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BLUE GUITAR HIGHWAY by Paul Metsa

BLUE GUITAR HIGHWAY

By Paul Metsa

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8166-7642-2
Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

A veteran of the Minneapolis bar-band scene takes readers on a ramble down the roads of a life spent working on the outer edge of fame but on the center stage of satisfaction.

While he may be a first-time memoirist, Metsa is a long-time raconteur who has been saving up stories from nearly 40 years in the music business, most of it spent in his beloved home state of Minnesota. From his first junior-high garage band to a successful stint with a Grateful Dead–esque ensemble to a bevy of solo gigs, Metsa has dedicated his heart to performing, and his earnest and often self-deprecating memoir—sprinkled with generous doses of Kerouac/Kesey flights of verbal fantasy, some more successful than others—shows him to be as likable a narrator as ever graced a bar stool. Too many rock memoirs dwell on excess at the expense of inspiration; Metsa quickly dispenses with the former (a bout with cocaine in the ’80s) to better concentrate on the latter. Fusing music and social activism has allowed the author to build a loyal following in addition to attracting attention from such luminaries as Nora Guthrie (Woody’s daughter), John H. Hammond  (the rock promoter who helped elevate Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to prominence) and the late progressive Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. The best example of this dedication comes in a chapter called “Slings and Arrows,” in which Metsa details his (unfortunately unsuccessful) attempts to save the historic Guthrie Theater from demolition.

More than simply a title of regional interest to Midwesterners, this musical journey will resonate with readers who prefer their tell-alls spiced with a generous helping of conviction and a dash of humility.