Paul Thorn has been pleasing crowds for years with his muscular brand of roots music – bluesy, rocking and thoroughly Southern, yet also speaking universal truths. The Tupelo, Mississippi native worked in a furniture factory, jumped out of airplanes, and was a professional boxer before sharing his experiences with the world as a singer-songwriter. Pimps and Preachers, which topped the Americana charts for three weeks and broke into the Billboard Top 100, perfectly exemplified the vivid scope of his songwriting and illuminated his family background. While his father is a Church of God Pentecostal Minister, his uncle (his father’s brother) spent time as a pimp, and Thorn was influenced by both of these men. Mining these “saint and sinner” scenarios, Thorn crafted a disc that All Music Guide lauded as “a great rock & roll album,” while The Nation labeled it “an incredible find.”
Paul Thorn took an unexpected detour on the road to recording a follow-up to his most successful release, 2010’s Pimps and Preachers. After writing many discs of semi-autobiographical tunes that have drawn comparisons to John Hiatt and John Prine, the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter – hailed as the “Mark Twain of Americana” – decided to do an album of covers.
The collection, entitled What The Hell Is Goin’ On? finds Thorn putting his own gritty rock stamp on some of his favorite songs.
When Thorn and his band hit Eddie’s Attic this weekend, he’ll be performing both his captivating originals and these favored covers. 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.
Thorn answers Atlanta Music Guide’s 5GB interview questions!
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
The first concert that I ever attended in my life was when I opened for Sting in Nashville. Growing up as a Pentecostal Preachers kid, we were not allowed to attend concerts.
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
That’s a hard question because we’ve had so many great gigs. Playing at The Royal Albert Hall in England with Mark Knophler was pretty cool.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
The best gig that I have ever seen would probably be The Blind Boys of Alabama. The first time I ever saw them live – they blew my mind!
Gig you would most like to play?
I would have loved the opportunity to sing on Hee Haw. I watch those reruns all the time and it would have been cool to pop up from behind those stalks of corn.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
I wish I could have opened for Elvis. I think we would have really hit it off because we’re both from Tupelo and we both like fried banana sandwiches.
Grab your tickets to see Paul Thorn at Eddie’s Attic on Sunday, February 2!