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Paul Thorn Band Electric Show
February 16 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm| $30
Thorn speaks highly of his band: “These guys really bring my songs to life,” says Thorn. “A lot of albums sound like they’re made by a singer with bored studio musicians. My albums sound they’re played by a real blood-and-guts band because that’s what we are. And when we get up on stage, people hear and see that.” Guitarist Bill Hinds is the perfect, edgy foil for Thorn’s warm, laconic salt o’ the earth delivery — a veritable living library of glowing tones, sultry slide and sonic invention. Keyboardist Michael “Dr. Love” Graham displays a gift for melody, and helps expand the group’s rhythmic force. Meanwhile drummer Jeffrey Perkins and bassist Ralph Friedrichsen propel every tune with just the right amount of deep-in-the-groove restraint.
Thorn’s earlier catalog is cherished by his many fans thanks to his down-home perspective, vivid-yet-plainspoken language and colorful characters. It helps that Thorn is a colorful and distinctly Southern personality himself. He was raised in Tupelo, Mississippi, in the land of cotton and catfish. And churches.
“My father was a preacher, so I went with him to churches that white people attended and churches that black people attended,” Thorn says. “The white people sang gospel like it was country music, and the black people sang it like it was rhythm and blues. But both black and white people attended my father’s church, and that’s how I learned to sing mixing those styles.”
His performances were generally limited to the pews until sixth grade. At age 17, Thorn met songwriter Billy Maddox, who became his friend and mentor. It would take several detours — working in a furniture factory, boxing, jumping out of airplanes — until Thorn committed to the singer-songwriter’s life. But through it all he and Maddox remained friends, and Maddox became Thorn’s songwriting partner and co-producer.
Nonetheless, Thorn possessed the ability to charm audiences right from the start. Not only with his music, but with the stories he tells from the stage. “Showmanship is a dying art that I learned from watching Dean Martin on TV when I was a kid,” Thorn explains. “He could tell little jokes and then deliver a serious song, then make you laugh again. And he would look into the camera like he was looking right at you through the TV. That’s what I want to do — make people feel like I’m talking directly to them.”
That’s really Thorn’s mission for Too Blessed To Be Stressed, which can be heard as a running conversation about life between Thorn and listeners — a conversation leavened with gentles insights, small inspirations and plenty of cheer.
“I wrote these songs hoping they might put people in a positive mindset and encourage them to count their own blessings, like I count mine,” Thorn observes. “There’s no higher goal I could set for myself than to help other people find some happiness and gratitude in their lives.”
Call for tickets, 941.388.7539