To see Paul Thorn perform is to see a man entirely in his element. He forges deep connections with his audience, often filling the space between songs with stories from his childhood. Raised in Mississippi by a preacher father, Thorn spent his early years visiting churches throughout the state. Along the way, he was exposed to a myriad of musical styles and acquired a taste for performance. We got a chance to touch base with Thorn before his May 4th performance. Read on to learn a little bit about his past, his inspirations, and his love of performing. Tickets are $30 in advance/ $35 on the day of the show. Pick them up here.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: I’ve got a new album, “The Best of Paul Thorn,” with select cuts from all twelve projects. It also includes a free download of a live set. I’m also working on a Gospel record which is something I’ve always wanted to do since Gospel is where I started.
Q: Your father was a southern preacher and you grew up surrounded by the disparate music styles found in predominantly white and black churches. You’ve said this was the environment where you learned how to mix country music with rhythm and blues. How do you find that your upbringing continues to influence your music?
A: The musical influence in my upbringing is always with me. I grew up in a church environment and loved listening to my Mom on guitar and my Dad on mandolin. The Southern Gospel experience is really my biggest musical influence. I really love gospel music and it makes me feel good when I sing it.
Q: Though you’ve been singing and performing practically all your life, you were also a professional boxer for quite a while. What led you back to the singer/songwriter life?
A: I really never went away from singing…even when I was boxing. I fought a nationally televised fight against former world champion Roberto Durán and enjoyed the sport but I felt that I didn’t have the ability to become a World Champion.
Q: You cite Dean Martin as being an early influence; someone whose showmanship you hoped to emulate. Over the years you have cultivated a stage presence all your own, charming audiences all over America. What live show moment has stuck with you the most?
A: Man, that is a tough question. I cannot single out one single moment out and put it on top.
Q: What has been influencing you recently?
A: I’m currently recording my thirteenth record in some really cool historic studios and it includes a lot of great guests. We’ll be announcing more information about this fantastic project down the road but I can honestly say that this recording is shaping up to be the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on.
I look forward to seeing everyone on May 4th!