Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Grace and the Nocturnals Revisited

Today in Music History:

In 2003, Ozzy Osbournes long-standing tour manager, Bobby Thompson, was found dead in his Detroit hotel room. Thompson had been battling throat cancer.

Grace Potter and the NocturnalsAlmost exactly a year ago homercat wrote about one of the most exciting new bands he'd heard about in recent memory. Of course I'm speaking of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. When I first heard their album Nothing but the Water, I got a case of the chillbumps. It was that good. I urged my readers to get the disc and go see them live if possible and at year end wrap up I ranked the album #2 of the year's best releases. That voice slays me, and I have never heard a Hammond B3 sound so damn sexy. If you didn't take the cat's advice and snatch up the album, then you are truly missing something. Already their live performances are reaching legendary status. Unfortunately they haven't come anywhere close to the island and I am itching to see them live. Recently a friend sent me this email.
Saw Grace Potter in a small club a week ago. Dude, outstanding. One of the best live shows I've seen in a decade or more. The guitar player spent half the night trying to fix his amp or something, and it still was amazing. (thanks to S)

Grace PotterNow onto the fresh stuff. Some of you may or may not know that even though GPTN have spent the better part of the last year on tour, they have recorded a new album and it's set to be released this August 7. This is Somewhere is the name of the album and the title is a nod to the Neil Young and Crazy Horse album, Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. Homercat has had the ultimate opportunity to hear an advance copy of the disc and was not disappointed in the least. On the very first listen of the album I was immediately struck by how much the band has matured between this and their last disc. Then somewhere during my listening I downloaded the press kit for the new album and upon reading it I found that my initial reactions were confirmed by what I was reading. I started to think that sometimes I might actually know what I'm talking about. Dare I go into a track by track analysis?

I dare not, because let's face it I'm not that good a writer. What I do know is music and whether it's good or crap, and this is some great stuff. So I'll touch on some of the tracks and encourage all who read this to run out and buy a copy come release day, because like it's predecessor, This is Somewhere is another 5 star effort. The first track Ah Mary is the album's first single that has been included in the press kit. The track is a first for Grace as it is a politically charged tune. GPTN tackle a couple of issues on this album, for example track 4, Ain't No Time addresses New Orleans troubles and the Hammond Makes it's full blown appearance on this song. Awesome tune that rivals the excellence of Nothing but the Water. Personally I would have chosen this track as the lead off single. It showcases everything that is great about GPTN. The album is a perfect mix of rockers and ballads and Track 5 is another great rocker called Mr. Columbus which is a very catchy tune. Actually it was hard for me to pick out my favorite tune, but the one that had it's biggest impact on me was the last track on the album, Big White Gate. A stunning song about a dying 84 year old grandmother with a powerful wall of sound that gave me the aforementioned chillbumps which alone is worth the price of the album.

On this their third album you get the sense of a band poised on the verge of greatness. As the band matures you get this feeling that they are getting ready to explode. As good as this and the previous album is, you can just feel that Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have yet to tap into their potential. Grace's soulful voice and that durned Hammond just won't get out of my head. The album manifests incredible growth in the writing and singing of 24-year-old phenomenon Grace Potter, who has clearly found her true voice in both respects, as well as the instrumental prowess of the band: Potter on the Hammond B3, guitarist Scott Tournet, bassist Bryan Dondero and drummer Matt Burr.

The future looks pretty good for these guys, and homercat says don't miss out. For those who may have missed out the last time I wrote about these guys, I'll toss up a track from the last album. Also while I would like to showcase my favorite song from the new album, I'll go along with the GPTN press release and showcase Ah Mary. One thing I must make clear, if they come to your town to play, do not miss it. Also I would like to make my plea be heard, Please come to Victoria, BC and play at one of our many great clubs.

Nothing But the Water from the album Nothing but the Water
Buy It

Ah Mary from the upcoming release, This is Somewhere
Buy It

Let me know what you think, eh.

Funny Toon