Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Aug 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Southern Comfort

music_PaulThorn2Mississippi-bred Paul Thorn sings of preachers, pimps, and small town America
One way to hear about the real-life effects of Capitol Hill rivalries is to read the newspaper. Or you could talk to somebody who travels to small towns for a living, entertaining the downtrodden and picking up fans along the way. Enter Paul Thorn—a Mississippi singer/songwriter who has been traversing America’s back roads for more than a decade, crafting musical stories based on the lives of the common man and pumping blood back into the heartland.

 

By anyone’s standards, Thorn has had a colorful life: son of a preacher, nephew of a pimp, furniture maker, and professional boxer—he’s famous for his nationally televised fight against Roberto Duran. But it wasn’t until the Southern son picked up a guitar and began giving a voice to some tunes that had been knocking around his head, that his body and soul became aligned. Thorn’s gritty tunes are full of mesmerizing, yet familiar characters, which mesh into a modern-day Robert Johnson, standing at the crossroads of America and taking notes.

There’s something so familiar and ingratiating about a Southern drawl, that every conversation with Thorn begins to sound like the soundtrack to a “Mayberry R.F.D” episode. “I went into Wal-Mart the other day to buy a fishing pole and nobody was in that department—not a soul,” says Thorn, from outside a show in Kansas City. “Nobody came up to me and said, ‘Maybe you should get this fishing pole, or try this one over here.’ Finally somebody from a completely different department came over to help me, but they didn’t know anything about fishing. I want to connect with people. I want somebody who sells me a fishing pole to tell me how great that fishing pole is!”

Treating each show like he’s running a mom-and-pop shop, Thorn promises and delivers customer satisfaction, as he’s deeply aware of how crucial personal interaction is to his success as a performer and as a human being. “People are in trouble,” he says. “People don’t have jobs. In the town I live in, everyone worked for the furniture factory. But now that the business has gone overseas to the Orient, my community’s entire means of existence has been taken away. They don’t have jobs and they’re taking their wedding rings to pawn shops to get $80 to feed their families that week.”

Thorn knows that people have to scramble to come to his concerts these days. “It’s like seeing friends I haven’t seen in a year and I like to chit-chat with them,” he says of his fans. “I learned that from my father, who was a minister—people can tell if you like them or if you’re faking it. And I ain’t faking it.”

Although Thorn’s familial roots are in Tupelo, Miss., it was in Santa Cruz that Thorn realized his dream of becoming a full-time musician. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Santa Cruz, because KPIG was the first station that really embraced me,” he says, referencing his Friday night performance at The Rio. “When my first album came out, it didn’t do anything in the big picture—but Laura Hopper, who was the program director and started the Americana format of American roots music, heard my first record and started playing it.”

Soon, Thorn had an audience that knew the words to his songs, and today that fan base has expanded across the country. “Santa Cruz is the launching pad of my music career, because it was playing there that I realized I could do this,” he says.

 


Paul Thorn plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at The Rio, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25/adv, $40/Golden Circle. 423-8209.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual