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Five questions with local singer/songwriter Allen Nivens
The Allen Nivens Band led by Allen Nivens, second from left, will perform Friday night at Shooters Tavern in Gainesville. - photo by For The Times

Allen Nivens Band
Where: Shooters Tavern, 1701 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville
When: 9:30 p.m. Friday
How much: Free
More info: 770-531-9768

To welcome the latest addition to the Gainesville nightlife scene, the Allen Nivens Band has been preparing new songs to add to its set list Friday night for Shooter’s Tavern party-goers.

The typical Allen Nivens Band show includes originals, classic rock, country and rock ’n’ roll covers, so expect more of the same, Nivens said.

In addition to the band there will be specials on drinks, shooters and food for the restaurant’s opening night.

"It’s like a bar food set-up — cheeseburgers, wings and fried Twinkie desserts," said Shooter’s Tavern manager Jonathan Stoner. "$4 well drinks, $6 Jager bombs, $2 bottled beer and $1 shots."

In preparation of the grand opening of the tavern, we caught up with Nivens to talk about what’s been going on with him and his band.


Question: What can people expect from the show this Friday?

Answer: It will be a full band — we are billing as the Allen Nivens Band. We’ve been playing for about two and a half years. On drums is Rob Robinson, lead guitar Chris Cheatham, on bass Carl Williams and the keyboard player is Jason Caldwell. We’ve worked on a lot of new stuff that we are excited to spring on everybody. (It’s) a mainstay of classic rock ’n’ roll and country with somewhere of a 20 percent blend of original material.

Q: What do you think about the new tavern opening in Gainesville?

A: Jonathan (Stoner)’s done a great job putting this thing together and promoting it and as great as the places are in town I feel like we could always stand another option. So we have put a lot of attention on it because it is a grand opening and we feel privileged to be asked to play.

Q: Tell me a little about the acoustic guitar you play?

A: I’ve got two. I’ve got one that is a Gibson J45 and it’s kind of what I call my home guitar because ... I saved up (for it). The summer after my junior year of high school I saved up every penny from that job and at the end of the summer I had enough money to buy this guitar. It is a nice guitar, so it is a decently nice guitar for someone like me, but it’s got that special sentimental value, too. Then I’ve got a Takamine and it’s something that my wife Meg (Nivens) got me. It was my wedding present from her when we got married 10 years ago.

Q: Who are some of your favorite music acts out right now?

A: Tim O’Brien and Todd Snider are the two I’ve been listening to in the past few weeks. Both songwriters, both different styles, but I love both of those guys.

Q: How was your recent songwriter’s in the round performance at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tenn.?

A: The Bluebird was last month; it was for a benefit for the John Jarrard Foundation and very similar to the show in Gainesville, just at the Bluebird, and we didn’t seek to raise money up there like we’ve done in Gainesville. We just charged a very average ticket price — especially for the quality of writers that were there — just really to generate exposure for John’s name. I’ve just been so blessed to ride on the coattails of the foundation and other relationships through that. It’s enabled me to get on the ultimate songwriter platform in a way that I wouldn’t have before ... there were easily 25 or more No. 1-hits writers within a 5-by-5-foot circle round."