Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
May 22nd
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

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival