The Thorns was a reverse side project of sorts for its principals, Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, and Shawn Mullins. All three singer/songwriters had made their names as solo artists, so to suddenly become a band took a bit of work. Even so, the musicians' batch of shared influences -- Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, Gram Parsons, Simon & Garfunkel -- suggested that the union might work, even if they hadn't worked together before. Summer 2002 found the trio writing up material; by autumn they'd gelled, and started laying it down in an Atlanta studio with longtime producing pal Brendan O'Brien. Sweet (no pun intended) harmonies and an array of guitars were out front, while veteran drummer Jim Keltner held down the rhythm. The self-titled LP appeared from Sony in May 2003, and was immediately heralded as a return to the sunny, harmonious sound of groups like CSN and even Fleetwood Mac. A promotional acoustic tour followed, as did dates with the Jayhawks. A club tour of their own led into late autumn, when the Thorns hooked up with junior-league jangler John Mayer for a few dates of his arena tour. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi