By Rob Perez
In previous years, Joe Paulik played Thursday nights for the season, usually going up to Labor Day. But in 2020, Paulik played by a campfire on Lutsen Resort’s beach well into October.
“Last year was incredible. We were getting freezing temperatures, but people were so hungry for live music,” Paulik said.
Originally from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1982, drawn to nature, Joe Paulik came to the North Shore. Today Joe lives off the grid, north of Grand Marais. A self-described “back woods guy,” Joe loves the wolves, martens, and fishers. The Boundary Waters is like a second home. In 1987, Joe was working as a cook at the Harbor Light in Grand Marais. He started playing music there as well and transitioned to full-time musician after a year. But on Thursday nights, from 5-8pm, you can find Paulik with his guitar by a campfire on the beach at the Lutsen Resort. With the backdrop of Lake Superior, Joe sings a mix of covers and originals, depending on his audience.
Paulik gets all kinds of requests, from Pete Seger to Neil Young to Bob Dylan. But the single most requested song – and it’s not even close – is the seven-minute classic, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald by Gordon Lightfoot.
The Lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
But get there before November if you’re in the mood for live music. Grab a drink at the newly remodeled Strand and make your way down to the rocky beach. You’ll find Joe Paulik by the campfire, guitar in hand, the waves of Superior at his side.