About The Musicians
Richard Cottet – Drums & vocals
Began his relationship with performing and playing when he started taking drum lessons and singing in chorus in the fifth grade. At age thirteen he formed his own band when his parents bought him his drum set. Played for about 3 years at school dances and parties. Having to spend time in a family restaurant business Richard had to put music on the back burner until he decided to travel out west at age twenty. Buying an inexpensive bass guitar Richard taught himself how to play bass. Once he settled out west in California he was playing well enough to start playing with bands and recording in studios. Richard was fortunate enough to start traveling with a variety of different acts up and down the West Coast, Hawaii, Canada and the Caribbean. When he came back to settle home in NY at age 29 he picked up a set of drums again and has been sitting behind the drums ever since playing with many bands and having the chance to open for some big name headliners. Richard’s enthusiasm as a performer and entertainer as well as strong vocals is what makes him an asset to the bands Chimps in Tuxedos and Americana Oak Band.
Jeff MacAulay – Guitar and Vocals
Has been a working guitarist, bassist, and recording engineer in the Mid-Hudson Valley since 1966. Bands he has been in include Rhythm’s Disciple, Frozen Smoke, Six Day War, Juice, Big Features, The New York Underground, Caina, Toxic Shock, Chazy, After Six, The Crossroads Band, Chimps In Tuxedos and Americana Oak Band. He has appeared on numerous studio and live CD’s, usually as both performer and engineer, and has also provided recording services to local churches and non-profits. Born in Newburgh, Jeff spent his childhood in Maryland, Texas, and West Virginia, returning to New York in time for high school. In addition to his musical pursuits, Jeff has spent his adult life providing professional services to disabled individuals in our community. He and Lorraine have been happily married for 35 years.
Ben Langer – Keyboards
Began his musical journey at the age of four when he started taking piano lessons. After two years of formal lessons he taught himself music theory. He joined his first band, Six Stories Told, at the age of fourteen. The band was a pop-rock group based out of Walden, NY who played all over the east coast for five years. Since then he has been playing many genres of music with all sorts of different people. Now a twenty-two year old aviation student, he spends much of his free time writing his own music at his home in Fishkill, NY as well as playing live music. Music is his passion. And it will keep him play and creating for many years, no matter what course life takes him on.
Ken Palladino – Bass guitar, lead and back up vocals
Grew up in Clintondale New York Ken was close to SUNY New Paltz. Where there was/is a thriving art community. He hung on Main Street till the wee hours and easily made friends with local musicians who needed a bass player. So Ken picked up a Gibson EB0 bass and headed to his sin bin to learn the instrument. The following weekend Ken found himself playing at high school keg parties in the late 70’s. From that point on he developed a love of performing. He played with as many musicians as possible to learn different styles and embrace all genres.
Fast forward 30 years: with an independent spirit and a fun jam band mentality, Ken find himself in the Americana Oak Band, and loving every minute of it. “Music has always been a spiritual connection for me. I love the way a song or an instrumental can change the mood of an entire room. The major keys raising our spirits or the minor keys adding a sad somber feel. Both have the ability to move us to tears.”
Tiffinie Helweg-Sesko “Raven James – Lead vocals, back up vocals, sax and acoustic guitar
Grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York. While pursuing education in theater arts and human development, Tiffinie has and will continue to pursue writing and singing her songs to the great people she is so fortunate to meet and share the love of music with. A little sweet and folksy like Jewel, a little funky and soulful like The Alabama Shakes and Belgian recording artist Selah Sue, Tiffinie enjoys letting the influence of storytelling-songwriters work collaboratively with the music she creates that makes people want to move, groove, and spread inspiring vibes of creativity and freedom to be who we are within. Besides champagne and sleeping in, Tiffinie loves getting in touch with the part of her soul that sparked the love of music in a little girl singing Elvis and Patsy Cline songs in her living room with her mother and father. Tiffinie is happy to say she can let that piece of her heart shine with The Americana Oak Band.
Bill Tamburrino – Sax, percussion and vocals
Had begun playing the sax and clarinet from the age of six. He joined the band and chorus and studied locally under Tom foster and attended Dutchess community studying music. Bill has played along side some renowned artists such as Maynard Ferguson, Al Hirt and Doc Seversen. He joined the local musicians union and has appeared in numerous gigs from new York to Pennsylvania. Bill has played in ethnic bands German, Italian, top 40 to Doo-wop. He also opened for the band Spirogira in the 90’s. Bill is now appearing with “Chimps in Tuxedos.” His fantastic vocals and harmonies as well as added percussion instruments adds a major part to the sounds of Chimps in Tuxedos. Upon request Bill is also used for Americana Oak Band.
Julie Damsky – Bass guitar and vocals
Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in the Hudson Valley, Julie Damsky came from a musical family who encouraged her love of music and art. A self-taught guitarist by her early teens, she was inspired by the music of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Elton John and Led Zepplin. In her early 20’s she picked up the bass after discovering the alternative music scene and soon was playing in local bands. Artists like Jaco Pastorius, REM, 10,000 Maniacs and Til Tuesday fueled her inspiration to keep playing.
Over the years she has worked with various artists here in the Hudson Valley, including Marshall Will + Holly trio, Greg Douglass, blues man Karl Allweier & The Real Men and national recording artist sing/songwriter Patti Rothberg.
Julie enjoys all genres of music, from country to pop, R&B to classic rock and is excited to be laying down the bass line for Americana Oak Band.