Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
Mississippi bluesman Paul Thorn brings his authentic vibe to Lafayette. By David Egan
Paul Thorn is a rare and exceptional singer-songwriter who draws from a colorful palette of redneck preachers, pimps, trailer parks, firework stands and even ass-whippings on national television, while turning wickedly clever phrases and exploring fresh harmonic landscapes.
Once a boxer rated in the top 30, he fought Roberto Duran, lost, and shared an ambulance ride with Duran to the hospital, having landed a few licks of his own. Apparently, Duran didn’t knock the wits out of Paul Thorn, but rather jolted a perpetual brainstorm that would fuel him through nine albums of quality material, hungrily consumed by roots music fans nationwide and beyond.
Born in Tupelo, Miss., the son of a preacher man and the nephew of a pimp, Thorn explores the good, the bad and the in-between. He can amuse and disarm us with these crazy, country cousin tales of burning down the trailer park and shooting down the pink flamingos in the yard. But at the same time, he deals perceptively with very real and complex adult emotions. And then he’ll turn around and hit you with something so incredibly poignant and soul searching that suddenly you realize this man is much wiser than his over-the-top bumpkin accent suggests.
Listening to a double handful of Paul Thorn’s CDs, I can hear influences from across the entire spectrum of American music — from Hank Williams to Al Green — with a heavy dose of Deep South, Muscle Shoals soul. The harmonic progressions are sometimes astoundingly beautiful, constantly going where my ears don’t expect them to go. Gritty funk, romantic ballads and even sophisticated bossa novas group together well, aligned by Thorn’s visions, vocals and melodic sense.
Thorn is a strong, confident performer full of insightful stories, humor and charisma — so much so that the likes of Delbert McClinton and Elvin Bishop have been prone to jump on stage with him, apparently as drawn to him as his amorous fans.
Just short of deadline for this story, I spoke with Paul for a few minutes on the phone. Okay, maybe the bumpkin level gets cranked up a bit when he’s on a microphone, speaking to a full house during a high-energy show. Part of our visit went something like this:
EGAN: Your chord progressions are sometimes very sophisticated. Did you spend time listening to cats like Jobim and Gilberto, or did that bossa nova song just come to you intuitively?
THORN: To be honest, I don’t know who those people are. I just like melodies, and I like to sit with my guitar and find new melodies and rhythms and progressions.
EGAN: Any advice for developing songwriters who are trying to find their own voice, and find their way into the business?
THORN: There is no sure way into the business, but I would tell them, just be real. Don’t follow trends. Dig deep and be you.
We started talking about TV evangelists. Paul said he likes to watch them, the worse the better. But we’re quick to agree: Jimmy Swaggart plays some real fine piano.
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
T&T show behind the scenes
Four bedroom in Breaux Bridge or four bedroom in Opelousas
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
Volcano recovery suspended; Mossad recruiting online; high fees in Ferguson and more national and international news for Monday, September 29, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims.
Museum of Fear opens its 2014 season with more scares than ever before.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Three bedroom traditional Broussard house or two bedroom Lafayette townhome
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The American Zombie blog by New Orleans independent journalist Jason Berry has a photograph of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier having dinner with Lafayette attorney Pat Juneau — yeah, that Pat Juneau, the BP claims administrator whose fate Barbier will soon decide.
But retirees and employees who face the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs responded angrily, telling lawmakers that they shouldn't be held responsible for what they consider the Jindal administration's mismanagement of the Office of Group Benefits.
A school board candidate takes exception to the chamber’s Common Vision initiative.
Indictment accuses ‘chef’ who claims to work for the needy of stealing from a disabled man in his care.
The idea that any successful enterprise, whether it’s a business, a non-profit, or even a governmental body such as a school system, requires a bedrock of shared core beliefs and commitments is not new.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser says the state employee health insurance program will face a dire financial scenario without the heavily criticized changes planned by the administration.
Louisiana's last execution was in 2010, and plans for the next lethal injection have been put on hold amid an ongoing legal dispute about the drugs that would be used. More than 80 people are on death row, awaiting execution, in Louisiana.