The Bluegrass Situation: Roots Culture Redefined

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5+5: Paul Thorn

Apr 2, 2018

Artist: Paul Thorn
Hometown: Tupelo, MS
Latest Album: Don’t Let the Devil Ride
Personal Nicknames: Bozo

Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?

I would have to say that Elvis Presley is the artist who influenced me the most. I grew up in the same town he grew up in (Tupelo, Mississippi).  Everyone around where I lived grew up listening to him. I always liked his gospel music and, when he would do a gospel record, he would get the great gospel artists of the day to back him. So, when I did mine, I did the same thing. I got the best gospel groups of the day — the Blind Boys of Alabama and the McCrary Sisters — to help me do my record. I did it like that because that’s what Elvis did — he got the best of the best.

What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?

My favorite memory from being on stage is from when I was in the eighth grade talent show. I sang “Three Times a Lady” and won first place. It was life changing. I was sort of a social outcast and, after I sang that song, I was the coolest kid in school. It made me feel good because I discovered singing was something I was good at.

How do other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc — inform your music?

Mostly art and paintings. When I create my own art, a song comes out of it somewhere. I drew a picture of a statue in my dad’s years and ended up writing a song bout it (“800 Pound Jesus”). I drew the picture before I wrote the song!

Since food and music go so well together, what would be your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?

Eating a filet mignon and seeing Tom Waits.

As you travel around the world, what is the overriding sense you get of the people?

I get a sense of family. I’m very open to meeting and getting to know my fans personally. It feels like a family reunion every time we get back together.


Photo credit: Lee Harrelson 

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