Thorn was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in but raised in Tupelo, Mississippi after a family move when he was an infant. “My father was a preacher, so I went with him to churches that white people attended and churches that black people attended,” Thorn says. “The white people sang gospel like it was country music, and the black people sang it like it was rhythm and blues. But both black and white people attended my father’s church, and that’s how I learned to sing mixing those styles.”
Before his professional music career began he was a professional boxer. Boxing career highlights include a nationally televised bout with former world championRoberto Duran. After a few years of working in a Tupelo furniture factory and playing in local clubs he was discovered by music professional Mile Copeland brother of The Police drummer Stewart Copeland.
In 1997, while performing at a singer-songwriters night at a local pizza shop (Vanelli’s), Roger Sovine overheard Thorn and was impressed with his singing and song writing ability. He asked Thorn if he had his permission to share his name with other record companies in Nashville. A couple weeks later, Thorn called the owner of Vanelli’s and mentioned that several record companies were coming to Tupelo to hear him perform. Thorn asked if he could come and play at Vanelli’s which vOz agreed to. After hearing Thorn perform, Wyatt Easterling, an associate of Miles Copeland III, brought Thorn to Nashville and within thirty days, Thorn opened for Sting. Thorn was subsequently signed to a recording contract with A&M records. and recorded his first album, Hammer & Nail, in 1997. He left A&M soon after and followed Hammer & Nail with thirteen more albums, all self-released and self-produced with his writing and production partner, Billy Maddox.
Thorn’s 2010 album Pimps and Preachers debuted at No. 83 on the Billboard chart , his highest chart position to date. His 2012 album What the Hell Is Going On was the 12th Most Played Album of 2012 on the Americana Music Association Year-End Chart.What the Hell Is Going On was Thorn’s first album to feature the songwriting of other artists and the second record of his to debut on the Billboard Top 100 during its first week of release.
Thorn has toured as an opening act for Huey Lewis and the News, Bonnie Raitt, John Print, Mark Knopfler, Robert Cray, Jeff Beck and many others.
Thorn possessed the ability to charm audiences right from the start. Not only with his music, but also with the stories he tells from the stage. “Showmanship is a dying art that I learned from watching Dean Martin on TV when I was a kid,” Thorn explains. “He could tell little jokes and then deliver a serious song, then make you laugh again. And he would look into the camera like he was looking right at you through the TV. That’s what I want to do – make people feel like I’m talking directly to them.”
In 2014, Thorn released Too Blessed to Be Stressed, which he described as a collection of positive anthem songs. “I wrote these songs hoping they might put people in a positive mindset and encourage them to count their own blessings, like I count mine,” Thorn observes. “There’s no higher goal I could set for myself than to help other people find some happiness and gratitude in their lives.”
“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.”
That’s really Thorn’s mission for Too Blessed To Be Stressed, which can be heard as a running conversation about life between Thorn and listeners – a conversation leavened with gentles insights, small inspirations, and plenty of cheer. “I wrote these songs hoping they might put people in a positive mindset and encourage them to count their own blessings, like I count mine,” Thorn observes. “There’s no higher goal I could set for myself than to help other people find some happiness and gratitude in their lives.”