You can always count on Paul Thorn to provide a picture of life in the margins. His new effort Pimps and Preachers paints many different portraits. There are catchy singer-songwriter story songs like the opener “You’re Not the Only One”, which shows that the problems and trials of life are not unique to the family going through them. They are in fact prevalent in their own neighborhood. The title cut is a roots rocker about someone raised with two contradictory influences. However, the song reveals that these two mentors are really two sides of the same coin. “Love Scar” demonstrates the recklessness of getting a tattoo with your lovers name on it. It’s not hard to guess how the story ends.
Thorn also delivers some Electric Blues on this project that has the best musicianship on any of his recordings to date. Any many ways, Pimps and Preachers is a career defining album. The same brilliance exhibited on earlier albums like Mission Temple Fireworks Stand is present here. However, this new effort has a more diverse pallet. At the same time Thorn’s characteristic dry cynicism hasn’t been lost. “I don’t Like Half the Folk I Love” is a prime example of his dry wit. For those of us who are already Paul Thorn fans, Pimps and Preachers gives us everything we expect and much more.