School of Folk Music or Cambridge's Club Passim. But performers of this kind have been welcome at the Ark, and that's still true even with Dave's retirement: witness Paul Thorn, who'll play a solo show there on Saturday, March 28 (see Nightspots). Thorn is from Tupelo, Mississippi, and his show offers a taste of the old low-down southern roadhouse.
Thorn has had a colorful life that included six rounds in the boxing ring with lightweight champ Roberto Durán, an experience that inspired Thorn's song "I'd Rather Be a Hammer (Than a Nail)." He comes from deep enough in the South to have African American cadences in both his music and his speech, and there's an element in his songbag of the kind of old blues routine that gets its energy from a confessional streak that cuts very close to the bone. His show also includes southern satires of the sort Wirtz writes, like "Joanie, the Jehovah's Witness Stripper" (the Lord showed her how to make $1,000 a night) and a tall tale about a suicidal man who lands in the arms of an 800-pound Jesus he bought at a garage sale.