Down on Main
Who: Paul Thorn, Charlie Mars
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Info: (662) 841-6598
TUPELO – Paul Thorn doesn’t think twice about the thousands of strangers in his audiences across the country.
Put the singer-songwriter in front of a crowd of hundreds, made up of his family, friends and neighbors, and you might see a little bit of sweat form on his brow.
“I get more nervous playing in my hometown than I do anywhere else. My parents come out, a lot of my local friends come out,” he said, “but Tupelo has always been real good to me.”
Tupelo is where it all started for Thorn. The city has supported him when he was an unknown musician entering the songwriters’ competition at the GumTree Festival, and it continues to support him as an established Americana artist. Thorn is the third and final performer in the city’s Down on Main free summer concert series.
“It’s a well-done thing,” Thorn said about the series.
Thorn and his band have already chosen the setlist for the Tupelo show, but he’s still finding ways to make his audience smile.
“I’m always thinking of things to say on stage, because, it’s like being married – your wife’s heard all your jokes already,” he said, laughing.
Thorn said he looks up to entertainers like Dean Martin and Porter Wagoner, men who had their own variety shows and could make their audience cry with a song or laugh with a joke.
“(Martin) made people feel like he was talking to them,” Thorn said. “I’m trying to keep that alive. Look at the impression he made, and how he’s remembered.”
Thorn’s bringing his full five-piece band with him, as well as three back-up singers and a few “mystery guests” who will sing with him.
“It’s going to be good,” he said.
After this Tupelo gig, Thorn will return to Sulligent, Ala., where he’s recording a new album. That CD should be out mid-2010.
His last album, “A Long Way from Tupelo,” was Thorn’s most successful to date, and it won him appearances on shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Thorn has spent much of 2009 on tour with Bonnie Raitt.
“It was fantastic,” he said. “This is the best year I’ve had in terms of the size of crowds and number of shows.”
And to think, all his success started in Tupelo.
“Me and my drummer don’t have to share a hotel room anymore,” Thorn said with a laugh. “And that’s a blessing.”
Watch Paul Thorn video below.
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Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal