"Use the gifts you have been given. Do what feeds your spirit, because when you do, the world around you becomes a better place. And you have made a difference." You can see it in his eyes, you can hear it in his music; Keni Thomas can't hide his passion for living,and his mission in life is crystal clear.
Whether standing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry or entertaining the troops in Iraq, the southern country-rocker is indeed using his God-given gifts to deliver a message through his words and his music. His undeniable charisma and tremendous talent as a singer, songwriter and performer have firmly established him as one of country music's brightest new stars.
Keni's new album, Gunslinger, is a collection of insightful songs that live and breathe the stories of life. Gunslinger is the follow-up to Thomas's critically acclaimed debut album, "Flags of Our Fathers." The first single "Shreveport 2 LA," produced by Thomas and co-written by hit writers Billy Montana and Mike Plume, is an infectious rocker that spent 4 months in the Top 10 on GAC.
"This catchy single is a terrific introduction to his finely crafted sophomore album," commented Billboard Magazine. "Thomas is an engaging vocalist and insightful songwriter with tons of personality onstage and off."
A dynamic live performer, Keni and his band, Cornbread, tour steadily both nationally and abroad opening for top artists like Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Trace Atkins, Montgomery Gentry and Wynonna. They have traveled for years to the Middle East, volunteering their time as part of the USO's "Hope and Freedom" holiday show. Keni and Cornbread even made the jump to Hollywood as the featured band in the Disney/Touchstone blockbuster, "Sweet Home Alabama".
As a songwriter, Thomas is quickly gaining recognition nationwide for his talent. His southern fried scorcher, "Alabama Home" was chosen as the official theme song for Talladega Superspeedway and was used in all national TV spots for the 2007 season. And there's more in store. Like the haunting title track Keni wrote for the upcoming feature film "Circle on the Cross" premiering in 2009. Music Row will tell you that as a songwriter, "Thomas weaves a powerful spell with understated elegance".
Thomas wrote or co-wrote seven of the tracks on the new album including the infectious title track, Gunslinger, the inspirational ballad "In God's Hands," the feel-good summertime anthem, "Summertown," and the hauntingly beautiful, "Everything." In addition, the disc includes offerings by such hit songwriters as Kristen Hall, previously of country super group Sugarland ("Out of Nowhere"), Billy Montana ("Shreveport 2 LA," and "Not Ready for Love") and the immensely talented Bruce Robison ("Blame it on Me"), and others.
More than a gifted musician, Thomas possesses an exceptional personal story that is uniquely inspiring. He is a decorated combat veteran of the elite 75th Ranger Rgt special operations unit. As a military analyst, Thomas has made numerous appearances on ever major television network including a featured story on Good Morning America and specials on The History and Discovery channels. He is regularly booked as a keynote speaker for corporations and organizations around the nation sharing his motivating story of teamwork and leadership. As a country singer, his dedicated work on behalf of our veterans has been recognized by Congress and the National Defense Foundation. Thomas is the recipient of the American Patriot Award, The Carlton Sherwood Media Award and the bronze star for valor.
Thomas is very proud of his appointment as the national spokesman for the Hero Fund (www.HeroFund.com) and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides college educations to the children of our special ops personnel killed in combat or training. A portion of all proceeds from Gunslinger will benefit the Hero Fund. Since its inception, the Hero Fund has helped provide for the educational needs of over 700 children.
The title of Keni's new album is really a statement of his mission; "I'm not so much a Gunslinger in the Wild West sort of way; but rather I've come to town to do something good. Instead of an M-4 rifle, I get to carry a Gibson now. Music is a powerful weapon. And that's how I'm making a difference."
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