Tonight was a special night, so I’m told, though each of these DNOs are always special. I invited Pete Gustavson and Sam Steffen, two terrific songwriters, to share the stage with me tonight. Both are powerful songwriters from different approaches: Sam, from the Dylan/Folk ballad tradition and Pete, from a more rock, alternative roots style. They had never met before and it was great that they got to take each other in.

It was a good crowd for a change, and the conversation that was generated was sparkling. Good talk about why people create songs in spite of little financial rewards. Wanting to be heard as a person, the joy of figuring out the puzzles of lyrics, the ability to connect with the audience, and other great reflections from my friends and the audience. This stuff simply doesn’t happen elsewhere.

I’ve done quite a few gigs with Sam, and he never fails to wow folks with his songs. I mentioned that Sam’s lyrics are like juggling and he seems to be having fun with the words. He did his Jim Crow song to great effect. Folks really gravitate to him as a person and a young powerhouse writer in the rich folk tradition.

Pete and I met several years ago in the LV Music Awards flim flam, when we both won awards that were never awarded. Very funny moment that came up tonight. His music is strong, but in a very different feel: rock, power chord alternative, country – hard to define and that’s what makes him so good. Not a shabby guitarist, either.

Together, we had some real talk about great gigs, high school drama experience, the creative process and, most importantly, why we play. why we play. When’s the last time you had the opportunity to hear that from not one, not two, but three acoustic artists?

I was surprised by the number of people who came up to say it was such a great evening. Frankly, each one of these DNOs has been great, so I’ve been accustomed to the quality. I guess, with a bigger audience and new people in the house, folks took time to express their appreciations for the evening. It was a good feeling to take it all in and thank them for being here. This is how it should be every time.

I got to offer Lessons from Pete as my addition to the original fare. I found myself somewhat rusty. I should have run it before hand. Never too late to learn. It was received nicely. Thank goodness for the strong guitar work. Phew….

A gentleman, a black professor and community activist, came in during the show and added some great insight in the discussion. He added some wonderful intellectual theater to the situation. He surprised the whole room, and emphasized to me, upon reflection, the power of performers giving up control and taking it back. I talked about my experience with Avnar. the Eccentric. Passing the lead back and forth.

I noticed several professors in the audience tonight. I need a doctorate, and a retirement plan.

I live in a world of creative minds, and I love it.