Paul Thorn is the son of a preacher man. Thorn spent much of his childhood in church, participating in multiple weekly services with his father as well as at neighboring African American congregations, where he became entranced with gospel music whose infection spirit is captured on his new album. Don’t Let the Devil Ride.
Don’t Let the Devil Ride, Paul Thorn’s collection of soulful songs originally recorded by black southern gospel groups, was co-produced by Billy Maddox and Colin Linden and recorded at three legendary locations: Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, and Preservation Hall in New Orleans. The album features contributions from the Blind Boys of Alabama, The McCrary Sisters, the Preservation Hall Jazz Horns, and Bonnie Bishop.
After a dozen blues/country rock records, Don’t Let the Devil Ride is a return to roots for Thorn where he reclaims his past and celebrates the style of music he was first exposed to: gospel. Many of the tracks on this record are lesser-known gospel releases by small Mississippi and Alabama labels in the late 1950s-70s. The one exception is the O’Jays’ classic hit “Love Train” which perfectly frames the album’s theme of love and inclusion.