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Don Nivens

Don Nivens
easley, south carolina, united states
Postal code:
Acoustic, Folk Rock, Folk
Neil Young Bob Dylan Eagles Joe Walsh Poco Pure Prairie League


I started playing guitar when I was 18. I always wanted to play when I was young, but didn't have anyone that could show me how. I bought an accoustic guitar and a book with some chords in it and started teaching myself. I struggled playing with bands because everyone was more interested in partying than practicing or would be late or even on a few occasions, not show up for the gig. I decided that I would begin soloing with my accoustic guitars. That removed a lot of stress and I actually got a lot more satisfaction out of it. I would play mostly folk and accoustic styles from the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Poco ect. Then I started writing my own songs, but the bar owners didn't want original material played most of the time. I never got too far from the bar scene because I just didn't get the opportunities because I was a solo artist. I was always told I should not play because I had to be at home working a real job and one day, I conceded to the pressure and quit performing in 1994. But, before I stopped I had one more opportunity present itself. Some producers for NBC affiliates were having a benefit to raise money for the American Red Cross, after Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew had depleted they're funds. They needed an accoustic act to open for the 2nd day of the 2 day event. I asked them what I would have to play. They said I could play anything I wanted. I said "originals"? They said you sure can. That was the first performance I ever played where my entire set was originals, and as luck would have it, the next act was an hour late so I got to play for almost two hours. That was the greatest feeling I had ever had playing. The response was great, and it was gratisfying. Unfortunately, that was my last performance until 2012 when my youngest daughter talked me into playing in a local talent event raising money for the county schools. I wasn't sure I'd even get past the auditions but I did, and then I went thru to the final event. I played originals at those shows too, and was amazed at the response. A few people from the audience actually wanted an autograph. I told them I wasn't anybody, but they insisted that I give it just in case. I must say, to walk out in front of a thousand people for the first time in almost two decades was tough. I was so nervous at first but once I started playing, I forgot all about that. Soon after, I hooked up with a friend I hadn't seen in twenty years. Buddy Strong. He was one of the original members of Garfeel Ruff. I would sit in with his band on Sunday nights in Spartanburg at a private night club. We had lost touch for 20 years and to my surprise we were living only a few miles from each other. He said he owned the studio, Southeastern Sound, in my home town. The next thing I know we were working on a new album. We've been working on it for 9 months and are nearing completion. I have been playing occasionaly for paying gigs, but mostly playing benefitial gigs just to kind of keep fresh and practice. I played several venues at Nursing homes. These people love the entertainment. They can't go to it anymore, and they absolutley appreciate you coming to entertain them. They are a great audience too. They were hanging on to every word in the lyrics too. They would ask me very detailed questions about them. There is a lot of people in those homes that to my surprise weren't just older folks. Young women, with MS that could no longer take care of them self, Car accident paralysis victoms, ect. It was a real reality check for me. It made me appreciate how precious and fragile life is, and what a role luck plays in our lives. I just want to play my guitar and sing to anyone who will allow me to.