The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 21, 2013

Blues and brews with Doug McMinn

By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item

BLOOMSBURG — With a hearty “hey, y’all,” singer and songwriter Doug McMinn kicks off a solo gig that will take the audience on a musical journey filled with soulful blues and pure Americana tunes that speak of hard work, lost love and even getting bit by a tick.

On Sunday evening, McMinn will bring his honest tunes and battered guitar to the Turkey Hill Brewing Co. in Bloomsburg for a few hours of music about and for the common Joe and Jane.

“I work hard to be entertaining and provide the audience with some good music. I’ve been making music professionally since the early 1980s and what I love most about being a musician is the opportunity to express myself through music,” McMinn said. “Someone coming to see me perform will also have the chance to hear a lot of original music that says a lot about myself and life.”

A native of the York area, McMinn has called Williamsport home since 1986 and during that time has earned the respect and admiration of fellow musician and  fans of the local music scene as being one of the most versatile and talented performers.

From gritty blues to jazz, jam sounds to classic rock and flag-waving Americana, McMinn can easily shift musical gears to fit the vibe of a venue or crowd.

“I think that’s something that sets me apart from other local players — that I can performed a lot of different styles of music from modern jazz to swing music,” he said. “I can just as easily be playing blues one night and play jazz the following night.”

Over the years McMinn, who studied literature at Penn State, has mastered the skills needed to play the guitar and clarinet although his saxophone solos are often the high points of his many gigs.

Last year the 59-year-old McMinn performed 139 gigs across the Susquehanna Valley and the Keystone State either as a solo act, with a band, quartet or as part of an acoustic duo.

A few of the bands the Billtown Blues Challenge winner regularly performs with include Black n’ Blues, the Doug McMinn Blues Band, Lumpy Gravy and the Doug McMinn Jazz Quartet.

His honest style of music shows a level of professionalism that comes from years of performing and being an important part of the Valley’s music scene, a scene he often dominates, especially when he’s performing a jam-infused saxophone solo that has both power and a musical punch.

With a slight bohemian style and a raspy voice meant for singing a woeful blues tune, it’s best to call McMinn an entertainer instead of a musician since writing and making music is such an important part of his life.

“For the gig at Turkey Hill there will be a lot of Americana and blues,” he said. “There will be a lot of good music and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to hear good music.” 

His music isn’t glossy. In fact, at times, it can be somewhat gritty, yet it is always true and honest as it speaks of life lived by the common man, like getting bit by said tick.