The CLAYFOOT STRUTTERS are a Vermont-based contra dance and party band whose specialty is fusing the modes and melodies of traditional American immigrant music, progressive harmonies from pop and modal jazz and hot dance-floor rhythms from the Afropop, Swing, Latin, Cajun and Zydeco worlds. As composers, arrangers and songwriters they are also actively contributing new repertoire to this emerging style.
Founded in 1990 they have created a sensation at camps, community dances and festivals for their free-spirited jam-band approach to the jig-and-reel work of contra dance playing as well as their unparalleled ability with and affinity for the wide variety of couple dance grooves in demand by adventurous dancers coast to coast.
Original members LEE BLACKWELL (drums, guitar and vocals), JEREMIAH McLANE (accordion and piano) and PETE SUTHERLAND (fiddle, piano, and vocals) are joined in the current incarnation of the STRUTTERS by guitar, piano and sax-man PETER DAVIS, banjo and flute player MARK ROBERTS and bassist HARRY ACETO.
HARRY ACETO, lives in Ithaca, NY, where he is much sought after as a bass player of many styles. Having logged a quarter-century of gigs from square dance to swing dance, he records and tours with folk and jazz luminaries including JAY UNGAR and MOLLY MASON's SWINGOLOGY and DAVE BROMBERG. In addition he lends his considerable instrumental talents on guitar and mandolin to vintage “Hot Club swing” and traditional Italian style music in collaboration with his brother Eric Aceto.
LEE BLACKWELL was born and raised in Mountain Brook, Alabama. His interest in Appalachian fiddle and Cajun guitar coupled with a re-awakening of the Soul and R&B drumming and singing of his teens put him on a natural trajectory for the STRUTTERS, via stints with such traditional bands as the TRACY SCHWARZ CAJUN TRIO. He now hales from Cabot, VT, where he is a builder and woodworker and still plays old-time fiddle almost every day.
Of the scores of musicians billed as “versatile," PETER DAVIS might be most deserving of the accolade. Proficient on an astonishing variety of instruments, he boasts an intuitive approach to all manner of traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms. Peter is bandleader for LINDY HOP HEAVEN and in demand at swing dance events nationwide. A tireless community musician in his hometown of Saratoga Springs, NY, he has also toured with NATALIE MERCHANT and DAVE BROMBERG, and is a regular in Dixieland, old-time and swing bands, including (with Aceto) SWINGOLOGY.
From his home in Sharon, VT JEREMIAH McLANE has traveled throughout the US and Europe, appearing at venues such as the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, in Charleston, SC, at London's Royal Festival Hall, and at the St Chartiers Festival in La Chatre, France. He has composed music for film and theater, and recently earned a master's degree in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory. He is well versed in traditional dance music from the British Isles, France, Scandinavia, Quebec, Louisiana, and New England and has recorded with numerous stage partners, among them NIGHTINGALE, BIG TABLE, RUCKUS, GENNETINES, and fiddler RUTHIE DORNFELD.
MARK ROBERTS has long pursued Irish flute and old-time banjo with equal passion. An alumnus of Triona Ni Domnaill's award-winning group TOUCHSTONE, he has in recent years toured worldwide with the RED CLAY RAMBLERS, the house band for Bill Irwin's nouveau clown show “Fool Moon." Mark and friends composed and performed much of the music for the Jon Sayles film, “The Secret of Roan Innish." Currently living in the Pacific Northwest, he commutes eastward for groove-based dance band projects including the STRUTTERS and THE SEVENS.
Native Vermonter PETE SUTHERLAND's compositions have become standards of the modern folk repertoire through his performances with such groups as METAMORA, RHYTHM IN SHOES, IRA BERNSTEIN and Mac Benford's WOODSHED ALL-STARS, as well as on countless recordings and public radio broadcasts. In addition to his active music making, he has logged extensive production time with over sixty studio recordings as well as numerous concerts and festivals to his credit. Pete and family reside in a converted general store in Monkton, VT.