The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 18, 2013

McMinn on tap at Old Forge

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— DANVILLE — Old Forge Brewing Company will play host to a veteran singer and songwriter Thursday when Williamsport’s Doug McMinn performs.

McMinn will take the stage from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., playing both covers and original music. While his set will include a lot of blues and roots music, McMinn is comfortable in a wide variety of styles including rock, jazz, country and folk. “I do all kinds of stuff,” he said. Among the instruments he plays are saxophone, clarinet, acoustic guitar and electric guitar.

He cites Bob Dylan as a major influence of his. “His music means more and more to me as time goes by,” he said. He’s also a fan of Chicago blues, such as Muddy Waters, and jazz musicians including Duke Ellington. “I’m also kind of a student of classic songwriting, so I’m a fan of a lot of people from back in the day like Hank Williams and Willie Nelson,” he added.

McMinn, who has been performing for 33 years, never expected to a full-time musician.

“I’d always really wanted to play in bands, but … never got started on it,” he said. While he did play the clarinet in school, it was mainly with the marching band and he never performed in other music groups. Then, after graduating from Penn State, he and a guitar-playing friend started playing some swing music gigs in the State College area.

Since then, he’s been involved in solo work, several bands and has even performed clarinet on a nationally-released blues album by musician E.G. Kight.

In addition, McMinn has released two albums with his band Lumpy Gravy, with enough material ready for a third one. He’s also part of an Americana music duo with musician Hannah Bingman.

He has written somewhere between 300 and 400 songs across genres such as rock, jazz, country and blues. “I’ve been writing a very long time. I’ve been writing as soon as I started playing gigs,” he said.

A lot of his regular gigs are from the brewpub scene, with Williamsport’s Bullfrog Brewery being one of his main stops. He’s also been at Bloomsburg’s Marley’s Brewery and Grille and the Berwick Brewing Company.

 “I tend to play a lot of brewpubs because I like the culture” and the people who run them, McMinn said.

He was last at Old Forge Brewing Company this past summer, which will make his Thursday night performance his first in the brewery’s new building. “I’m excited to get into the new place,” he said.  “The people at Old Forge are terribly nice … they’re really great people.”