Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
From the opening grunts and grinding guitar of “Paris (Ooh La La)” it’s obvious this is music firmly roote d in American blues rock. Like a latter day Grace Slick or Ann Wilson, Potter comes blasting out of the speakers, bold, sexy, and demanding like a woman possessed. “Oasis” offers a bit more subtlety with emphasis on the beating base drum, reggae influenced bass line and rhythmic guitar. “Goodbye Kiss” digs a little deeper into reggae rhythms, pairing them up with bluesy harmonica.
“Medicine” takes us back to that rock and blues sound and seductive lyrical content and kitten-esque yipping. This was to be the original title track back when the album was being produced by T. Bone Burnett. Those sessions were shelved and Mark Batson was brought in to complete the project. It’s hard to say how Burnett’s approach might have sounded but what is clear is Batson’s focus on no frills sensibilities. My guess is the band sounds pretty much the way they do on stage as they do on this recording.
There have been a few changes within the band. Bassist Catherine Popper, formerly of Ryan Adam’s Cardinals, joins the band as well as rhythm guitarist Bernie Yurco. However good the band is, Grace Potter is the selling point. She writes all songs, with occasional input from other band members, she plays piano, Hammond b3 organ, and both acoustic and electric guitar. She can growl and scream and belt out songs with the best of the girl rockers but she’s also adept of dialing it back for a ballad like “Color.” Somehow you get the feeling that this girl hasn’t wandered too far from her Vermont roots. She isn’t showy, she just delivers the goods the way a good ‘70’s rocker would.