and Kay West
April 16, 2014 12:00 PM

Sitting in a stylist’s chair in Nashville’s hip Green Pea Salon, singer Josh Thompson is staring at his reflection in the mirror. He’s just chopped off the signature long locks that he’d been growing since 2003, and he’s taking it all in. “It’s a little bit of a surprise when I see myself,” says Thompson, 36. “But it was a long time coming. I was literally just going to take my old clippers and shave it. This is a lot cooler.”

It’s a fresh start for the “Cold Beer with Your Name on It” singer, who parted ways with his record label in 2012 and will release Turn It Up, his first album in four years with new label Show Dog-Universal Music, on April 1. “It’s been a while since I’ve had new music out, so this is all exciting,” says Thompson. As for how his fans will embrace his drastic new look, he’s not worried. “Audiences might be a little surprised,” says Thompson, “but they’ll know it’s me as soon as I start singing!”

Perhaps the real test will be how wife Angie will like it. “She’s only known me with long hair,” says Thompson of his new bride. (The couple married last year and have a daughter, Josie, 9 months.) “She gets a brand-new man tonight. She’ll be cheating on me with me!”

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