GRACE POTTER: NOTHING BUT THE WATER

By Trevor Pour

Touted by many as the greatest Green Mountain State export since Phish or Ben & Jerry's, depending on your tastes, Grace Potter makes a convincing case for that honor with the beautiful release Nothing but the Water (ragged company records). When a local talent jumps from playing before small crowds at Vermont community colleges to playing at sold out venues with Trey Anastasio and the Wood Brothers within just a few years, you know you've got something special on your hands. It's difficult, actually, to listen or watch this CD/DVD double album without the feeling that this may be only the tip of a very large iceberg for the Nocturnals.

Grace is the kind of rare talent that only arises where passion and natural ability meet and are fused by an absolute devotion to one's craft. Five minutes with this DVD confirm that Grace holds nothing back from her performances. Her emotive and visceral voice, especially evident on "Ragged Company" and "Treat Me Right," draws clear and deserved comparisons to Janis Joplin, but I'd classify her music as a distinctive rocked-out country/folk blend. Sure, she's got elements of that classic blues rock and a recurring lyrical theme of broken relationships indicates a deeply personal connection to her music, but we're not really looking at a tortured soul like Joplin here. Grace and the Nocturnals are a young band enjoying their career, laughing and smiling throughout their high-energy performance.

Nothing but the Water is a great introduction to the Nocturnals, blending a studio album recorded at Goddard College's 150-year-old Haybarn Theatre with a live performance DVD provided by Vermont Public Television. With a well-balanced crew of Grace (vocals, Hammond, piano, Wurlitzer, resonator bass), Matt Burr (drums/percussion), Bryan Dondero (upright, electric, resonator bass), and Scott Tournet (vocals, acoustic, electric, resonator guitar), a broad range of sound emerges from both the live and studio settings. While most of the album takes on a heavy country-rock feel, the Nocturnals aren't afraid to try different styles, like the straight bass-heavy blues of "2:22" or the electronic classic rock "Sweet Hands." The title track closes out the album with a fast-paced and catchy gospel jam with Grace slamming away on her Hammond, but not before the inspired and personal tracks such as "Below the Beams," an instrumental composition likely referring to their history-laden recording studio at Goddard. Fans of all styles, from country to bluegrass to jambands to alternative rock, will find something to appreciate in Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

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[Published on: 8/22/06]

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Comments

cocheese starstarstar Wed 8/23/2006 12:04PM
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cocheese

First time I heard this band I figured they were from the South. Grace has that soulful voice, that sounds like she perfected in the front row of some Southern Baptist chior. When I actually saw them in person I was shocked by their passion and emotion displayed on stage. This is real music from the heart, and they play with the all their heart and soul on stage. Oh yeah, Grace is pretty hot too!

keithrichardsforpres Wed 8/23/2006 04:58PM
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keithrichardsforpres

She's hot, has a great voice, and wonderful stage presence...but she could use some help with her songwriting. Bland lyrics and fairly unoriginal tunes that just blend together. She definitely has a bright future, but she's not quite there yet.

Tan starstarstarstar Thu 8/24/2006 10:52AM
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Tan

I heard their fans are called the 'Owl-Heads'. Funnay.

Voted 3 for fun time listening. 1 for hot.

Patjcostell starstarstarstar Sun 8/27/2006 09:42AM
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Saw her at a political rally in VT during the spring then again at the Roo. I'll agree the lyrics aren't the greatest, but the energy of their live shows makes up for it. I'll be seeing her play again in VT with the Wood Brothers, who absolutely blew me away at the Roo.

streetcarvisions starstarstarstar Mon 9/4/2006 04:52PM
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I've seen the Nocturnals something like 5 or 6 times and they are probably one of the best up and coming live bands around. I'd definitely agree that some of the songs on the album are lyrically lacking, but the sets that the band has been playin lately really show a new maturity in the songwritting area. And it don't hurt that she's a looker.

donn4036 starstarstarstar Fri 9/22/2006 01:15PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Living in Canton, NY I picked up this disc at the St. Lawrence University bookstore knowing nothing about the band; then I saw a show at SLU's senior week. After the performance they landed a spot on my Bonnaroo ticket. I was blown away by the 'roo performance, and have been telling people about it for 3 months. You'll leave GP&TN shows with a smile and a crush.