A band, a sound and a community: Seneca and The River is an alt-country collective comprised of close friends and supportive players, an organic aggregation that expands and contracts depending on the performance. Whether flowing with 12 musicians or condensed into a core quintet, a warmth and camaraderie surrounds the luminous vocals and inspired songwriting of Seneca Asia Chase Pettee.
Blessing us with a compelling voice, Seneca sings songs about lovers, friends and family. Penned solo and rarely rewritten, her lyrics and melodies are channeled from a wellspring of emotion, illustrating an artistry both deeply personal and touchingly relatable.
With the break-up of her parent’s marriage, a young Seneca traveled with her father and older brother from California to live on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Bullied as an outsider, Seneca says that it was a tough transition. She discovered refuge in her dad’s favorite music from the Sixties and Seventies. Alone much of the time, she began writing twice daily in her journal. She laughs when she characterizes her teenage self as
“An emo-Goth with short red hair who hated everyone.” After landing in a bit of trouble, she was sent back to the Mainland to live with her mother. “After a rough start we made a wonderful connection,” she says.
In Los Angeles, Seneca became the center of a tight-knit group of students at Hollywood’s Musicians Institute. Seneca and The River was formed at the school, and their first gig was at the 2,000 seat Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA.
Now signed to the record label formulated by Tyler Porterfield – the company that shares his artist name “Pop Cautious,” Seneca presents a consciousness and a context. Surrounded by mandolin, trumpet, pedal steel, a supportive rhythm section and a band of close friends, her exquisite vocals shine in the center of the sound.
The name Seneca belonged both to the ancient Greek philosopher and to an indigenous Native American people. Seneca Falls, NY is the locale of the first women’s rights convention held in the U.S. in 1848. From here on, Seneca will also reference an American artist leading a brilliant band of players in a homegrown style of music emanating from Hollywood, CA.
“I grew up fast. I think it’s helped me in a lot of ways, being professional, writing music and living on my own,” says Seneca. “You learn a lot about yourself when you spend time alone. It led me to write songs. The lyrics are sad but the chords are pretty. My music is meant to convey love.