Paul Thorn readies ‘What the Hell Is Goin’ On?’ for May 8 release

Paul Thorn will celebrate his new album What the Hell Is Goin’ On? (Perpetual Obscurity/Thirty Tigers, May 8), with a live webcast on StageIt.com (performance portal at http://bit.ly/IGYBI8) on Tuesday, May 8 at 8 p.m. ET. During the event, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter will discuss and play tracks off his new album from Watson’s Icehouse in Tupelo, Miss. All proceeds from the webcast, which allows fans to donate whatever they feel is a fair amount, will be given by Thorn to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

The album release will also be greeted with artist interviews on both NPR’s “All Things Considered” and on SiriusXM’s “The Bob Edwards Show,” with airdates to be announced. Thorn, who recently concluded his “Soul Salvation” tour with Ruthie Foster, will remain on the road continuously into early fall.

Music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz recently raved about the Elvin Bishop-penned title track: “You’ve got to check this out . . . It’s about the groove, the feel. And this track is so in the pocket it’s like you’ve just swallowed a jumping bean, you can’t help but get up from your seat and start flailing your limbs like Gumby. To paraphrase our forebear Ahmet Ertegun, this is the kind of cut that you hear on the radio that makes you jump out of bed and go to the all-night record store in your pajamas to buy. You won’t hear this on Top Forty radio. Paul Thorn is never going to be on American Idol, never mind Elvin Bishop, but this is the essence, this is what this wonderful business was built upon. SOUND!!!”

Thorn has completed a video for the title track “What the Hell Is Goin’ On?” which may be viewed at.

Paul Thorn took an unexpected detour on the road to recording a follow-up to his most successful release, 2010’s Pimps and Preachers. After writing many discs of semi-autobiographical tunes that have drawn comparisons to John Hiatt and John Prine, Thorn — once hailed as the “Mark Twain of Americana” — decided to record an album of covers. “I wanted to take a break from myself,” he reveals, “do something different, and just have fun.”

No slouch as a songwriter himself, Paul chose songs from some of America’s greatest: Buddy Miller, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Elvin Bishop, Lindsey Buckingham, Rick Danko & Bobby Charles, Big Al Anderson, Foy Vance, Donnie Fritts and Eli “Paperboy” Reed among them. Delbert McClinton (singing on Wild Bill & Martha Emerson’s “Bull Mountain Bridge”) and Elvin Bishop (singing and playing guitar on his own “What the Hell Is Goin’ On?”) appear as guest performers on the album as well.

The idea for a covers album grew as Thorn encountered tunes that meant something important to him. “I would hear them in the tour van or I’d be at a festival and see someone perform them live,” Thorn says, “and I’d say, ‘That’s a great song, I wish I had written it!’” One thing all the writers have in common, according to Thorn, is that they are true artists. “They don’t just write songs in an effort to become popular or follow trends,” he explains. “At the risk of sounding corny, they write with their hearts. None of these songs are cookie-cutter tunes like you hear on the radio today. They all have real depth, which is very appealing to me.”

Thorn will stay busy on the road, with these dates:

Thurs., May 10 JACKSON, MS Duling Hall
Fri., May 11 BIRMINGHAM, AL WorkPlay Theatre
Sat., May 12 ATLANTA, GA Variety Playhouse
Sun., May 13 NASHVILLE, TN 3rd and Lindsley
Wed., May 16 AUSTIN, TX One World Theatre
Fri., May 18 DALLAS, TX Kessler Theater
Sat., May 19 SAN ANTONIO, TX Sam’s Burger Joint
Fri., May 25 TAMPA, FL Solo acoustic at Skipper’s Smokehouse
Sat., May 26 TAMPA, FL Full band at Skipper’s Smokehouse
Fri., June 1 TUPELO, MS Tupelo Elvis Festival
Sat., June 2 MEMPHIS, TN New Daisy Theatre
Thurs., June 7 CHARLOTTE, NC McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
Fri., June 8 CARRBORO, NC Cat’s Cradle
Sat., June 9 WINSTON-SALEM, NC Ziggy’s
Sun., June 10 ROANOKE, VA Kirk Avenue Music Hall
Tues., June 12 MARIETTA, OH Adelphia Music Hall at the Gallery
Wed., June 13 ALEXANDRIA, VA The Birchmere
Thurs., June 14 PITTSBURGH, PA Rex Theater
Fri., June 15 JIM THORPE, PA Mauch Chunk Opera House
Sat., June 16 NEW YORK, NY Hill Country Live
Tues., June 19 BUFFALO, NY Sportsmen’s Tavern
Wed., June 20 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom
Thurs., June 21 COLUMBUS, OH Woodlands Tavern
Fri., June 22 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
Sat., June 23 INDIANAPOLIS, IN Birdy’s
Fri., June 29 LOUISVILLE, KY Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium
Sun., July 1 BERWYN (CHICAGO), IL FitzGerald’s American Music Festival
Fri., July 13 STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO Strings Music Festival
Sat., July 14 SALT LAKE CITY, UT Pat’s Barbecue
Sun., July 15 ALTA, WY Targhee Music Festival
Wed., July 18 BILLINGS, MT Manny’s Sports & Entertainment
Fri., July 20 SANDPOINT, ID Panida Theater
Sat., July 21 MOSCOW, ID Rendezvous in the Park
Thurs., July 26 SEATTLE, WA The Triple Door
Fri., July 27 PORTLAND, OR Mission Theater
Sun., July 29 BEND, OR Summer Sunday
Wed., Aug. 2 SACRAMENTO, CA Harlow’s
Fri., Aug. 3 SANTA CRUZ, CA Rio Theatre
Sat.-Sun., Aug. 4-5 NICASIO, CA Rancho Nicasio
Wed., Aug. 8 SANTA YNEZ, CA Tales From the Tavern at the Maverick Saloon
Thurs., Aug. 9 SOLANA BEACH, CA Belly Up
Fri., Aug. 10 LOS ANGELES, CA The Mint
Fri., Aug. 17 MILLVILLE, NY Levoy Theatre
Sat.-Sun., Sept. 8-9 REMUS, MI Wheatland Music Festival
Sat., Sept. 29 SARASOTA, FL Sarasota Blues Festival
Fri., Oct. 5 HELENA, AR King Biscuit Blues Festival

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