If anyone ever makes a movie of Paul Thorn’s life, they may have to leave out some of the details just to make it believable. Just after Thorn’s birth in Wisconsin, his Pentecostal preacher father moved the family to Tupelo, Miss., famed birthplace of Elvis Presley. Thorn learned guitar at 12, but before he could pursue music he took up boxing with encouragement from an uncle, ultimately becoming the world’s 29th-ranked middleweight. Thorn fought eventual world champ Roberto Duran in 1987, but gave up the sport soon after and returned to music, writing songs and evolving his Folk/Roots/Gospel/R&B style.
After meeting songwriter Billy Maddox, Thorn continued to develop his songcraft while working days in a furniture factory and playing area clubs at night. In 1996, an associate of producer Miles Copeland caught Thorn’s set at the Village Tavern in Tupelo; two weeks later, Thorn was in L.A. recording his 1997 debut album, Hammer and Nail.
See this rising music star at the Southgate House with Patrick Sweany. Get Sound Advice here.