What's special about 2022? The band Cottonwood celebrates 30 years together as a premier country band in the Pioneer Valley!
Check out our new website to find some behind-the-scenes stories, member bios, tons of photos, songs, videos, schedule and much more!
Current Band Members
Dan Whalen: Guitar and Vocals
Steve Barrett: Guitar and Vocals
John Corbett: Guitar and Vocals
John Drake: Drums
Russ Oliveira: Guitar
Greg Dwinell: Bass Guitar, Guitar and Pedal Steel
Joe Pereira: Keyboard and Vocals
(Click on for more info about each band member)
About the Band
It all began in 1992 and over the past 30 years Cottonwood has performed with some amazing musicians, including Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, LeeRoy Parnell, Rhett Akin, Billy Ray Cyrus, Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band, Exile, Oak Ridge Boys, Little Big Town, Ricochet, Highway 101, Ty Herndon, Collin Raye, Radney Foster, Travis Tritt, Steve Warner, Sammy Kershaw, and Aaron Tippin, just to name a few!
Cottonwood's high energy and powerful vocals feature 80's, 90's and millennial country, but also putting a flair to some old rock standards! We guarantee you'll love some of the original music that has been a staple of the New England music scene for the past 30 years.
In 2003, the band took the road trip of a lifetime and had the privilege to play at the world-famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge and Fiddle & Steel in Nashville!
With a great fan base in New England, Cottonwood has played many local venues, both large and small, and always brings in a crowd! The band had been voted the Valley Advocate’s “Best Country Band” for seven years in a row!
Over the 30 years, some band members have come and gone, but the trademark sound of Cottonwood's harmonies and crowd-pleasing shows, has never changed!
Mountain Music (by Alabama)
Over the past 30 years, Cottonwood has played large venues, intimate clubs, country fairs, festivals, bars, private parties, fundraisers and just about anywhere they could bring their fans together! (We are sure we've forgotten a few, but our fans will let us know!)
Tootsies Orchid Lounge (Nashville, TN)
Fiddle & Steel (Nashville, TN)
Nashville Nights (Nashville, TN)
Foxwoods Fox Theater (3 year contract)
Basketball Hall of Fame (Grand Opening, Springfield, MA)
Easter States Exposition (West Springfield, MA)
Hampton Beach Shell (Hampton Beach, NH)
Indian Ranch ( Webster, MA)
Springfield Civic Center (Springfield, MA)
Northampton Barnstormer Concerts (Northampton, MA)
Showcase Live, Patriot Place (Foxboro, MA)
Springfield RV Show (Springfield, MA)
Riverside Park (Agawam, MA)
Iron Horse Music Hall (Northampton, MA)
Calvin Theater (Northampton, MA)
Summit View (Northampton, MA)
Celebrate Holyoke, (Holyoke, MA)
Taste of West Springfield (West Springfield, MA)
Taste of the World (Westfield, MA)
Greenfield River Fest (Greenfield, MA)
Kielbasa Festival (Chicopee, MA)
Mystic River Fest (Mystic, CT)
Stonehenge Music Festival (Grey, ME)
2022 Maifest (Springfield,MA)
Belchertown Fair (Belchertown, MA)
Charter Days (Granby, MA)
Cummington Fair (Cummington, MA)
Hebron Fair (Hebron, CT)
Essex Fair (Essex, CT)
Vermont State Fair (Rutland, VT)
Tri-County Fair (Northampton, MA)
Littleton Fair (Littleton, MA)
Yankee Doodle Days (Charlemont, MA)
Franklin County Fair (Greenfield, MA)
WWII Club (Northampton, MA)
Seven O's (Sunderland, MA)
Buck n Doe (Belchertown, MA)
McCarthy's Pub (Belchertown, MA)
Hu Ke Lau (Chicopee,MA)
Summer Series Concerts
South Hadley on the Common (South Hadley, MA)
Buttery Brook (South Hadley, MA)
Agawam Summer Series (Agawam, MA)
Easthampton Fireworks (Easthampton, MA)
2022 Country in the Country (Hadley,MA)
2022 Whatley 250th Celebration Parade (Whatley, MA)
Cottonwood has had the privilege of opening for some amazing musicians and playing some top-notch venues!
Check out some of the band's favorite memories!
Opening for Willie Nelson
Calvin Theater, Northampton Massachusetts
August 8th 2000
The band had been together for 8 years now and I believe 6 of those 8 The Valley Advocates readers pole voted us the “best country band in the valley” Having a conversation with local music venue mogul Eric Suher our manager had asked what kind of acts were coming to the area. He then casually mentioned, "How about opening for Willie Nelson at the Calvin Theater?" With a poker voice she replied "Well I’ll have to get back to you" The excitement was incredible. Everybody was excited to play possibly with one of the greatest music heroes of all time. Juggling schedules and logistical issues we finally return the phone call and said we would gladly open from Willie Nelson.
