Southern Troubadour: Paul Thorn Q&A

Ruthie Foster and Joe Ely part of local show.

Three distinct, chart-topping talents will present an evening of blues, roots-rock, Americana and more as the Southern Troubadours in the Round featuring Paul Thorn, Ruthie Foster and Joe Ely take the stage in Middletown on Saturday, April 9.

Part of the Miami Regionals Artist Series, the show will be at Miami University Middletown’s Dave Finkelman Auditorium.

We caught up with Paul Thorn to find out more about the concert and to reflect upon what fans can expect from the Southern-style evening.

Q: Can you tell us what you’ve been working on, musically?

A: “The first part of the year has been mostly touring, because we have so many opportunities to play, and to go out and build our fanbase. So, that’s mostly what we’ve been doing right now is touring and doing shows.”

Q: Where are you from?

A: “I live in Tupelo, Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.”

Q: Tell us about your latest project?

A: “ ‘Too Blessed to Be Stressed’ has been out for a little over a year, but the title song, “Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” is a common phrase I heard growing up in Mississippi. There are so many bumper-sticker worthy phrases that people say in the South, and that was one of them I used to hear people say, especially at church. They would say, ‘I feel so good, I’m too blessed to be stressed.’ That’s where that song, and the whole concept for the album came from. It’s all about positive anthems that listeners can sing along with in their cars, to elevate their mood, and make them feel a little bit of joy when they’re driving to work, listening to it.”

Q: Can you tell us about your style of music?

A: “My music is very Southern. The language in my songs, and the way the music sounds, it’s heavily gospel-influenced. I grew up singing in a Pentecostal church. I went to black churches, and white churches, and that’s where I got my musical style. It has a whole bunch of stuff in it: It’s rhythm and blues, rock ’n’ roll and country. It’s all over the place, but it’s very Southern. Elvis Presley, got all of his musical ability, and he developed it by singing in church. That’s one of the things we have in common. Elvis and I came from the very same place, and that’s gospel.”

Q: What’s it like to play with Joe and Ruthie?

A: “I’ve known Joe and Ruthie for a long time, and we’ve done a bunch of shows together. It’s three people up there with three guitars, and we are taking turns singing songs and telling stories. Ruthie and Joe are so entertaining, and the crowd seems to really dig the show. You get to hear the stories behind the songs, and it’s a very interesting show. It’s fun. We laugh a lot, and we have a good time.”

Q: How does “Southern Troubadours in the Round” best describe the show?

A: “We’re all from the South. Joe’s from Texas, I’m from Mississippi, and Ruthie’s from Alabama. We all have that Southern thing that comes through in our music. So, we’re from the South, we’re singer/songwriters, and we’re troubadours, and that’s what we called it.”

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Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

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