~By David Rocco~
The opening started with an appearance from the New Breed Brass Band along with The Drummers from En Vision and a host of other folks making the trip from McKinley Arts to Wingfield Park.
The opening of this year’s Artown was non-other than the great songwriter Paul Thorn. He played to a packed Park at Wingfield Park. He started out with an apology for not being able to be here last year when he was to perform with The Blind Boys of Alabama do to the passing of his sister. He did not disappoint the crowd one bit with his performance.
[The son of a preacher man, Mississippi-raised Thorn spent much of his childhood in church, participating in multiple weekly services with his father as well as at neighboring African American congregations, where he became entranced with the music whose infectious spirit is captured on the new album.]
He has a bit different band lineup from last year since his long-time guitar player retired and he brought in a new player. He played for 90min without stopping, and at the end, he even had the crowd singing along with him when he came out into the crowd and had everyone on their feet. He stopped and let everyone get a photo with him during this part and took then time to sign and take photos with his fans at his merchandise table after the show.
Paul Thorn has never disappointed the crowd the different times I have seen him perform over the years.