Written by Eddie Ferranti
Aug 25, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageLast May, Rosie & I went to catch Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt at the Verizon in Houston. To our delight we were treated to a killer opening act, Paul Thorn. Shortly after that gig, the Mucky Duck posted a date for Paul Thorn and we jumped on it three months in advance and we were not let down what so ever.

The energy that Thorn generated in the bigger Downtown arena really amped up in the cozy confines of the Mucky Duck-and then some! PT was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1964, but was raised as an infant in Tupelo, Mississippi and his accent, which is both unique and distinctive, sure shows it. Dude has a strange delivery that really grows on ya after awhile. Very heartfelt type person. He has a way of telling stories within his tunes without bogging down the gig.

He bolted out of the box with three rockin’ songs, including the title cut from his new CD “Long Way from Tupelo”, before saying a word. In fact, the new album had some stellar highlights this night. A touching one was “What Have You Done to Lift Somebody Up” where he fondly talked about his “pop tart” daughter. Yet another was when he chatted briefly about how he goes to the Animal Channel when he needs to study relationships and tore into “Woman to Love”. Any dude that fills his tunes with cheating girlfriends, trailer parks, drinkin’ Colt 45, tit tubs. preachers, pimps and eatin’ baloney and crackers is my kind of guy!

Slammin’ red wine throughtout the show, PT egged on the crowd to pump him up since it was his 2nd gig of the evening. “I’d Rather Be a Hammer than a Nail” rocked solid, as did “Rise Up”. Before his professional music career began, he was breifly a pro boxer, who got to fight Roberto Duran. He worked in a furniture factory and while playing local gigs got discovered by Miles Copeland (Police’s Stewart is his brother) and signed with A&M records.  I applaud Thorn for sticking to his guns and now choosing an independent outlet for marketing himself to better control his career. On that subject he told a killer story about being booked to open for Toby Keith and performing “Honky Tonk Neanderthal” which was a tongue in cheek slam on today’s country crowd. Epic stuff.

The dude’s sense of humor is both sly and stinging at the same time. The rock solid core he has with him features Bill Hinds on lead guitar, a dude that looks more like a pig farmer than a badass screaming jammer that he is. Mike” Dr. Love” Graham was silky smooth on the keyboards, Jeff Perkins on drums and Doug Kahan on bass held it down throughout. All out crowd stirrers were “I’m Still Here”, “Where Was I?” , “I Have a Good Day” and when PT “testified” on “Ain’t Love Strange” were bad to the bone.

The flow of this night’s show was so free and easy, but what really knocked me out was the encore. On a Tuesday night late show (9:50pm start) the crowd was on their feet to a stellar “Burn Down the Trailer Park” and “Mission Temple Fireworks Stand” !!  I’ve been to many a show at the Mucky Duck and the vive and the passion shown by the crowd this night was refreshing to say the least.  In summing up the performer who is Paul Thorn,  I’d have to say a rare combination of soul, gospel , funky, comical and raw in a very good way.  This evening was a revelation of sorts to this reviewer and I’m a better person for it. Thanks PT!  God Bless and good night…