It has been said that a Paul Thorn concert is like "taking a 6-pack to church!" Proof to that can be found by listening to his song "Mission Temple Fireworks Stand". The first thing you notice is the voice, distinctively soulful and funky, of a man who has walked a long, hot span over dusty Mississippi country roads.
For an artist you may never have heard of, Paul has had a long successful career working with musical giants like Sting, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine and Huey Lewis to name a few. Artists like Tanya Tucker, Toby Keith and Sawyer Brown, have covered his songs, but, no one sounds like Paul.
Hailed as the "Mark Twain of Americana", Paul was born in Elvisville (Tupelo, MS), the son of a Pentecostal preacher. He had the unique background of singing to congregations since early childhood. Connecting with and getting over with the crowd was in his blood from the start. Thorn was working in a chair factory and playing little gigs at night, like pizza parlors etc., in Birmingham, Alabama when Miles Copeland, manager and brother of Stewart (who drummed for the Police), happened to catch one of these gigs, and "discovered" him.
On the road to recording a follow-up to his most successful release, 2010's Pimps and Preachers, which was was #1 at Americana Radio for 3 weeks and has spent 7 weeks in Top 5, the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter decided to do an album of covers. "I wanted to take a break from myself," he reveals, "do something different, and just have fun." The collection, entitled What The Hell Is Goin' On? (due May 8th) finds Thorn putting his own gritty rock stamp on some of his favorite songs. The album's centerpiece is the powerful title track, a blistering look at life in modern times was penned by blues-rock icon Elvin Bishop. It was also a treat to have Bishop perform his "wonderfully raw and dirty" guitar solo on the tune. Other special guests on the album are Delbert McClinton and the marvelous McCrary Sisters.
The heavy lifting on the album, however, is done by Thorn and his touring band (guitarist Bill Hinds, keyboard player Michael Graham, bassist Ralph Friedrichsen and drummer Jeffrey Perkins). "The guys in this outfit are a tight unit and a well-oiled machine," he proclaims.
When Thorn and band hit the road, he'll be performing both his captivating originals and these favored covers, because, as he says, "there are so many great writers out there whose songs need to be heard." Thorn also might slip in a new song or two as he already has started writing more songs of his own for the next album.
"Paul is one of my favorite artists!" - Bonnie Raitt
More info at: www.paulthorn.com