STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
“Too Blessed To Be Stressed” is the latest release from Americana blues/rock singer-songwriter Paul Thorn.
“I’m proud of it,” says Thorn from his home in Tupelo, Mississippi. “It’s a record with a bunch of positive uplifting songs. Every song has some sort of a message of inspiration, and it’s real upbeat. In the past, I’ve told stories that were mostly inspired by my own life. This time, I’ve written 10 songs that express more universal truths, and I’ve done it with a purpose: to make people feel good.
It’s a happy record that is doing better than any record I’ve put out, which I’m very pleased about.”
“I’ve accumulated fans from touring and going all over the country and meeting people and doing shows,” adds Thorn. “When you have fans that like you, they’ll buy more records. It’s kind of like accumulating friends. When people love you, they’re with you for life. Anything you get real quick usually isn’t good. It takes time and a lot of work to build a quality fan base. There’s nothing that can replace hard work. Develop your craft and go out there and be among the people. That’s what I believe in.”
Two decades ago, Thorn was applying his driven work ethic to a professional boxing career. After winning most of his fights, which included time in the ring with Roberto Duran and a Mid-South Middleweight Championship, Thorn walked away.
“I realized I If I had stayed in boxing too long I could wind up with slurred speech and dementia,” recalls Thorn. “I had people in my inner circle that weren’t trying to squeeze every dollar they could get out of me. They actually pulled me to the side when it was the right time and said, “You shouldn’t do this anymore. You’ve taken it as far as you can take it, and we don’t want to see you get hurt. Let’s try something else.”
“Boxing helped me in the area of discipline,” adds Thorn. “I had to get up in the morning and run. I had to go to the gym. I had to eat right. It instilled discipline in me. It was great. Although I was pretty good, I wasn’t good enough to be a world champion.”
Exhibiting a passion and a talent for music, Thorn shifted his energies to where this new adventure would take him. Playing the local club scene while working a day job, Thorn gave music everything he had.
“I didn’t know what the future held,” recalls Thorn. “Everyday I’d get up and I’d say ‘what can I do to better my situation?’ Whether it would be writing a new song or going out and playing in front of a new crowd, I looked for new opportunities.”
“It’s a different time now,” adds Thorn. “A lot of the record companies have gone out of business. Part of my day is going on Facebook. I communicate with my fans. I make videos for them. I talk to them on Twitter. Everything is on the Internet now. So, I mix all that stuff in with my touring. It’s not any one thing that makes someone successful. It’s a bunch of little things going at once. I’m trying to keep all these balls in the air and not drop one.”
After signing a recording contract with A&M Records, Thorn released his debut album, “Hammer & Nail” in 1997. Never losing sight of his dream and determined to make a name for himself, Thorn ultimately made the Billboard charts with the albums “A Long Way From Tupelo” (2008), “Pimps and Preachers” (2010) and “What the Hell Is Going On” (2012), the latter of which debuted on Billboard’s Top 100 and was one of the most played albums of the year on the AMA Chart.
Having caught the attention of some of the biggest names in music, Thorn has shared the concert stage with Huey Lewis & the News, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck and Bonnie Raitt, among others. Appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” have given Thorn critical exposure to a National TV audience.
Beyond his personal success, Thorn recognizes the invaluable staff and musicians that solidify his organization.
“The key to my longevity has been a team of people that have taken up my slack all these years,” says Thorn. “My manager, Billy Maddox, and I have been working together since I was 17. I have an incredible support group that knows my strengths and my weaknesses. When I step up and do my thing that I’m strong at, they step back and let me do my thing. When they see me running off the track, they step in. If you don’t have that in your life you can’t do anything. I also have an incredibly talented band that I have been working with for more than 20 years.”
“Music has saved my life,” adds Thorn. “It has given me something to do. I’m blessed with talent that has really served me well in my life. I actually get to do what I’m good at and what I enjoy and I get paid. What a blessing. That’s like heaven on earth!”