‘Blue Guitar Highway’ packed with colorful music details and things uniquely Minnesotan
Paul Metsa is a Minnesota original, a quintessential Iron Ranger with Finnish roots. He had a guitar, he had a dream, and he had ambition, all of which took him from a garage-band musician in Virginia, Minn., to stages in Minneapolis and beyond. He eventually returned to his home state, and last year the University of Minnesota Press published the story of his life in “Blue Guitar Highway.”
Metsa spent many miles on that highway, traveling a long way from the town where he played his first guitar, which had a cowboy and horse stenciled on it. When he was growing up in Virginia, his dad sold insurance, his mom was a nurse, and his beloved grandfather lived above Zimmerman’s (as in Bob Dylan’s uncle) Electric and ran the Roosevelt Bar.
He left the Range to study music at the University of Minnesota and spent most of his colorful life in the Twin Cities, working his way into the music scene as a guitarist and songwriter. He eventually made enough connections to land a day job booking acts at Famous Dave’s Barbeque and Blues for seven years. His far-reaching contacts in the business, along with his insatiable appetite for new musical experiences, led him to gigs in New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Iceland, and Siberia.