Gladden House Sessions 2018: Paul Thorn

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Mississippi-born country blues singer Paul Thorn performed his Gladden House Session on Sunday, June 3, the fourth and final day of the 2018 Nelsonville Music Festival. Paul Thorn immediately captured the audience’s attention with his charismatic stage presence and the foot-tapping groove of his first song, “I’m Still Here,” a grim, yet optimistic tune from 2008’s A Long Way From Tupelo (Perpetual Obscurity Records).

Thorn found his start in songwriting early on, and soon was working gigs at clubs and other venues. It wasn’t long before he was picked up by A&M Records, and most surprisingly, during one of his first shows, he served as an opener for Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, aka Sting of The Police. Thorn is currently playing regularly with the Blind Boys of Alabama and The McCrary Sisters under the name Mission Temple Fireworks Revival, which he talks briefly about in the beginning of the session.

Following “Im Still Here,” Thorn plays a song from 2018’s Don’t Let the Devil Ride (Perpetual Obscurity Records) called “Jesus Gonna Make up My Dyin’ Bed,” a number that uses stripped down guitar and the grit of Thorn’s voice to captivate the audience. Thorn follows this with one of his favorite and most personal songs, “That’s Life,” a slower, soulful tune originating from a phone call with his mother originally released on 2010’s Pimps and Preachers (Perpetual Obscurity Records). He ends this song with a shout out to a festival-goer sporting a speedo; meriting laughs.

Thorn finishes his set with the comedic styling of “I Guess I’ll Just Stay Married,” a crowd favorite. The audience can’t help but chuckle at lines throughout this song, especially the chorus of “I couldn’t get laid when I was single, so I guess I’ll just stay married.”