My thoughts on Blue Guitar Highway by Paul Metsa!
Before I head over to the big book release launch party http://www.blueguitarhighway.com/ at The Ritz Theater http://www.ritzdolls.com/ to get an autograph from the man himself, I would like to share my two cents worth. I picked up my copy at http://www.magersandquinn.com/ Booksellers upon release date and skimmed through it once, flipped it back over and then, like holding a new born baby for the first time, couldn’t let it out of my hands! I had so much fun reading it that I was upset when it ended! I felt like I needed to start jotting down notes on my own life to refresh my memory and relive the highlights as it all goes by so fast and so many great stories go untold. Everyone should write their own memoirs as every individual life is equally important. This book has not one word of filler, it is all flesh and blood and a truthful account of a man’s journey through life! Where he has been, where he is now and where he is going. His sense of humor intact and ever the master storyteller, Paul lays it all out for us on a silver platter, page after page. This is the ultimate story of the survival of a working musician who hasn’t become a big star yet!
This man has done some serious hard travelin’, hard livin’ and hard hustling, but determined to stand tall and proud and let us all in on his adventures. The people he has met, the places he has gone and the things he has seen and done! Oh me, oh my! I am honored to be amongst the colourful characters that have entered his world! I first appear on page 111 in the chapter titled City of Angels. As Paul tells the story “I had met Marc Percansky at a record store in Minneapolis in 1984. Now, almost ten years later, he was living in Los Angeles and making his living as a magician. Perhaps he had a magical means of support as well, as he was the only magician in town who drove a DeLorean, the stainless steel car with gull-wing doors that opened to the sky, featured in the movie Back to the Future. We’d hang out regularly. One of his dreams came true when I stumbled over and introduced him to Patricia Arquette who spun him around the dance floor at the Viper Club. Several nights later, on a moonlight cruise through Laurel Canyon, we stopped at Harry Houdini’s crumbling estate. We walked slowly up the stone stairway covered with fallen, brittle leaves to do nothing more than to observe the place the world’s greatest magician called home. This midnight moment, cloaked in eerie silence, was interrupted by fierce and unexpected howls from what sounded like the menacing hounds of Baskerville. But the estate was abandoned. We ran like hell.” Let me add to this, the record store we met at was Oar Folkjokeopus, Paul also handed me a hot off the press vinyl copy of his debut record Paper Tigers, which I still have today! On another night at The Viper Room, Paul sat me down on a bench right next to Rosanna Arquette as well. At the Houdini house, Paul also put one of the brittle leaves in his wallet, he would show it to me as the years went on, each time he took it out with less and less of it left. I always got a kick out of seeing that! One of the exciting things about hanging out with Paul was that you would never know where you would end up. On Thanksgiving of 1993, at a last minute call, we ended up at someones mansion in the Hollywood Hills. I am still not sure whose house it was but we had a great time and a great dinner! We partied together and I remember thinking that if Paul was a wealthier man, he would have not made it as long as he did, his limits on drugs and alcohol at that time were when it was all gone, then it was all gone, unless somebody else would supply more for him. I was glad to see him alive each new morning! I was amazed at how much he could handle!
I appear again 17 years later, on page 253, in the chapter titled Stars Over the Prairie, when in August, 2010 Paul recounts the Blood On the Tracks Live concert in St. Louis Park. “There were several performers before me, and I paced back and forth backstage smoking cigarettes, drinking bottled water, and playing my guitar. I looked at the crowd, those in the front caught in the glow of the stage lights. Magic Marc Percansky, our hometown Houdini, was there with his mother, Marilyn, dressed as flamboyantly as ever with a wide-brimmed black hat and a leopard skin pillbox dress, and in her arms, a granddaughter as well.” Now I can’t recall exactly how or when Paul had first met my mom, it may have been with our mutual friend Larry Kegan, but I do remember showing her the record and being very excited about the new friend I had instantly made that day! My mom has said that Paul would always call her up and invite her to his higher profile events through the years, he was always very personable and a gentleman. She knew that at every show she was at there would be a shout out to her from the stage and immediately after a big sweaty bear hug and a kiss from Paul, this would never fail! She has always felt that he should have more international success than he has received and that there was plenty of room at the top for not just one but two great folksingers from the Iron Range!
I would like to leave you with the words Paul wrote towards the end of the chapter titled Swing Low, Sweet Chariot that deals with the tragic sudden loss of his sister-in-law Dianne. It is one of the many messages of hope that is scattered throughout the book. “Who can figure out the ways of the world, the demon heartbreak, death that comes too early, magnetic attractions, loves won and lost, fleeting victories of family and friends, business and pleasure, art and commerce, precious moments that pass in flocks like birds soaring and swooping and floating scarf-like in twilight winds? At the end of the day, truth and love are the only things left standing. We must stay honest, healthy, and mentally strong, with the courage to give and take love with every opportunity.” Amen to that!
Paul, congratulations on writing your masterpiece! Thanks for the inspiration. I hope you still carry bits of that leaf with you? May you keep your sisu fires burning as Blackie and yourself continue heading onward toward the light on your Blue Guitar Highway! I will be waiting for Volume Two!