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PETE’S POSSE - Ya Know, Ya Never Know 

PETE’S POSSE - Ya Know, Ya Never Know 
Private Label 

Turns out the founder member of this Vermont-based band, multi-instrumentalist Pete Sutherland, was on my musical radar years ago, but the other two members of the band, Tristan Henderson and Oliver Scanlon were new to me, until I listened to this CD. Recorded between March 2019 and September 2020, this album celebrates Pete’s Posse’s eight years as a touring and recording group. It is an eclectic collection, roughly divided between 10 songs and 13 tunes/sets. Most of these have been written by the band members themselves.

Although there are 12 additional musicians who appear in places on this CD, the result isn’t busy or overproduced at all. The band makes use of foot percussion on some of the instrumental sets which immediately conjures up an image of dancers enjoying the sets - totally appropriate to the music itself. And they also employ mouth music on several tracks. This is a dimension that seems unique to them, and I quite enjoyed it.

My favourite songs are the history songs, dealing with specific aspects of early American history we don’t hear a lot about - such as Benedict Arnold, for example. Several other songs deal with the specific effects of climate change, such as Hurricane Dorian, and flooding. Other songs are more personal, such as May The Campfire Not Burn Down - remembering friends who are no longer around. And there is one which gave me quite a chuckle - about a fellow’s anticipation of what will await him after Gabriel blows his horn… a new wardrobe, hairdo, and a chance to take tickets at the Pearly Gate, apparently!

I would describe this album overall as restful to listen to and interesting to contemplate, as the musical influences seem varied indeed, mostly within the wide umbrella of ‘traditional music’. As a sampler of eight years of work, it’s impressive.

Jan Foley


This review appeared in Issue 138 of The Living Tradition magazine