Lance Cowan • (615) 331-1710 •


For Immediate Release



Lance Cowan / LCMedia

(615) 331-1710 /


50 Years Later

Legendary Minnesota Musician Paul Metsa's Jack Ruby

Chronicles Shadowy Chapter in Kennedy Assassination


MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA — Fifty Years ago on November 24, 1963, Jack Ruby, wearing a Cavanaugh hat, snuck past throngs of media and law enforcement officials and before a live, national television audience, assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald, himself in custody and charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy two days earlier.

Legendary Minnesota musician / songwriter Paul Metsa’s new single, “Jack Ruby” documents the event in classic storytelling style that recalls John Prine, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, a fellow Iron Range native.  The song is featured on Metsa’s new Blues, Ballads and Broadsides — Songs from the Blue Guitar Highway, a companion CD (featuring 30 years of his recording history) to Metsa's acclaimed book, Blue Guitar Highway.

“Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a Cavanaugh hat / Whoever taught you to shoot a pistol like that / You snuck

in the basement and you stood in the back /

Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a Cavanaugh hat.”

Originally written and recorded for Metsa’s Whistling Past the Graveyard in 1992.  Recorded in Nashville at Moondog Studios with producer guitarist Bucky Baxter (Dylan, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams) on pedal steel, bassist Garry Tallent (Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band) and guitarist George Marinelli (Bruce Hornsby, Bonnie Raitt).  Metsa performed the song live at Farm Aid in 1992.


To view the Farm Aid video, visit



For a free download of the new re-released version of "Jack Ruby," visit:


The New York Review of Records said Metsa's album is “another intriguing set of intelligent, socially aware rockers” and hailed “Jack Ruby”  as “powerful,” saying it “inducts the shadowy Texan into the pantheon of great American protest of great American protest antiheroes.”

Born on the Iron Range, Metsa has been based in Minneapolis since 1978. In his three decades plus career he has shared the stage with the likes of Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and more and won multiple Minnesota Music Awards, including the 2005 Americana Artist of the Year.

Blue Guitar Highway, (UofMN Press, 2011) was greeted with great reviews across the country.  The book is Metsa’s memoir, chronicling the musician’s journey through the entertainment business.  “The roads Paul Metsa has traveled are so fabled you might think, opening his book, would be a book of footnotes — the record of other people’s footsteps,” wrote noted critic Greil Marcus. “But Metsa brings every myth the roads carry down to earth, rewriting their stories in real time, returning the roads to real life, opening them up again to both past and future.”





Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a Cavanaugh hat,

whoever taught you to shoot a pistol like that

Oh, you snuck in the basement

and you stood in the back,

Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby in a Cavanaugh hat


Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were fifteen years old

on the south side of Chicago you looked up to Capone,

stole girls lunch money beat boys on their way home

Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were fifteen years old


Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were twenty-one,

you traded brass knuckles for a caliber gun,

in the Sherman hotel bootleg whiskey did run

Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were twenty-one


Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were thirty-five,

Set up shop in Dallas had nothing to hide,

a nightclub with hookers and cops side by side

Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were thirty-five


Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were forty-nine,

at the Carousel Club you kept the judges in line,

J. Edgar Hoover said there’s no organized crime

Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were forty-nine


Repeat Chorus


Did the kingfish in New Orleans give you the key,

the numbers to contact the men you should see,

a confederate cloak of conspiracy,

with an eye towards November 1963


When the motorcade turned on Houston and Elm,

 into the crossfire where Camelot fell

Were the shots from the window or 6th floor window well?

In Dealey Plaza more than three empty shells


Was Lee Harvey Oswald the only one?

What of those in the bushes who started to run

With secret service credentials and government guns,

they’d answer no questions for what they had done


Oswald was set up so he did say

before he appeared in the basement driveway

On live television Ruby blew his soul away,

God speed the witness with something to say


(Repeat Chorus)


Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby when you were sixty-four,

told Dorothy Kilgallen you’d even the score,

from your jail cell gave names and numbers and more,

in forty eight hours she lay dead on the floor


Jack Ruby, Jack Ruby come back from the grave,

tell us for real whose lives you did save

And the powers behind the deals that were made,

how a Presidents murder became your stock and trade


For those who are guilty are alive to this day,

got their visas in D.C. and got on their way,

others laid low until election day,

a day of high treason and a quick getaway


Did the Warren Commission mean what they say?

Did the mob or oil money get in the way?

Did the shadow of Cuba darken the day?

In Dallas County the land of LBJ

In Dallas County the land of LBJ


(Repeat Chorus)


Words and Music By Paul Metsa

Paul Metsa Music – BMI ©®


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