TUPELO • With a new single, album and video soon to be released, Paul Thorn is taking a hybrid approach to reconnecting with his fans.
Thorn, the Lee County singer/songwriter, is returning to live performances after a layoff due to the pandemic. His concert schedule includes a Nov. 13 performance at Corinth’s Crossroads Arena.
He’s also turning to the internet for livestreamed ticketed performances. He hosted one last week and two more are scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 8.
Thorn said it’s time to get back in front of his supporters.
“It’s hard to promote a record when you can’t do a concert,” he said. “It’s very slowly picking back up.”
Thorn’s newest single, “Never Too Late To Call,” and the video supporting it will be released Nov. 13. The album of the same name has a January release.
The single is a personal one for Thorn, who wrote it as a tribute to his late sister, Deborah Brown.
“It was written and inspired when I was out of the road,” Thorn said. “After my shows I would be wide awake, and there would nobody to talk to because it’s late at night. So, I would often call my sister, Deborah. She was the only one in our family who stayed up late. I’d call and talk to her. We laughted together some, we cried together some. She passed away (in 2018), so I wrote this song. It’s inspired by my conversations with her. I think it will resonate with anybody.”
The album, recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, is Thorn’s first LP of original music in six years.
“I’m really proud of it. It came out good,” said Thorn, noting that the album was originally slated for a July release. “I had songs during (the six years), but I didn’t think the quality was there. I didn’t want to just put something out. I wanted to wait when I had something I felt strong about. ‘Never Too Late To Call,’ I feel strongly about it.”
One way he’s promoting his music is through three virtual performances that fans can watch and even interact with Thorn. Topeka Live, a company specializing in livestream performances, hosts Thorn’s shows.
The first on Oct. 27 featured Thorn playing new music live from a venue from Destin, Florida. Thorn said he had four TV monitors in front of him where he saw the people who purchased tickets and interacted with those who had “front row” access.
“It was like ‘The Brady Bunch’ on steroids. They were all in their little squares,” said Thorn, who laughed as he shared his interactive experience. “I can see you on the screen and you can see me and talk to me. It’s crazy, man. People are mostly watching them from their living room, so I get to see a lot of interesting things. I can say some of them weren’t drinking wine out of a glass. They’re drinking it out of a bottle.’
Thorn will be telling the stories behind his songs during the Nov. 17 virtual show and viewer requests Dec. 8. Tickets are available through paulthorn.com and paulthorn.topeka.live.
Both virtual shows will originate from Nashville, which is also where he’ll resume his in-person performances Nov. 8. He’s booked for matinee and evening outdoor shows at City Winery, and then he will travel to Corinth for what he says is his first performance in the city.
Thorn’s Corinth show, which starts at 7 p.m., will take place on one end of the arena instead of the entire venue. Floor and upper level tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
The Corinth concert, like the Nashville gig and a December show in Tulsa, will be a solo acoustic set that Thorn, 56, says takes him back to his musical beginnings in Tupelo.
“That’s how I started, playing at Papa Vanelli’s when I was working in the factory,” he said.
Thorn said he’s happy to get back to work both in person and virtually.
“It’s like everybody else. We all took a hit. We all lost a little bit. Some have lost everything,” he said. “I’m fortunate. I’m not rich by any stretch, but I’m OK for the next couple of years. But I don’t want it to be that way. I want to get back to work. Not just survive but thrive.”