Paul Thorn’s new album Too Blessed To Be Stressed stakes out new territory for the popular roots-rock songwriter and performer. “In the past, I’ve told stories that were mostly inspired by my own life,” the former prizefighter and literal son of a preacher man offers. “This time, I’ve written 10 songs that express more universal truths, and I’ve done it with a purpose: to make people feel good.”
Which explains numbers like the acoustic-electric charmer “Rob You of Your Joy,” where Thorn’s warm peaches-and-molasses singing dispenses advice on avoiding the pitfalls of life. The title track borrows its tag from a familiar saying among the members of the African-American Baptist churches Thorn frequented in his childhood. “I’d ask, ‘How you doin’, sister?’ And what I’d often hear back was, ‘I’m too blessed to be stressed.’” In the hands of Thorn and his faithful band, who’ve been together 20 years, the tune applies its own funky balm, interlacing a percolating drum and keyboard rhythm with the slinky guitar lines beneath his playful banter.
Thorn’s trademark humor is abundant throughout the album, which will be released August 19, 2014 on Perpetual Obscurity/Thirty Tigers. “Backslide on Friday” is a warm-spirited poke at personal foibles. “I promised myself not to write about me, but I did on ‘Backslide,’” Thorn relates. The chipper pop tune is a confession about procrastination, sweetened by Bill Hinds’ slide guitar and Thorn’s gently arching melody. “But,” Thorn protests, “I know I’m not the only one who says he’s gonna diet and just eat Blue Bell vanilla ice cream on Sundays, and then ends up eating it every day!”
“Mediocrity Is King” takes a wider swipe, at our culture’s hyper-drive addiction to celebrity artifice and rampant consumerism. But like “Everything Is Gonna Be All Right,” a rocking celebration of the simple joys of life, it’s done with Thorn’s unflagging belief in the inherent goodness of the human heart.
Grammy-winning Bonnie Bishop delivered her sixth album, ‘Ain’t Who I Was,’ on May 27th. Produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), “Ain’t Who I was” peaked at #4 on the Americana Airplay chart in July of 2016.
She's grown quite an audience during her dozen-plus years on the road, earning one notable fan in particular, Bonnie Raitt, who decided to record Bishop's own "Not Cause I Wanted To" for her 2012 album 'Slipstream.' Not only did the song earn Bishop her first Grammy award, but it was named "Song Of The Year" by The New York Times' Jon Pareles.
Bishop's songs have also been performed by TV star Connie Britton on ABC's prime-time show "Nashville," and she recently celebrated a second Bonnie Raitt cut. The slide guitar legend recorded "Undone" for her 20th career album 'Dig In Deep,' which hit stores in February. "I love her work," Raitt says of Bishop, with whom she shares a first name and a rootsy swagger. "She has a beautiful soul, artistry, honesty and courage. Bonnie is as gifted a prose writer as she is a musician, not to mention she's an incredible singer."
In addition to the album, she has cultivated an original web-based audio series called "Story & Song" which marries her creative writing with heartfelt songs of redemption and healing. (The series is available exclusively on bonniebishop.com.) Bonnie is currently planning a spring tour including stops at festivals like the Key West Songwriters' Fest in Florida and Music City Roots in Nashville."