Meet Your Musician: The Vail Valley Band |

Meet Your Musician: The Vail Valley Band

Get to know your local Vail Valley entertainers

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is showcasing area musicians in a new series called “Meet Your Musician” so you can learn a bit more about the voices behind the tunes. If you’re a local musician and would like to be a part of this series please email Tricia Swenson ( and Sean Naylor (

Vail Valley Band members Peter Fontanese (left), Don Watson (center) and Beth Swearingen (right).
Courtesy photo

Q: What is your stage/band name?

A: My name is Peter Fontanese and I am responding on behalf of my main gig, The Vail Valley Band.

Q: How would you describe your style of music?

A: Highly interactive, audience friendly, deep, deep variety and original music.

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Q: What instrument(s) do you and your band members play?

A: I play the bass guitar, guitar and vocals. Don plays all types of guitar, piano, kick drum and vocals. Beth plays the guitar, snare drum, bass guitar and sings like a bird. We all experiment with other instruments frequently.

Q: How long have you been performing in the valley?

A: I have been performing in our valley for 40 years now. Beth has been here 25 years and Don has been in Colorado for probably 45 years and in Vail since the early-mid 1980’s. We became friends in the mid-late 80’s.

Q: Where in the valley have you performed?

A: I have performed everywhere in our valley. I even got to do a show at Sweet Basil once with my friends Chuck Lamb and Brent Gordon. It was a corporate event.

Q: What’s your dream venue (in the valley or otherwise)?

A: We have collectively and individually performed on some on the world’s most iconic stages, especially Beth. We all agree that to perform at Carnegie Hall would be nice.

Peter Fontanese (left), Beth Swearingen (center), and Don Watson (right) perform at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in September 2021 with Larry Dutmer on the drums.
Courtesy photo

Q: What other styles of music do you (and members of your group) listen to?

A: We listen to pretty much everything. My musical influences range from Beethoven to Yes to the Grateful Dead to Phish to Weather Report. We all love classical, country and western and classic rock and roll.

Q: How does the Vail Valley music scene compare to other places you’ve played?

A: Well, since my only other scene was in college in Ohio in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, I would say that Vail is a musical mecca! (Northeast Ohio was also stellar for me but that is a different story for a different time.) Since Beth was on international and national tours of “Cats” and other shows, I would imagine she has something to say about this and since Don has been in Colorado even longer than me, I imagine he would agree that our Vail scene is iconic and special.

Q: What can the crowd expect from one of your performances?

A: Our audiences can expect interaction from our performances. Throughout my whole life in the performing arts, I have never encountered someone who reads the audience as well as Don Watson. Don’s uncanny ability to guide audiences through a wonderful and interactive musical experience is unparalleled. We look upon many guest requests as “dares.” If Don or Beth know even a verse of a song and if I know the general structure of a song, we are pretty much game to play anything.

Q: Where can readers see a list of your upcoming shows?

A: Readers can see a list of our public appearances on our website: Our favorite public appearances are at Tavern on the Square at the Arrabelle in Lionshead on Friday evenings from 7-10 p.m. and at the beloved Route 6 Cafe on Sunday evenings from 7-10 p.m. We are in our tenth year at Route 6.

Peter Fontanese has been in the Vail Valley for over 40 years and in addition to playing in the Vail Valley Band, Fontanese plays with many other local performers.
Peter Fontanese/Courtesy photo

It is also my privilege to perform frequently with Brent Gordon, Kevin Danzig, Kathy Morrow, Nick Steingart, Alan Echtler, Roy Bloomfield, J. Clay Reed and many others. I thank them all for their awesome talents!

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