Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nocturnal Bliss

Today in Music History:

In 1954 Sun Records releases the first Elvis Presley single "That's All Right" with "Blue Moon of Kentucky" as the flipside, backed by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black.
Grace Potter and the NocturnalsEvery once in a while you hear a new artist that knocks your socks off. While Good Rockin' tends to focus on older tuneage, when homercat hears something new that rocks his world he's gonna spread the word. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are currently rocking my world. Specifically their new album, Nothing But the Water. Grace Potter is a 23 year old from Vermont and let me tell you folks, not only does Baby Got Voice, Grace is pretty easy on the eyes as a bonus, and the band is tight as hell. Getting ahead of myself here, let's get a little background before I tell ya about this fine album.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a Hammond B-3 organ-fueled blues-rock quartet with a panache for music from decades past. The quartet is led by 23-year-old Grace Potter, whose vocals sound like a cross between Joanna Dean, Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, while her work behind the B-3 are reminiscent of a Billy Preston or Steve Winwood. The Nocturnals, are Scott Tournet (lead guitar, harmonica, vocals), Bryan Dondero (upright/electric bass) and Matthew Burr (drums/percussion). Potter grew up and still lives in a woodsy plot of land and dwellings in Waitsfield, VT,(pop. 1659) that locals refer to as "Hobbittville"; Grace and the Nocturnals now all live there together. Potter and Burr started playing together in 2002 while students at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York while Potter was still a film student, and their sound gradually evolved from cover material to originals. The wheels started spinning when Tournet came aboard in the fall of 2003, and Potter started playing the B-3, giving her songs and the band's sound a rich and resonant character. The new album are all originals penned by Potter with the help of the Nocturnals.

Upon first listen of the album I was at once mesmerized and blown away by Potter's vocal. I kept thinking how is that voice coming out of that young 'un. The album has a soulful bluesy feel to it probably enhanced by the fact that it was recorded in a nearly 150-year-old barn on the campus of Goddard College. The first cut, Toothbrush and my Table, immediately has Potter getting brassy and sassy and totally sucks you in and makes you want to hear more and the second track is the aptly named Some Kind of Ride and by now you know that is exactly what this band is going to do, give you a heckuva musical ride. The first half of the album is very strong while the second half slows down a bit and the disc finishes off strongly with Nothing But the Water (II) which in my opinion is worth the purchase price for just that song. I'm not going to post that song here but check out this video of Grace and the band at the Boston Music awards. The first three minutes is Grace singing acapella (part 1) and then the band kicks in and they proceed to kick some serious musical ass, gave me chills it did. There are great things coming for this band, and I for one can't wait for the next studio album and I hope like hell I get a chance to see them soon. A definite must have with 5 tail wags from the homercat. Destined for 2006 top ten status.

Toothbrush and My Table by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Treat Me Right by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Buy It

Funny Toon