I was tired. Tired from law school, tired from standing around outside in the rain in one place the day before… The only thing that stood between me and scalping my ticket for Sunday's day of the festival was Paul Thorn. I love Paul Thorn. I got to know his music from when he opened for Huey Lewis and the News the past couple of years, and he's someone I've come to really looking forward to hearing. His songs are fantastic, and he has such a unique personality to really drive them home. If he comes to a town near you (and he tours a lot, so he very well might) you should absolutely check him out.
This was the first time I'd ever seen him play with his band - when he's opened for HLN it's just been him accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar - and they were tight. If there was one possible downside to the arrangement it was that from where I was sitting the volume of the band slightly drowned out his fantastic lyrics (every syllable of which are worth hearing), but having the band really highlighted how musically diverse his songs were. And he's got a ton of them - I heard a lot of stuff I hadn't before on any of the umpteen previous occasions (in five states and three time zones…)
Seeing him recharged me, so afterwards I hung out a bit longer and checked out G.E. Smith in the Blues Tent for a while. And then I felt done. I did end up missing out on Chicago, but I'll get to see them a lot this summer when they tour with HLN, and I also missed out on James Brown - which is too bad - but over the three days I got to see so much other great music that I feel ok about it. (I'd also seen Billy Lee Riley earlier in the day before Paul Thorn.) While physically the festival was demanding, the music was soothing, so I think I came back from it all no worse for wear.
(For an idea of what Paul Thorn sounds like when performing, there's an MP3 of an acoustic performance available here.)
Written 5/8, posted 5/9.