael Yamagata
"Ain't Back Yet" Kenny Chesney 50 3 72 Greatest Hits II Wiseman
2011 "Get Some" Blake Shelton Red River Blue Zac Maloy, Wiseman
"Bulletproof" Steel Magnolia Steel Magnolia Lori McKenna
"Broken Umbrella" Martina McBride Eleven Kear, Irwin
"Keepin' It Country" Jake Owen Barefoot Blue Jean Night Rodney Clawson
"Apple Pie Moonshine" Clawson, Chad Kroeger, Wiseman
2012 "Feel Like a Rock Star" Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw 40 11 Welcome to the Fishbowl Clawson
"Just Wanna Rock N' Roll" Rodney Atkins 39 31 Take a Back Road Clawson
"Ladies Come First" Hinder Welcome to the Freakshow Cody Hanson, Austin Winkler, Kear
"Blown Away" Carrie Underwood 20 2 1 Blown Away Kear
"Drunk on You" Luke Bryan 16 1 Tailgates & Tanlines Kear, Clawson
2013 "Get Your Shine On" Florida Georgia Line 27 5 1 Here's to the Good Times Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Clawson
"Don't Let Me Be Lonely" The Band Perry 59 9 2 Pioneer Clawson, Sarah Buxton
"Helluva Life" Frankie Ballard 51 8 1 Sunshine & Whiskey Clawson, Kear
"Drivin' Around Song" Colt Ford, Jason Aldean 41 56 Declaration of Independence Wiseman
"This Kind of Town" Justin Moore Off the Beaten Path Andrew Dorff
"That's How I Know You Love Me" Justin Weaver, Clawson
"Strangers & Angels" Mickie James Strangers & Angels Jess Cates, Kara DioGuardi
"Freedom Song" Irwin, Kear
"One of Those Nights" Tim McGraw 32 3 1 38 1 Two Lanes of Freedom Laird, Clawson
"Nothing but Summer" Dallas Smith 70 6 Jumped Right In Jim Collins, Irwin, Joey Moi
"Jumped Right In" 69 Felix McTeigue
"Take You Home" Thomas Rhett It Goes Like This Clawson, Thomas Rhett
"I Will Never Forget You" Danielle Bradbery Danielle Bradbery Katrina Elam, Kear
2014 "Lookin' for That Girl" Tim McGraw 85 18 15 47 30 Sundown Heaven Town Irwin, James T. Slater
"Drunk on a Plane" Dierks Bentley 27 3 2 35 4 Riser Bentley, Kear
"Dirt" Florida Georgia Line 11 1 11 10 11 Anything Goes Clawson
"Shotgun Wedding" Jamie Lynn Spears The Journey Spears
"Big Bad World" Spears
"10,000 Towns" Eli Young Band 10,000 Towns Clawson, Wiseman
"Burnin' It Down" Jason Aldean 12 1 18 12 28 N/A Clawson, Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Chris Tompkins". Big Loud Shirt. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  2. ^ Sullivan, James (August 1, 2013). "Jason Isbell: 'There's Still Just as Much Awe' in Sobriety". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "2007 ASCAP Country Music Awards at the Ryman" (Press release). The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. fall/winter 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 483. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  5. ^ a b c Wolff, Kurt (February 9, 2013). "Behind The Song: Carrie Underwood "Blown Away"". US 99.5. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b ASCAP 2013 Awards
  7. ^ Collins, Leah (July 17, 2013). "Gord Bamford, Dean Brody Top Contenders at 2013 CCMAs". CBC. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ Dukes, Billy (April 3, 2014). "Tim McGraw Announces ‘Sundown Heaven Town’ Album". Taste of Country. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  9. ^ Conaway, Alanna (20 January 2014). "Story Behind the Song: Tim McGraw "Lookin' For That Girl"". Roughstock. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Paxman, Bob (2 June 2014). "Dierks Bentley — 'Drunk on a Plane'". Country Weekly 21 (22): 66. ISSN 1074-3235. 
  11. ^ "American single certifications – Dierks Bentley – Drunk on a Plane". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]