Born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi , the son of a preacher, Paul Thorn (www.paulthorn.com) has done it all. He’s rambled down back roads and jumped out of airplanes, worked for years in a furniture factory, fought four-time world champion boxer Roberto Durán on national television, signed with and been dropped by a major label, opened for people like Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler, and John Prine among many other headliners, and become one of Americana’s best songwriters. He’s playing Gruene Hall (www.gruenehall.com) on Saturday night. His latest cd, “Pimps and Preachers”, his 9th, continues his run of great album. His stories reflect everyday life, and they are continued throughout “Pimps and Preachers”, especially in the title cut. It tells the story of his dad the preacher, and his uncle the pimp, and their influences on his life. Paul recently answered 10 questions for me.
Who are your songwriting influences?
I like writers like Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson and Billy Joe Shaver. I also like classic pop songwriters like Barry Gibb and Andrew Gold.
When and where was your first public performance?
I first performed in public when i was 3 in a church revival. Those early church years were a huge confidence builder for me.
What was the first record or cd you purchased with your own money?
The first album i bought was Elton John’s Greatest Hits. To me it still stands up as a classic album, him and Bernie Taupin were an incredible songwriting team
What was the first live concert you attended?
As a minister’s son I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts but the first concert I ever attended was when I opened for Sting.. As crazy as it sounds I wasn’t nervous because growing up singing in church really prepared me for that moment.
Which venue would you most like to play that you haven’t yet/ and which is your favorite venue to play?
I would like to sell out the Ryman in Nashville. because it’s the only venue my parents have ever heard of and it would thrill them to see their son in what used to be the Grand Oole Opry. As far as favorite venues go, I have no answer because there are so many that I love.
What is the best career advice you’ve been given, and by whom?
My dad said it simply and said it best, ”love people, with each person you meet you have an opportunity
to burn a bridge or build one.’
Who are you listening to now?
Theres a podcast called “Sinner’s Crossroads” that Ii listen to. They play old black gospel music from the 40s and 50s.
What is your best story about life on the road?
We played a biker festival not long ago and when we got there a large part of the crowd in front of the stage were butt naked. For some of them it was a good idea to parade around in the buff, but some others should have covered that stuff up.
What recordings are available to the public and where can they be purchased?
All my cds and other merch are available at www.paulthorn.com. I am also active on Facebook.
When and where are you playing next?
I never know where I’m playing next. My tour dates are on my web site. I guess i need to look into that. (Sept 8, Tulsa, OK, Sept 9 in Grapevine,TX, and Sept 10 at Gruene Hall in Gruene, TX)