From blues to roots, country and gospel music, singer-songwriter performs in the Old Mill District on July 29.
Grab your blanket and lemonade for a free concert on the grassy lawn of the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Paul Thorn writes and performs songs taken from life–good times, bad times and everything in between. In his new album, What The Hell Is Goin’ On? Thorn covers songs he loves by other songwriters. “I wanted to take a break from myself, do something different, and just have fun.” It’s an album of covers, but it’s also a Paul Thorn album through and through.
Thorn took an unexpected detour on the road to recording a follow-up to his most successful release, 2010’s Pimps and Preachers. After writing many discs of semi-autobiographical tunes that have drawn comparisons to John Hiatt and John Prine, the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter – hailed as the “Mark Twain of Americana” – decided to do an album of covers.
Thorn puts his own gritty rock stamp on some of his favorite songs. There are some names familiar to Americana fans (Buddy Miller, Ray Wylie Hubbard), some lesser-known (Foy Vance, Wild Bill Emerson) and some surprises. The Buckingham/Nicks tune Don’t Let Me Down Again originated on that duo’s debut, not during the Fleetwood Mac era, while the Paul Rogers/Free song that Thorn chose to cover is an obscure one, Walk In My Shadow.
The idea for a covers album grew as Thorn encountered tunes that meant something important to him. “I would hear them in the tour van or I’d be at a festival and see someone perform them live,” Thorn says, “and I’d say ‘That’s a great song, I wish I had written it!'” One thing all the writers of these songs have in common, according to Thorn, is that they are true artists. “They don’t just write songs in an effort to become popular or follow trends,” he explains. “At the risk of sounding corny, they write with their hearts. None of these songs are cookie-cutter tunes like you hear on the radio today. They all have real depth, which is very appealing to me.” www.paulthorn.com
Sunday, July 29 2:30pm
DOORS OPEN noon