Paul Thorn: Pimps and Preachers

Music Reviews Paul Thorn
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Paul Thorn: <em>Pimps and Preachers</em>

The marriage of heaven and hell

Angels and demons, dark and light, prosperity and poverty—rock music has revelled so long in these dichotomies that they’ve become cliché, but Tupelo, Miss.-raised singer/songwriter Paul Thorn has lived them all.

He was influenced in his formative years by his father (a preacher) and his uncle (a pimp), who created a tug of war in his psyche, inadvertently priming him for his future as a musician—and that yin and yang is apparent in both Thorn’s lyrics and the way in which he mixes gospel themes with his rootsy rock ’n’ roll. The sacred and the profane pair nicely here, driven by Thorn’s dusky voice and subtle, often self-deprecating wit on songs like “Weeds in My Roses” and “I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love.” Thorn wades in the muggy Southern rock exemplified by the Drive-By Truckers, but with more humor and less bombast. In his world, good and evil aren’t clichés—they’re life.