The set up was awesome, a beautifully renovated old theater with tremendous acoustics! The buses pulled in and the bands began to load on stage. It was a very casual atmosphere with Willie Nelson's sister trying to figure out some parts on the piano to which we all went over trying to help her find the right cord. Willie was returning from a round of golf at Westover golf course stood in the shadows at the back of stage watching us all set up for one of the greatest evenings of our lives! Approaching "The Man", he was small in stature and reeked of a little weed, but was one of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever run into. After some small talk like how’s the weather and all that kind of stuff, we all asked him to do some photos with us, then we chatted for about 15 minutes to one of the most regular and kind human beings I’ve ever spoken to.
Looking at all the guys in the band, the butterflies were large in our stomachs as we’re about to play to a packed house opening for an icon! Well, we hit the stage without disappointment! My Brother Musicians were able to put together a set that was unforgettable, bringing the crowd to it's feet with a great mix of our own originals and some cover tunes. Leaving the stage, I have never felt a greater adrenaline rush since my children were born.
As the night closed, we began to pack up and received one of the greatest compliments as a band, with Willie Nelson's manager walking over to us and asking “Hey do you guys travel?
We got some shows coming up in the area.." We never ended up getting together with Willie again because it wasn’t long after that the band made some personnel changes.
Nothing can take away that feeling we all had during what turned out to be the shortest hour of my life..
Northampton Airport Barnstormer Concerts
The Barnstormer concert was an awesome venue... for one day, part of the grounds of the Northampton Airport, was transformed into a spectacular country music venue. The event only happened for 2 years, but we had the privilege to open for Travis Tritt, and the one and only, Toby Keith, in front of an amazing crowd.
Indian Ranch, Webster, Massachusetts
Indian Ranch has been hosting live outdoor entertainment since 1946, making it one of the oldest concert venues in the country. It is an outdoor amphitheater situated on the shores of a beautiful lake with a record long name…
The band was blessed to have the opportunity to play there several times, opening for Collin Raye and Billy Ray Cyrus.
The day we open for Collin Raye, Kix 97.9 had offered to send the band out in a special coach/tour bus for us to ride in style to the venue, the funny part about the story was that when we arrived at Indian Ranch, all the stagehands began flocking to the bus, when they realized it was just the opening act they more or less said carry your own shit. "Laugh out loud" True story!
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a Nashville country music institution and world-famous honky-tonk, has operated across the alley from the Ryman almost continuously since 1960. Its proprietor from 1960 to 1978, Hattie Louise “Tootsie” Bess, bought the lounge called “Mom’s” and named it for herself.
According to legend, a painter mistakenly painted the exterior orchid purple. The color was never changed and became Tootsie’s signature color. Over the years, she served such famous customers as Kris Kristofferson, Faron Young, and Willie Nelson when they were still up-and-coming artists. Tootsie was well-known for her generosity toward struggling musicians. The photo- and memorabilia-lined walls are called “Tootsie’s Wall of Fame.” A portion of the Loretta Lynn biopic “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was filmed inside Tootsie’s.
When we first walked into Tootsies the stage was basically the glass store front, very small barely had enough room to fit a small set of drums a guitar and a bass player. But it was then we were told we were going to play upstairs, which actually is a very cool setting because they have quite a large stage considering the size of the room and we could set the full band up. The area that we were playing, was the actual cut through from the old Ryman Auditorium to Tootsies, where a lot of great players would come to get their fingers and vocal cords lubed up before a show .... if only the walls could speak and tell me for some great stories.
We played our set with a very warm Nashville welcome! It was a very short afternoon, only playing about an hour and a half, but the best part was when we were finished, the manager asked if we could come back later in the week! Although every band works for a tip jar, it was still so cool to be asked to return! The few other haunts that we played that week for Fiddle & Steel and Nashville Nights, were a little off the beaten path but still had a wonderful time entertaining the locals and people traveling to country music’s premier destination. Dan Whalen
2022 COUNTY IN THE COUNTRY
Hadley Young Men's Club, Hadley, MA
The first Country in the Country was a great success! The line-up included The Mark Snow Band, Lindsey Labelle, Cottonwood, Craig Campbell, Otan Vargas and Rodney Atkins! There are rumors that the 2023 Country in the Country concert is already being planned!
2022 Whately 250th Celebration Parade
A first for Cottonwood! Riding on a flatbed, being towed by an 18-wheeler and playing some great country music in the 250th Celebration Parade in Whately, MA.
2022 South Hadley on the Common
South Hadley, MA