CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Music fans sometimes go their entire lifetimes without ever meeting the people who've made the music that changed their lives. Most of the time, the best they can hope for is a decent seat at a live show.
Three weeks ago, Charleston's Brooke Brown got to play a song with Jeff Tweedy, the front man and creative force behind alternative rock band Wilco.
"This guy is the Bob Dylan of my generation," the 39-year-old Brown said. "He's just an amazing songwriter."
Through a Chicago-based charity auction, Brown and about a dozen others banded together to bid on a private living room show with Tweedy, who lives in the Chicago suburbs.
"Jeff has been doing this for about nine years," Brown said. "I'd heard about it through other fans and even had a couple of friends who'd gone to these shows."
These were all friends he met through the band, just from being a fan. Some of them Brown said he only knew from talking online, but when the opportunity to participate in the auction arose, he didn't hesitate to contribute to the pool.
Brown declined to say how much the group bid to have Jeff Tweedy play for them or how much he contributed.
"We all put in what we could," he said.
But they won, and Tweedy was obligated to come play a show for about 30 people.
So, on Oct. 26, Brown and his wife flew to Des Plaines, Ill., where they attended the show at the house of his friends, Kris and Alison Erickson.
Brown said all of them were allowed to submit song suggestions in advance. These could be from Wilco's catalog of music, Uncle Tupelo (the band that preceded Wilco) or even cover tunes Tweedy knew.
"And Jeff likes people playing with him on a song," Brown said.