Thao and The Get Down Stay Down


Thao Nguyen (lead), Frank Stewart (guitar), Adam Thompson, Willis Thompson (drums)


Alternative folk-rock. Discography to date includes Like the Linen (2005), Daytrotter Sessions (2006), We Brave Bee Stings and All (2008), Know Better Learn Faster (2009) and We The Common (2013). 


After picking up her guitar at the age of 12, Thao Nguyen began performing and recording as an indie-folk duo with a high school friend, Brenna Clerkin. Raised in Falls Church, Virginia with her single mother, she often practiced her songs while working at her mother's laundromat. She often cites Lilith Fair as an inspiration for her desire to become a young singer/songwriter. After recording an EP that differed from her initial style, she began performing as a soloist with her acoustic guitar.

Nguyen would meet drummer Willis Thompson while studying for her degrees in Sociology and Women’s Studies at The College of William and Mary and his in Environmental Studies and Music. Willis Thompson was a member of Camp Tigerclaw, Acousticore, and Murphy's Kids. He is also a contributing member to the band The Light Footwork. Thao Nguyen and Willis Thompson met Adam Thompson (no relation) during a show at the Harrison Street Coffee Shop in Richmond, Virginia. At the time, Adam Thompson was performing as a solo jazz-influenced act under the moniker The OK Bird. Frank Stewart, member of the bands Durian and Verbal, would produce the first full-length album Like the Linen in 2005 and join the band as a lead guitarist.

Although only Willis and Nguyen initially performed live on tour, the four members began touring as a group during the Kill Rock Stars' Sound the Hare Heard tour during the summer of 2006. The name of the band was originally suggested by a former bassist of the band. Nguyen would expand the initial suggestion of "The Get Down" to "The Get Down Stay Down". Thao Nguyen still occasionally performs as a soloist.