Every so often a song captures the essence of public sentiment in a way that’s so obvious it sounds simple, yet profound. James McMurtry did it most recently with “We Can’t Make it Here,” perhaps the finest protest/folk song of the past couple decades. Journeyman musician Paul Thorn has hit upon a similar theme of frustration and disbelief that things have gotten to the point they have in his latest release, “What the Hell is Goin’ On?” The title is a not-so-subtle nod to another famous protest song with a similar theme, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On?”
The song is from a new album of cover tunes, this one is from Elvin Bishop of “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” fame. Bishop himself plays the slide guitar solos on Thorn’s version, and it may be his hands you see playing in Thorn’s new video for the song, which also features footage of disasters such as 9/11, housing foreclosures, and gas prices. Watch for several other Bishop cameos via a T-shirt and an album cover, too.