Weyburn's own Dan Cugnet recently performed at the Happy Nun Café in Forget, for the first time since releasing his music. His first album, Rodeo Cabaret, came out in November, and the recent performances celebrated the release of his second album, '45', which came out in March.

In fact, it was the first time any of his songs had been performed live.

"I was a little apprehensive, because I've really enjoyed creating music, and I love the studio process, and the production process, and all of those facets of it. But that doesn't mean that you want to get up on stage in front of a crowd of people and do it," he shared. "Also just kind of going from zero to 60, it wasn't like just playing three or four or five tunes to open up or anything, it was, 'hey, you're playing a couple sets, and it's your own stuff'." 

He said it did, however, feel most natural to play his first shows at that particular venue.

"It was a terrific experience, and Leon and Gayla are so wonderful there, and the staff, and it really is just an absolute gem of southeast Saskatchewan." 

Both shows sold out, with people coming from all over, as far as Alberta.

"The Nun's such a great, intimate little spot and doing the two nights, I felt like I should be able to fill it, and to me, it is where I wanted to do this for the first time, just because of the vibe of it, and having so many people that I know there, too," Cugnet commented.

"A lot of people in the audience were people that are parts of those songs, so you know, you're making that kind of contact with people as you're playing it, but it was really cool to just be able to tell some of the stories about some of those songs."

Of course, nothing great ever goes off without a hitch. One day prior to the first of the two shows, Dan's guitarist tested positive for COVID.

"We were in a real scramble mode to try and find a fill-in guitarist, and I actually ended up tweaking onto two great guys, and just said 'hey, why don't you both come do it?' so one guy could play rhythm and one guy could focus on trying to do the lead stuff," he explained. "They're both terrific. Morgan Turk was playing lead guitar and he's phenomenal. And then Kevin Schultz was good enough to come down from Regina, and he's played with lots of local Weyburn acts and guys from around here, too, so it was an absolute treat to have both of them up there."

Cugnet said things always have a way of working themselves out, but how quickly the two learned Dan's set list was a true test of their individual talent. 

"It's a tall order to dump on somebody a day before, 'Hey, can you learn 20 songs that you've never heard?' It'd be different if it's a bunch of covers that people know. So they did a terrific job."

He said he enjoyed seeing people get up and dance to his songs, and even sing along, as it's both validating and fulfilling for him to see his music evoking an emotional response.

Cugnet said he is looking forward to a few gigs currently being booked this spring and summer, and he'll be playing the Young Fellows 100th Anniversary Celebration on June 30th at Jubilee Park, following Brayden King, and followed by Tenille Arts and Hunter Brothers. Read more HERE