Written by Eddie Ferranti
Familiarity and fun got together and travelled with Rose and I recently on vacation. St. Petersburg/Tampa, Florida area has been a comforting getaway for us over the last five years or so. It has a relaxing low key yet interesting array of things to do and see. A bonus this visit was catching an act whom we have seen many times and never tire of in the form of the Paul Thorn band. He was playing in a cozy 750 seat storied venue called the Capitol Theater located in Clearwater. The folks there rolled out the red carpet for HMR and we proceeded to enjoy life thru live music and nice vibes from cool people-especially the dude on stage!
Thorn is about to get a new nickname from yours truly which I think fits after witnessing his gigs multiple times. Paul “The Python” Thorn. Why? Thee effect this man has on cities reminds me of a nasty bite from a lethal snake which NEVER leaves your mind! Case in point is this very city of Clearwater, Florida. This was his second show in this town which sold out along with the first one. Before this show they we advertising his RETURNING third concert in August. PT has tapped into a nerve in the American fabric of music lovers who want to feel entertained and made to feel good about their lives. A Thorn concert comes at you with a muscular brand of roots music which is chocked full of bluesy, rocking, and thoroughly Southern American points of view with a lot of universal old fashioned truths tossed in along the way.
What makes this all possible is a stalwart squad that performs with him. From Dr. Love on nimble keys, Ralph Friedrichsen plucking the bass, Jeffrey Perkins on skins, and major player Mr. Bill Hinds on deadly lefty electric guitar mashing this thing works. Hinds to me is a very under appreciated rocker who has ponied with Thorn for over twenty years. Thorn is touring behind his 11th album, “Don’t Let the Devil Ride”, which is cover project of gospel styled tunes. His version of “Love Train” is most different and thought worthy. This night though belonged to tried and true Python biting ditties like opener ” What the Hell Is Goin’On” which speaks volumes in today’s nutty world, “800 Pound Jesus” with prefaced story which needs to be heard live, and one that brought tears to this reveiwer’s eyes “I’m A Lucky Man” which I am. PT’s Tupelo, Mississippi upbringing permeates his down-to-earth personality which is always heartfelt and not faked. He can preach the word of calm on “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, fill you in on his family with classic “Pimps and Preachers”, and send you back in time with tender “Mood Ring”. To say Thorn has a carved a niche with mature Americans who long for a good time at a fair price is putting it mildly. Tongue-in-cheek masterpiece, “Burn Down the Trailer Park” is dated, but still fresh as hell at the same time especially in Florida.
A staple at his gigs is a fitting encore blessing tune “Get You a Healin” complete with wading into the adoring arms of the audience! The man knows how to fill his performances full of positive energy, rocking vibes and heartfelt honesty. What’s wrong with that?! If you are longing for an eccentric, original, plus inspirational musician try this cat on for size when he visits your town. Who knows you might leave with a snake bite that lasts forever……….God bless live music!!!
Eddie “Edge” Ferranti
Houston Music Review