How Cottonwood began....By Dan Whalen
It was spring of 1992, Dave LeTellier, a good friend of mine, called me to say he was forming a country group. Already having most of the players in mind, he had told me that he had asked Chris Allison(fiddle), Dave Therian (drums) and myself on guitar. He had originally asked if I could pick up the bass guitar, which was ok with me, but I really loved playing the 6 string. I will tell you how this decision helped shape the band.
So, let’s meet the original players…..
Dave LeTellier: Lead vocals and guitar…. Dave is a very talented folk/bluegrass player and loves to share his beautiful voice with liturgical music the most! Dave is a wonderful soul, always with an innate sense of positivity! He can always make you feel good with his calming conversation.
Chris Allison: Fiddle and keyboard …. Chris was a real character! As you might have read from our memorial page on this site, he was a witty, funny character and very astute with the theory of music!
Dave Therian: Drums …. We all sort of met doing some kind of church/ charity work.. Dave was no exception. Dave LeTellier met him through Saint Theresa’s church.. Mr. Therian is the timeliest drummer I have ever played with. A few years after our inception, we participated in a Grand Band Contest that was held in Vermont.. we had won the first leg at a bar in Essex junction, VT, then proceeded to go on to regional finals at the Vermont State Fair. It was there we had to complete a 7 min medley in front of 8,000 People. The Oak Ridge Boys were to follow us ... it was while practicing that we realized we had a human metronome on our hands! Dave’s timing was so precise, that we consistently finished our set in rehearsals within a second each time. We did not go onto the National finals, but it was still a wonderful experience for an upstart band!
Mr. Therian had now set the bar for any drummer I have to play with.. “The Human Metronome”
Peter Oyer: Bass guitar ….Pete was a lifelong friend who we shared many growing experiences with. From catching fish to going to school dances (where we would steal a few beers and try to find a spot to drink them without getting caught, then proceed to go into the dance and not dance) LOL! Pete loves the outdoors and his food too! We began our musical journey together about 46 years ago because…“chicks dig it!” Pete has always been there for me with our musical adventure and for that I thank him..
Dan Whalen: Guitar and vocals …. “I was born a poor black child …” Oh yeah, that’s a Steve Martins quote, not me! LOL! Well, it all started at 14, when I remember my mom taking me to buy my first guitar, which she could not afford! It was my parents that were my true inspiration! When I was a little guy, I use to sit in my car seat and listen mom and dad harmonize to songs. I remember thinking “this was fascinating”. As I developed my talent, I realized that really “listening” to music as a young child became my greatest strength as a musician. In my brain I don’t hear a melody in a song, I hear the harmonies ... which is a gift! Thank you Mom and Dad for your support and my blessing! I have always tried to utilize this strength with Cottonwood since its inception.
And so a musical adventure began and over these past 30 years, Cottonwood has acquired a great following of fans who have come to appreciate the band's beautiful harmonies, talented musicians and classic original songs!