My wife and I attended the recent “Mountain Stage,” held at Huntington’s palace of rococo ornament, the Keith-Albee Theater. We both walked away new fans of Paul Thorn, whose songs have been memorably described as the equivalent of taking a six-pack to church. We were already fans of Arlo Guthrie, who topped the bill. It would have been a close call, had this been Funny Singer-Songwriter Idol, who would have won — Guthrie or Thorn? My vote: Thorn, edging Guthrie out by a randy joke or two. I won’t even try to reproduce the joke about his girlfriend’s butt. Thorn looked off-stage to host Larry Groce and wondered whether they’d have to cut that story when the show finally airs on radio in September 2012. Very very likely. (Note to Larry: Let us run it here on WestVirginiaville?)
Afterward, wine, roasted vegetables, hummus and other fingery foods at the Penthouse & Piano Bar, run by Huntington Prime on the 15th floor of a building overlooking the Ohio River, just down the street from the theater. I am wary of introducing myself to stars: what have I got to say they haven’t heard a thousand times? But Thorn held out his hand to greet me. “Enjoyed it!” I said. And left it at that. He had just come from the corner of the room, where some well-meaning fan — no doubt eager to run and upload the shot to Facebook — had just asked to pose with Thorn, holding up a can of Spam beside the singer-songwriter’s face as a friend snapped the shot.
Back down on terra firma, headed to my car along Fourth Avenue, the lights of the Frederick Hotel beamed.