Paul Thorn's latest and strongest album to date, Mission Temple Fireworks Stand, is a gospel-flavored gathering of homespun proverbs and proclamations from characters of the type who sell "cherry bombs for Jesus."
Not that Thorn hasn't had a wealth of his own experiences.
Born the son of a Pentecostal preacher in Tupelo, Mississippi (birthplace of Elvis), Thorn has alternately stared at the ground from 13,000 feet (he skydives for fun), across the ring at Roberto Duran (who defeated Thorn via TKO in a 1987 bout), and over a sea of dressed-to-the-nines country fans.
"The biggest thing I ever did was a tour opening for Toby Keith," Thorn says. "Going into it, I thought that it was going to be fabulous, but I learned real quick that the top-star country audience, when they go to a show, they're not really going to hear music. They're going to see somebody they saw on TV.
"What I'm trying to say," Thorn adds, "is I'm way more enjoying playing with Huey."
There are, of course, only four Hueys in the world, and this one is neither a former Louisiana governor, founding Black Panther, nor one of Donald Duck's nephews. Thorn speaks of '80s icon Huey Lewis.
"Huey is a super-nice guy," Thorn says. "Usually when you go out and do an opening act, you'll be lucky if you get 20 minutes, but he really likes my stuff, and me and him hit it off real big, so I'll go out there and do 45. And for an opening act with an acoustic guitar, that's pretty special for him to let me do that."
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