Doug Collins thinks that Northfield is “a gem.”
Collins, along with his band The Receptionists, have played in the area a handful of times — once at The Tavern Lounge and a few times at The Contented Cow, which is where he and the band will be returning on June 19.
“We’re looking forward to coming back to Northfield,” Collins said. “We always have a great audience.”
Collins is originally from Iowa and moved to the Twin Cities in 1989. He said he was looking for a big city to relocate to.
“It was between Minneapolis or Chicago,” he said. “And The Replacements were from Minneapolis, so it won.”
His bio states that he “stepped away” from music for a number of years before forming his four-piece band The Receptionists. Collins said it was life that pulled him away.
“My wife at the time was pregnant. If I was going to be a musician, I would be gone too much, so I just didn’t play music for a while,” he said.
During the day, Collins works at the University of Minnesota. And before returning to his own songs, he said he wrote a few plays and played locally with some cover bands.
“My guitarist was getting married and we put together a cover band to play together for the wedding,” he said. “It was a lot of fun and we wanted to keep the momentum going.”
The Receptionists’ first album, “Those Are The Breaks,” was released in 2013, with a follow-up EP, “Davenport, Iowa,” arriving in 2014. Collins said that the group has booked some studio time in the fall to begin working on another six song EP and that they have been testing out new material during live performances.
Collins has been generating buzz in the Twin Cities with his songwriting abilities. Both “These Are The Breaks” and “Lesbian Wedding” were named finalists for “Best Song of The Year” in 2013 and 2014, respectively, by the Star Tribune.
“I woke up with the opening line to ‘Lesbian Wedding’ in my head. That almost never happens to me,” Collins said. “I thought it was a great line — ‘My sister went to a lesbian wedding, where she met the man she’s still with today.’ I put pencil to paper and thought about how I could work with this.”
Collins said that while there is some humor within the song, the point he tried to convey with it is that everybody is searching for their “someone” in life.
Area music promoter Jessica Paxton was first introduced to Collins and his band through the Twin Cities music community word of mouth.
“I had many musicians and music friends mention Doug’s name to me. I think he initially sent me a CD and I liked it enough to book him at The Cow,” she said. “I had heard a lot of great things about him from other artists that I enjoyed working with.”
She said Collins puts on a great live show.
“He really cares about his audiences having a good time, and he’s got a fantastic in-between song stage banter too; he’s a super funny guy and the dapperest of dressers,” she said.
“People have called me a showman,” Collins said. “I would have taken great offense to that at one point. But when I go to see something, I want to be entertained. I want people to leave our shows thinking, ‘This was a fun night.’”