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The Paul Thorn Band 

When: Sat., April 2, 7 p.m. 2011
Paul Thorn makes nice records — last year’s full-length Pimps and Preachers displayed Thorn’s songwriting talents more fully than his previous collections — but he may be best appreciated live. On stage, the Tupelo, Miss., native exudes the kind of self-possession that makes an interesting complement to the kind of religious possession he often writes about. He comes across as an unpretentious, self-made man who hasn’t forgotten where he came from, and while Thorn is as much a Professional Southerner as Lucinda Williams or a thousand others, his shtick is rooted in community and bluster-free. His tight little band plays like some unlikely amalgam of Little Feat and Elvis Costello’s Attractions, and Thorn puts across his modest yet conflicted worldview in a series of funny, half-tragic tunes. At his best, he’s a Mississippi Graham Parker with an unsolvable sin-versus-redemption problem, and that’s to our benefit.
— Edd Hurt

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