Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are like a modern-day version of Tina Turner stroking the microphone in a spangled mini-dress while fronting the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers. The proof is there for all to hear on the band’s third album for Hollywood Records, hitting this spring, and marks an artistic breakthrough for a vital young band caught in the act of fulfilling its immense promise. Little wonder that Grace and her cohorts have chosen to title it, directly and emphatically, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. “This record is the first time it’s really been us — the first time we’ve all found each other and ourselves,” says Potter with obvious excitement. “Everybody was totally comfortable, everything we had was sitting right in front of us, and it just poured out of us. The whole thing was fluid and effortless. In my mind, an album shouldn’t be self-titled unless it feels that way.” Produced by Mark Batson (Dr. Dre, Eminem, Jay-Z, Dave Matthews Band), who also co-wrote six of the 13 songs with Potter, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals introduces the Vermont-based band’s new five-piece configuration, in which keyboard specialist Potter, lead guitarist Scott Tournet and drummer Matt Burr are joined by bassist Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Hem) and rhythm guitarist Benny Yurco, who also plays with Tournet and Burr in the GPN side project Blues & Lasers. “We had a stylistic epiphany,” Potter says of her band’s exponential leap. “We realized we’re not the kind of band that’s ever gonna fit neatly in one genre, and this time we just let the songs be the songs. We just naturally wound up playing them in a certain way — they all have that beat to them, a physicality and a mood. You have to either want to dance to it or cry to it. But there’s also a feistiness to these songs that’s completely unapologetic.” On deep-grooved, serrated rockers like “Medicine,” “Paris,” “Tiny Light” and “Oasis,” the new model Grace Potter and the Nocturnals positively swaggers. Not only that, but the hooks are humongous, from Potter’s voice as she belts, teases and soars to Tournet’s uncoiling guitar riffs, positively lethal in their aggressiveness. “Oasis” showcases the band’s newly mounted dual-guitar firepower, as Tournet and Yurco interweave spiraling lines over a refracted hip-hop groove deftly laid down by Burr and Popper, while “Tiny Light” is a powerful song of resilience and hope during dark times.