Pete’s Posse, featuring Pete Sutherland, comes to Harrisburg November 22nd

Begin the holiday season right by joining us for a pre-Thanksgiving Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert with the Vermont based band Pete’s Posse. The concert will be held on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street, petes_posse_3-upHarrisburg.

We just couldn’t resist picking up this concert with the great Vermont fiddler Pete Sutherland and his exciting new band Pete’s Posse which includes Pete’s talented protégé Oliver Scanlon and the dynamic Tristan Henderson. Featured will be the group’s “multi-generational roots music sound” which will include New England Contra Dance tune, original songs as well as folk songs from New England and a smattering of Appalachian, gospel, bluegrass and country.

The group distinguishes themselves by their intricate, multi layered arrangements and selections often accompanied by Quebecoise style foot tapping.

Central to the group is Pete Sutherland; a warm voiced singer, songsmith and accomplished multi-instrumentalist.  Sutherland is a veteran of many touring and recording groups including Metamora, Rhythm In Shoes, The Woodshed Allstars, Woods Tea Company, Ira Bernstein’s Ten Toe Percussion and is a founding member of the long running ‘contradance jamband’ The Clayfoot Strutters. He is also a producer with over 80 projects under his belt, and a prolific songwriter covered by the likes of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Nightingale and Altan.

Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006 or at the door. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at

I had a chance to speak to Pete Sutherland about Pete’s Posse; his newest project.


FOOKMAMA: Tpetesposse-jendeanphoto-4294-editell me about the group.

PETE: It’s a string band. The multi-generational part is the energy-maker I would say. I of course have been at this for decades. So anyone who has seen me in other bands, particularly Metamora back in the 80s; we are reminiscent of that.

Pete’s Posse pays a lot of dances so we have a good sprinkling of contra dance music; all arranged for concert listening. About half of our concert is vocal numbers. Quite a few of the songs are my originals or traditional, and we’re doing a song of Tristan’s at this point. So it’s a good, well rounded, acoustic roots program I would say. There is some humor, and there are definitely some tearjerkers, so we’re hitting all sides of the emotional spectrum.

FOLKMAMA: Is there a Vermont sound that you are drawing from?

PETE: Most places have a roots sound, if you go back far enough. We are doing a handful of things that are fairly rooted in the folklore of Vermont. This is music that was collected either by people of my grandparents generation or I learned from people of my parents generation.

The music from Vermont was definitely Scotts-Irish. It was definitely Quebecois and Maritime related and of course other European countries as well.

FOLKMAMA: Listing to your CDs and watching your You Tubes I couldn’t help but notice that you employ quite a few instruments.

PETE: Yes, we’re always adding and experimenting. Aside from what we’ve been using for awhile; fiddle, banjo, piano, guitar, mandolin, and jawharp we’ve just added an instrument called a melodica; it’s a mouth blowing keyboard. Oliver is now playing his childhood instrument—which is a viola. The two other guys are both tapping their feet Quebecoise style. That is part of our rhythm ground game.

FOLKMAMA: You call yourselves ‘rehearsal addicts’. That must mean that your repertoire is pretty fluid.

PETE: We’re always adding new tunes. Typically right now, we’re on this tour, and we’re playing two back to back dance weekends where you in 12 or 14 hours over the course of the weekend. That’s a lot of music. We don’t like to repeat ourselves so we have a lot of dance sets.

We’re also preparing for our third album and we’ve set ourselves the goal of arranging three band new pieces that we haven’t done before, so that’s taking quite a bit of rehearsal time. We’re pretty meticulous.

FOLKMAMA: I see that you play a lot of house concerts.

PETE: We’re interested in doing more concert material, period and the house concerts have given us this opportunity. There is a pretty good network out there. We find, as many of our peers did, that you can call on friends that area really excited about your music and they will just have a pop-up house concert. We’ve probably been responsible, over the last three years that we’ve been together, of getting at least of half a dozen of people’s series started. They became a series because they a good enough time doing our band.

But we are of course looking for the bigger fish, like folk societies such as yours and festivals.

FOLKMAMA: Is this your main group now?

PETE: The vast amount of my work is going into the Posse. I must say I’m really blessed with two amazing collaborators. Tristan is a real go getter with the business side of things and Oliver is excellent at book keeping and tax prep. So now we are a legitimate organization with a credit card and a bank account and a nice website!


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