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Paul Metsa and Cats Under the Stars

Bringing it Back Home

“The beauty of obscurity is you never go out of style.”
-- Paul Metsa

School age buddies from Virginia in the early-seventies formed the band ‘Cats Under the Stars.’ They played jazz, reggae, blues and rock and roll. They hit it hard and almost hit it big for a solid decade.

Then founder Paul Metsa went solo and started recording in earnest earning the title of one of Minnesota’s best folk/rock troubadours. He went on to play with some of the biggest names in the music industry and was dubbed “the other great folksinger from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range” by the Huffington Post.

His story and that of the ‘Cats’ takes us from the hard drinking, riotous ‘70s bar scene of the Iron Range to the unrestrained ‘80’s Minneapolis music scene and beyond. Group members Metsa, Tim O’Keefe and Jack Pasternacki share the ups and downs of lifelong musicianship, and a bond that remains today.

The performance documentary features original music from throughout their careers including the 40th reunion concert recorded live in Duluth.


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Bringing it Back Home Preview Clip 1

It was the 1960’s in one of the many Iron Range towns where kids played music because… that’s just what you did. In the Virginia home of Paul Metsa music was a constant, with one family member or another practicing for an upcoming lesson, jamming with friends or listening to WEBC radio broadcasts from Duluth. Back then, am radio was king and rock and roll was everywhere. And one of the earliest inspirations to young musicians was an up and coming singer/songwriter who happened to be from the town next door.


Bringing it Back Home Preview Clip 2

Metsa and schoolmates Jack Pasternacki and Tim O’keefe formed a band just out of high school and in the mid 70’s took it to bars across the Iron Range where business boomed in the face of economic declines sweeping the region. Like their parents and grandparents before them, folks headed to the local watering holes for camaraderie, music and good times.

Later in Minneapolis ‘Cats under the Stars’ reinvented itself as a jazz acoustic trio in the early ‘80s. Metsa eventually went solo, making albums and a name for himself. He shared a stage with Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen among others. Over the years, the ‘Cats’ would reunite again and again and pretty much pick up, right where they left off.

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

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