Colonel Cletus and the Swamp Yankees brought on their own blend of new and old bluegrass-country, and folk music. The band consisted of traditional instruments like the acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin and upright bass. They enjoyed and played some Bill Monroe style southern blue grass, but they were mainly a new grass style band, playing a mix of new and old bluegrass-country, folk and Irish music. They also played old classic rock and roll tunes in their own new(blue)grass tune.  Band members included; John Farese singing lead and harmony vocals, pickin acoustic guitar, banjo, and occasionally chuckin the mandolin, Phil Clarner singing lead and harmony vocals, pickin mandolin, acoustic guitar, and banjo, Shelly Estabrooks singing lead and harmony vocals, strumming acoustic guitar, and chuckin mandolin, and Larry Houghton pluckin upright bass, occasionally singin back up vocals, or strummin acoustic rhythm guitar. 

The Swamp Yankees played private parties, barn dances, bars, and festivals around Southern NH and beyond. 



Colonel Cletus and the Swamp Yankees

Band members included:

John Farese has been singing all his life. He started picking guitar and banjo over 20 years ago. He has played out with New Grass Band “up from the Cellar” for years. John is comfortable stepping up as the front man with a pleasant and fun persona, singing and playing leads, or stepping back, strumming rhythm, and chiming in on a 3 part harmony.  

Phil Clarner is a multi-talented musician. He transitions from lead guitar, to mandolin, or banjo without blinking an eye. He also sings lead, back up and harmony vocals. We think that Phil somehow applies his vast understanding of physics to his music, though we are not sure, cause we don’t get physics! Phil may look as though he is playing backwards, but don’t worry, he’s left handed.  

Shelly Estabrooks has been playing and singing since before her first junior high school stage lead. Her mom says it was great, though Shelly remembers different. She always wanted to play the drums, but picked up the trumpet instead. For Colonel Cletus, she holds down the rhythm on acoustic guitar and mandolin. Her love for Classic Country and beautiful voice puts her at the front singing songs like “Your Cheatin Heart” and “Long Black Veil”, and singing harmony on songs like Dolly Partons “Joline”.   

Larry Houghton gave up music in 4th grade after being traumatized by his mean ol’ elementary school music teacher. He decided to give it another chance after a 20 year hiatus. While getting his PhD at Virginia Tech, his friend Bill Richardson convinced him to play upright bass for his southern string band “The Jugbusters”. After enjoying 6 great years of friendship, music, and gigs with the Jugbusters, the call of family and the White Mountains lured him back home to NH. Larry loves to dance with his bass. Sometimes it’s hard to restrain him from hopping up and down with the beat.