Are You With Me?

Are You With Me?

by Paul Thorn
     
 
In listening to Paul Thorn's fourth album, and the direct follow-up to 2002's iconoclastic wonder Mission Temple Fire Works Stand, one cannot help but think that he's spent some time listening to other people's records as well. Are You With Me is a collection of self-penned songs about love; for, against, happy, sad,

Overview

In listening to Paul Thorn's fourth album, and the direct follow-up to 2002's iconoclastic wonder Mission Temple Fire Works Stand, one cannot help but think that he's spent some time listening to other people's records as well. Are You With Me is a collection of self-penned songs about love; for, against, happy, sad, grief-stricken and bewildered. Nonetheless, it feels like a singer's record. In the laid-back, R&B-drenched grooves one can imagine Thorn listening to recordings as diverse as Lowell George's Thanks I'll Eat It Here, Frankie Miller's High Life, Willy Deville's Backstreets of Desire, Boz Scaggs' Some Change, and Allen Toussaint's From a Whisper to a Scream. It's not that Thorn's fine album sounds like these discs in the slightest, or that he actually referenced them, it's the feel that's similar. Those familiar with Thorn's rollicking blues-based approach to rhythm and blues will be surprised this time out because the Tupelo, Mississippi native's sound comes right from heart of Southern soul on this outing. The album feels like a suite, examining all the stages of love, from bliss to heartbreak, from acceptance to the willingness to try again. Horns, backing vocalists and funky basslines abound in tracks like "She Won't Cheat on Us," as do the shimmering snare and hand drums prompting languid syncopated guitars and a gritty, emotionally honest vocal on "I Want You to Love on Me." There's the dirty horns and B3 that frame "High," and the light, Caribbean-soul inflected R&B that slips and winds around the singer in "If I Can Get Over Her," and the post-midnight smoky groove where crooner and in-the-pocket six-strings pair on "That's a Lie" that preempts the summery afternoon shimmy of "I Don't Wanna Know." Everywhere the sound of Southern Soul permeates, and Thorn's sweet croon rises above and slips through his words. Thorn is the kind of wordsmith where humor, tragedy and emotional honesty entwine and intermingle -- check out the simmering deep soul of "If You Can't Love Me Forever." This album stands in sharp contrast to the barroom rowdiness of his earlier outings; if this record lacks the intensity that Mission Temple Fire Works Stand has, it's because it is supposed to. There is real vulnerability in Thorn's protagonists and the way he sings their truths; they're never wimps, they're merely hopeful or broken men trying to communicate from inside their experiences. Ultimately, Thorn shows once again he's a songwriter to be reckoned with, but this time out he proves in spades that he's a soul singer who can slip down into the murk and mess of human emotions with style and aplomb.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/10/2004
Label:
Narada
UPC:
0724357086226
catalogNumber:
70862
Rank:
17554

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paul Thorn   Primary Artist,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Finger Snapping
Cindy Walker   Background Vocals
Bob Britt   Dobro,Guitar,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar,Classical Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar,Soloist,Guitar (12 String Electric)
Michael Graham   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Strings,Keyboards,Loops,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Soloist,Guitar (Baritone)
Charles Rose   Trombone
Harvey Thompson   Saxophone
Stan Thorn   Organ,Piano,Wurlitzer
Doug Kahan   Bass,Bass Guitar,Fretless Bass Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Vinnie Ciesielski   Trumpet
Bill Hinds   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Soloist,Hi String,Guitar (Baritone)
Jeff Perkins   Drums
Mariel B. Lewy   Background Vocals
Billy Maddox   Finger Snapping
Carla Russell   Background Vocals
Richard Dabbs   Bass
Mitchell Maddox   Finger Snapping
Weylon Michael   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Soloist
Jason Palmer   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Finger Snapping
Kit Thorn   Finger Snapping
Weylon Michael   Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Michael Graham   Engineer,Contributor
Charles Rose   Horn Arrangements
L.E. White   Composer
Sweet-Tea   Producer,Audio Production
Paul Thorn   Composer,Artwork
Black Eyed Peas   Producer,Audio Production
Billy Maddox   Engineer
Jason Green   Digital Manipulation

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