Vermont’s own trad roots power trio, Pete’s Posse, is composed of acclaimed musician Pete Sutherland (fiddle, piano, banjo, melodica and vocals), his talented protégé Oliver Scanlon (fiddle, viola, mandolin, foot percussion and vocals) and the uber-dynamic Tristan Henderson (guitars, mandolin, jaw harp, foot percussion and vocals). Twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding footwork with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jawharp and rocking keyboards adding their voices to the mix. Songs and tunes, old and new, lyrical and driving: that’s the multi-generational heart and mind of PETE’S POSSE, at work and at play.
Pete’s Posse is three generations of musicians who have come together to create their own electrifying sound they call “multi-generational roots music.” In 2013 Pete and Oliver, building on a long-time mentor/mentee partnership, asked Tristan to join them to play a contradance, and a match was struck! Gig by gig their chemistry grew, and the Posse quickly developed a reputation for being an innovative, driving, sought-after, can’t-keep-your-feet-still power trio.
Within a year of their first performance, their self-titled album was out, and days later they were off on a nine week, 48-gig, 11,000 mile U.S. tour. It was on this odyssey that they began to add more vocals to the mix in a major way, expanding not only the dance floor experience, but also their desire for concerts. Their second album, “Down to the Core” was released in July 2015, a pure distillation of their first national tour. With it they attracted the attention of festival promoters and concert series large and small, as well as finding themselves much in demand for contradance weekends in the Northeast and beyond.
The Posse continues to engage audience members of all ages with their distinct and expansive energies, and their intuitive feel for one another’s playing. Being a restlessly creative bunch of self-styled ‘rehearsal addicts’, there are always new songs, dance sets, and concert arrangement in the works! So if you’ve heard them at a house concert or danced with them until 1 AM at a festival, you know there’s always a new favorite to listen for. The steady flow of powerful uplifting energy across the age gap is the engine that drives Pete’s Posse, and it shows no sign of letting up!
A warm voiced singer, songsmith and accomplished multi-instrumentalist, known equally for his potent originals and his intense recreations of age old ballads and fiery fiddle tunes, Pete Sutherland “covers the map” and shines with a “…pure spirit which infuses every bit of his music, and cannot fail to move all who hear him.” -American Festival of Fiddle Tunes. He has been on staff at dance and music camps coast to coast and is a widely known year-round teacher and performer at home. 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.
Dynamic is certainly the word to use to describe Tristan! He played a variety of music genres before jumping into traditional music and is quickly becoming a sought after accompanist, session musician and performer in Vermont. His unique ability to play any instrument with strings (and a few without) was set into motion when he picked up the guitar at the age of ten. Tristan is an adventurous and powerful rhythm player who can also hold his own on melody, singing or picking, and he never ceases to inspire with his boundless energy and joyful performances. Be prepared for a sonic immersion, as within his musical flair there are subtle (and not so subtle) nods to rock, jazz, funk, country and more! He was a 2013 winner of the Young Tradition Vermont talent contest with bagpiper Hazen Metro and in addition to Pete’s Posse he can be found performing with Atlantic Crossing, Cape Breton duo ‘Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald’, and anywhere else his diverse bag of tricks is desired.
A soulful fiddler, mandolinist and spellbinding tunesmith, Oliver Scanlon began his journey of musical discovery with a stint in the Vermont Youth Orchestra, picking up the viola when he was nine. Shortly after he was introduced to his mentor Pete and the immense parallel universe of fiddle music! His keen interest in fiddling led him to seek out further learning and performing opportunities through Mark Sustic’s “Fiddleheads” program, and soon he began attending music camps where he studied various styles with Alan Jabbour, Kimberley Fraser, Andrea Beaton, Eric Favreau and other master fiddlers. In 2008, Oliver and few talented middle school friends formed a group, The Irregulars, a six piece outfit that has played scores of local dances and festivals, and took first prize in the 2011 Young Tradition Vermont talent contest! Then in 2013 he both co-founded the Posse and became the youngest member of Pete’s long running dance band The Clayfoot Strutters. He released his solo album “The Pond Jam” in 2014, which was both his senior project before graduating high school and a testament to his passion and artistry. Recognized not only for his classy and mesmirizing playing, but also for being a meticulous sound tech, Oliver stays quite busy when not on the road with the Posse!