Review: Paul Thorn Reflects on Regrets

Paul Thorn/Never Too Late To Call/Thirty Tigers
3.5 out of Five Stars

On first encounter, Never Too Late To Call seems like an unusually downcast effort from singer/songwriter Paul Thorn. Given his reputation as an amiable entertainer with a decidedly wry sense of humor, it’s rare to find him so distraught. Yet here he is, in the wake of a wrecked relationship. 

Our love fell off a scarlet red moonbeam, he moans on “Sapphire Dream,” a typically low-cast ballad about being spurned and set adrift. Now the only thing left is my sapphire dream

Fortunately though, for all its desire and despair, Never Too Late To Call remains aurally appealing, all supple textures and acoustic cushioning. Thorn is an expressive singer, and his brooding vocals convey an unassuming honesty that leaves no doubt as to his fractured feelings.  Songs such as “It’s Never Too Late To Call,” “Goodbye Is the Last Word” and “Breaking Up For Good Again” replay scenarios that are all too common when the two lovers involved realize it’s best to sever their ties, and yet still resist the urge to do so despite their best intents. The heartbreak is palatable, which makes the hard-luck happenstance he describes all the more emphatic. It isn’t exactly easy listening, but it’s relatable all the same.

To be sure, Never Too Late To Call isn’t a one-note entreaty. Songs such as “Holy Hottie Toddy,” “Here We Go,” and “Sapalo” opt for an uptick in energy, each reflecting the solid stomp Thorn’s known to share in concert with his overly enthused audiences. His disappointment aside, he still manages to shift his stance and retain his resolve. “You Mess Around and Get a Buzz” takes that earnest engagement several steps further, a tipsy tale of excessive behavior that suggests what might happen when drowning one’s sorrow leads to a tidal wave of self-destruction.

Granted, although Thorn seems to be wallowing in self-pity, he also ought to be credited for sharing his strife in ways that are relatable as well. After all, who hasn’t felt a nudge of nostalgia in the wake of sad circumstances? 

Let’s all celebrate what a glorious mess we are, he opines on “Holy Hottie Toddy, the final song of the set. Grab on to your dreams and ride them like a shooting star… love everybody…

In other words, you only live once, so go for the gusto. If mistakes are made, they’re often well worth the risk. Or, as the title tells it, it’s never too late to call, or for that matter, opt to take that second chance.

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