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Spotlights [Issue # 10 ]
Paul Thorn: Are You With Him, So Far?

By Lynne Bronstein

Paul Thorn’s life has had enough ups and downs to be inspiration for a novel or movie. He is a minister’s son who began his career singing at revival meetings. He has been a boxer, a chair-maker, a skydiver, a painter (see his web site for the paintings) and a $50 a night performer in restaurants. A full-time musician since 1997, his new album on Back Porch Records, Are You With Me?, comes out August 10th and presents a collection of songs that examines the travails of romantic relationships.

During a recent phone chat from his home in Mississippi, Paul Thorn gave ONE WAY his perspective on life, love, music, and the pursuit of a positive outlook.

On His Background As A Boxer: “The thing I’m most known for as a boxer is actually a fight I lost, which is when I fought four-time World Champion Roberto Duran. I fought him in ‘88 - I was in my early 20s. The fight was scheduled for 10 rounds - I fought pretty decent for six rounds, but the problem was his punches were cutting my skin. Between the sixth and seventh rounds, I had cuts over both my eyes and the doctor stopped it because the blood was interfering with my vision.”

On His Family: “My father was a Church of God Pentecostal minister and a traveling evangelist. When I was 3, he would take me with him on the road doing revivals. Every night before my daddy would preach, he’d put a tambourine in my hand and I would sing. “The biggest musical influence I have is my father. Nobody famous really influenced me.”

On Musical Education: “I don’t read music. I play by ear. My dad showed me a few chords. I just kinda learned by imitating people and listening to songs.”

On Country Music: “I like the good classic country. The modern country sounds like ‘70s pop. And there’s too many navels exposed. I think it’s a lot sexier if you’re covered up.”

On Work: “When I was boxing, since I wasn’t a World Champion, I wasn’t making a lot of money so I had to keep a day job. When I got out of boxing, I started really digging back into my songwriting. I worked in a factory for 12 years while I was boxing and while I was writing songs.”

On Getting His Big Break: “I eventually got discovered while I was playing in a pizza restaurant in Tupelo, by Miles Copeland. Actually, a guy who worked for him came to hear me and I gave him a demo and then he flew everyone out to hear me because of my songs.”

On Concerts: “As a minister’s son, I wasn’t allowed to got to concerts when I was growing up. So the first concert I ever went to in my life was when I opened for Sting.”
On The New Album: “It’s songs about men and women. There’s a song called “If I Can Get Over Her” and it’s about how we all have someone in our past that we used to be so in love with, but now we’re so over them that if we saw them in Wal-Mart we would duck down another aisle.”

On Love and Positive Attitude: “I like good love songs. But I don’t like love songs that say things like ‘Without you I would be nothing.’ If you’re nothing without your mate, no wonder they left you! First thing you gotta do to have a successful relationship of any kind, is you gotta love yourself. You gotta like what you see in the mirror.”

Are You With Me?
Back Porch

Are You With Him, So Far? Paul Thorn Are You With Me?

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