For East Syracuse guitarist, Mark Cloutier, he has been able to do both. Cloutier has been able to follow his passion with a lot of success.
At 14, Cloutier saw a child playing an old Halifax Les Paul Copy guitar and was immediately drawn to it. He purchased the exact guitar and worked on becoming the guitarist he is now. He began taking lesions and contributes everything he needed to know to his teacher Dan Klipp. Cloutier said, Klipp showed him how to teach himself to play as well as introducing him to some of his main influences including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.
Cloutier worked hard to become a great player and to find is since of style, but feels that he has worked hard to find his own sound.
“I continue the path of mastery everyday always looking for unique and different approaches and sounds,” Cloutier said. “I don’t really know what guitar mastery is, but I can tell you I now love how I am playing. The sound that comes from my hands is what I have strived towards since the day I began. Maybe that is guitar mastery, I am not sure.”
To help Cloutier master his sound he has a few different guitars he uses including a Raven West guitar, received as a gift from an online friend, but mostly the SRV issue Fender Strat, due to its versatility in sound and is equipped with a whammy bar.
Along with being a guitarist and working with his band, The Double Barrel Blues Band, Cloutier works at News Channel 9 as the mailman/maintenance worker as well.
“It’s the perfect job that allows me to do as I like as a musician,” Cloutier said. “There are great people there and they support my music career. I am a passionate person and guitar is a great way to express myself so it is a huge part of my life. I teach, record and perform regularly.”
Through out his career so far, Cloutier has been able to achieve many great accomplishments including opening for Molly Hatchet, Marshall Tucker, Chris Duarte, Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors and many more. He has also played at venues including Watertown Fairgrounds Arena, Inner Harbor Concert Series, Pendragon Theatre and The New York State Blues Festival, where his band will be performing once again this year on July 15.
“I think having the gift of persistence and real hardworking musician’s attitude is my greatest achievement,” Cloutier said. “Playing many clubs, parties, festivals and concerts rates high on the list.”
Cloutier and his band have recorded multiple albums and have received nominations for a few of them. They received Sammy Award nominations in 2009 and 2010 for their albums “Bad Bad Feelings” and “Night Train Home.” As well as another nomination in 2011 for the album “Wings Of Fire.” The band has also won the U.S.I.A. award for best blues in 2010 and 2011.
Cloutier’s next performance is June 9 at the Turning Stone Casino in Oneida. For more information, visit markcloutierguitar.com or