Before we start talking about Paul Thorn, let’s discuss how slow this year is starting for me musically-speaking. In past years, the Western Winter Formal hosted by The Easy Leaves at GAMH has been the musical kick-off of my year, but not this year.
The note from The Easy Leaves follows:
“Well, it hasn’t been easy, but after careful consideration we regret to inform y’all that the Western Winter Formal will be taking this year off. It was a tough call, but at this time it seems to be the right move as we focus in on finishing a full length album and cast our gaze onward to the year ahead. We’re gonna miss our annual winter rendezvous with all you Wild West types! And we’ll be back to San Francisco before to long to revive the tradition and look forward to many more Great American Times in the years to come ❤️🤠🌵❤️”
I was pretty disappointed that the show was cancelled, as were some of the other LOLMs. Funny enough, The Easy Leaves still ended up being the kick-off of my musical year, more or less; it just started about two weeks after it usually does. Full disclosure, I’m counting Jeff Tweedy as my first show of the year because he played 4 songs for us (acoustically) at the City Arts and Lectures gig where I saw him a week ago. However, last night’s show (which was my actual first show of the year) had The Easy Leaves (duo) opening for Branson Anderson opening for Corb Lund, so they still pretty much get slot #1 for the year.
But I digress… because what I came here to talk to you about is Paul Thorn. There is so much to say about this man, I don’t know where to start. He is entertaining AF and has THE BEST accent ever! His stories (with that accent) are more than enough for me; he doesn’t even need to perform music. But then he does and it takes me to a different place entirely. And if you are really lucky (and I have been), he comes down into the audience and hugs (with permission) and touches (hands) and sometimes even dances with audience members.
The first time that I saw Paul Thorn, he was billed on this tour called Soul Salvation with Ruthie Foster. I had never seen either of them. I was new on my quest of 52 shows in 52 weeks and feeling some pressure. I called my partner in crime from a distance, Andee, on my way home from work to tell her about this show I was thinking about going to and so I went to GAMH instead of going home from work that night.
And what a night!!! There was Paul Thorn (who opened the show and made me so happy), then there was Jill Katz (who between sets turned to me — the total stranger next to her — and said ‘Aren’t you so excited?’ and with that one question, the foundation of a true friendship was laid that evening — and also, I was so excited!) and then there was Ruthie Foster (and she was amazing too, but this story isn’t about her).
I don’t know if it was at that first show that Paul Thorn introduced me to his song ‘Pimps and Preachers’ or if that came later, but listening to him introduce that song (and listening to my friend, Jessica, introduce that song as Paul Thorn) makes me smile every time. When I’m really really lucky, he plays ‘Snake Farm’ for me. And then there’s his song about how he doesn’t like most of the people he loves.
I can’t say enough how much you should go see this man if you haven’t already. It really is a feel-good show and his songs are both witty (lyrically) and entertaining (musically). There is a lot of love at his shows; I don’t know why but it’s a truth! If you need to fill up your love tank, go to one of these shows!
Maybe I’ll see you at Cornerstone on Saturday night. If not, I’ll leave you with my favorite gem from Kate Wolf in 2017…