Written by Dave Clements
Oct 22, 2013 at 07:00 PM
ImageMy wife Cathi and I feel so blessed to be able to listen to and enjoy so much live music near our home in the north Houston metropolitan area. Not every city has what the Greater Houston area offers!  Venues like the Dosey Doe Big Barn, The Music Café, The Woodlands Pavilion, The Corner Pub, the Crighton Theatre, and Red Brick Tavern have all given us fond memories of great performances.  The artists have given their all to entertain us on any given night over the last many years.

It gets even more special when we are out of town and find an opportunity to see even more terrific live music while we are traveling. Such an occasion occurred last night in historical Annapolis, Maryland.

Six of our dearest friends who live in Maryland and are music fanatics and true aficionados were willing to join us on a ‘school night’.  Our awesome destination was a live music venue in downtown Annapolis right around the corner from where George Washington passed when he governed our country.  And it was just down the street from where some of America’s finest young men and women are trained to defend our country at the United States Naval Academy. ‘Go Navy, Beat Army!’

The Rams Head Tavern is tucked into a fairly small historic space on West Street, but the venue is not small on reputation or impact.  On the east coast live music scene, Rams Head is known far and wide as the place to go to listen to some of the best touring artists around.  This is the perfect setting for immensely talented musicians that aren’t the ‘stadium packing’ kind.  These artists are sometimes either early or late in their career, or are simply the real deal journeyman entertainers.  They’ve honed their craft, work hard, grinding out their careers town by town, show by show, one night after another for many weeks at a time.

What drew us to Rams Head this particular night was the privilege of seeing Mr. Paul Thorn, the quintessential music journeyman.  At 49, Paul and his amazing, tight sounding band  (Bill Hinds, Michael “Dr. Love” Graham, Ralph Friedrichsen, and Jeffrey Perkins) crisscross the country ready to pile out of their ten passenger white van and give their all.  And they never disappoint.  They impress the heck out of audience members seeing them for the first time and reinforce the allegiance of the Paul Thorn followers who hardly ever miss a chance to catch his show if he is anywhere close to where they live. This particular night two guy ‘PT groupies’ from my home town of Virginia Beach were there to enjoy Thorn and the band, another lady flew in from Oklahoma to give herself her own birthday present…watching Paul perform.  Yes, he has those kinds of fans.

And Paul delivered.  He did tonight what I’d seen him do many times before; knock it out of the ballpark.  Or, given that he is a former professional boxer, he gave us a knock out show!

ImageThe ‘undercard’ for the evening was Cris Jacobs and company, who did a near hour set to get the evening off to a great start.  Jacobs was the front man for a very popular local band, The Bridge, from Baltimore.  He and his band put out a great vibe.  He also fits into that journeyman category.  Too bad a broader audience may not have the pleasure of hearing him perform.  He has enough talent but that ‘stadium packing act’ train will probably leave without him on board.

Still, we hope to see Cris out of Baltimore one day…a tour of Texas would be good.  I really liked one comment he made before departing the stage.  He said, “It’s always nice to play when people are listening.”  Well said, man.

Now for the main event.  Out of Tupelo, Mississippi in the blue trunks Kick Butt Paul Thorn hit the stage at about nine and was relentless for two hours.  Well, other than a moment after the second song when he unstrapped his guitar and dashed from the stage.  I thought he had to make an emergency pit stop but what really happened was he left his set list in the green room! He would pit stop later in the show …check out the photo gallery and see.

Regarding his set list he did a perfectly balanced job of sharing his music.  He included a lot of my favorites, some of his new stuff, and of course the thoroughly entertaining ‘between songs’ banter.  As an audience member, you can’t wait to hear what his next funny observation might be.  He had a unique and clever way in phrasing things and way more times than not he tickles the heck out of me.  Given the noise level throughout the night, the rest of the crowd enjoyed this as well.

ImageHe sang A Heart Like Mine, 800 Pound Jesus, Hammer and Nail, as well as two of my favorites – I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love and I Have a Good Day Every Now and Then.  He also performed Snake Farm from his album What the Hell is Goin’ On?  Another journeyman, Mr. Ray Wylie Hubbard, wrote that song and if you haven’t heard it I suggest you buy both versions on iTunes.  Worth the money for sure!

Unfortunately Paul didn’t play two other favorites of mine, Mood Ring and Burn Down the Trailer Park.   Not really complaining, I still left feeling like I got at least my money’s worth plus much, much more.  All of our Maryland friends are now turned on and tuned in to Mr. Thorn and rushed to join his fan club.

I could go on and on with several more paragraphed describing this show…from his little toy boy that ‘peed’ in a 5 to 6 foot stream on audience members, to the autographed can of Beanie Weenie’s awarded to a fan, the free cruise cabin ticket drawing for the upcoming Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches tour (featuring Paul), and the fifteen minutes of ‘fellowship ‘ that occurred in the audience at the end of the set with Paul and his patrons.  There were hugs, high fives, and lots of one on one connections between Paul and the fans.  Nice move Paul – you are the man!

Finally let me share what I heard from these lovely ladies about the PT Show: Joy “a man of many talents’, Jackie “both groups were fabulous and what wonderful guitar work”, Dru “fun to listen to and…easy on the eyes…but I’m not saying that!” And my bride, after getting the hug from Paul that she has been waiting for for several years now, was rendered speechless.  Hmmmm…??

Until next time remember there is no time to kill.