FAME Review: Paul Thorn - What The Hell Is Goin' On
Paul Thorn - What The Hell Is Goin' On

What The Hell Is Goin' On

Paul Thorn

Available from Paul Thorn's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Before the buyer asks what the hell is this? Paul Thorn, who is known for telling his stories in uncompromising ways that bring the listener into his songs, didn't write one song here. The explanation; "I wanted to take a break from myself," he reveals, "do something different, and just have fun." So says Paul Thorn about this detour he takes on his new disc that is covers of songs that are personal favorites of his and that he does his way. The songwriters are a very varied lot, ranging from some you might expect such as Donny Fritts, Ray Wylie Hubbard, to Elvin Bishop (who plays guitar on the title cut which he wrote), to the very unexpected, Wild Bill Anderson, Allen Toussaint, and the Buckingham/Nicks tune Don't Let Me Down Again. All these songs, in his opinion, reflect honest songwriting that mirrors the feelings from the heart.

Mr. Thorn is joined on this disc but his very tight road band that has been with him through the trials of the road. Guitarist Bill Hinds, on keyboards there is Michael Graham, bass player Ralph Friedrichsen and drummer Jeffrey Perkins have all gone down the path with Paul for 15 plus years. They are joined by the wonderful McCrary Sisters on background vocals, and on Bull Mountain Bridge, by Les Hillbillies des Pirates (with a name like that you will find out who they are), featuring Delbert McClinton.

This disc has a very live feel to it—the band knows these songs and just settles into the groove. Whether it is a ballad, a heartbreaker song or a raucous rocking number, there is a comfort here of playing songs that are meaningful and have been played live often so they have become those comfortable clothes that one slips into after a hard day. Just listen to the job he does on Ray Wylie's haunting Snake Farm, enough said.

Track List:

  • Don't Let Me Down Again
  • Snake Farm
  • Shelter Me Lord
  • Shed A Little Light
  • What The Hell Is Goin' On
  • Small Town Talk
  • Walk In My Shadow
  • Wrong Number
  • Bull Mountain Bridge
  • Jukin'
  • She's Got A Crush On Me
  • Take My Love With You

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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