Pimps and Preachers
You can get a taste of Paul Thorn’s sensibility in the name of his record label. There’s the mordant wit, and the sense of ongoing struggle in that name—Perpetual Obscurity—that is also found in most every song he writes. He preaches a bit on this album, in songs like “You Might Be Wrong,” providing his listeners with the reminder that nary a one of us has all the answers. That’s surely a sermon we can all stand to hear in these days when Americans seem more polarized than ever. His rich vein of humor is on display in songs like “I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love” and “Mona Lisa.” There’s also unintended Thorn-ish irony in his song of hope about New Orleans—“Better Days Ahead”—written and recorded before that disaster-plagued town got hit by the BP disaster that coated the Gulf of Mexico with oil. And, when he gives vent to deep feeling on the closing song—“That’s Life”—about his mother, you might be reminded of the redemptive power of song. But the best thing about Thorn is his deeply rooted authenticity. He is who he is, without a particle of pretense. A rare thing.