Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have rarely suffered from a lack of superlatives in their press kit. Other than the Vermont band’s self-released and largely unheard debut, 2004’s Original Soul (in actuality, a solo Grace Potter release) and GPN’s subsequent albums for Hollywood Records (2006’s re-released Nothing But the Water and 2007’s This is Somewhere) have generally been showered with the kind of praise that a lot of bands would pay a flack to say.
GPN might have found a ready audience in the Jam community but the band’s grounding was in the Blues-tinged Classic Rock of the ’70s with a sound that suggested the Blues-laced verve of Bonnie Raitt and Little Feat, the rootsy Americana roar of Lucinda Williams and the gritty Indie Pop lilt of Edie Brickell.
This is Somewhere amazed most critics, and the subsequent period was eventful to say the least. The band’s songs have shown up in a variety of television shows, they’ve toured relentlessly, opening for the Black Crowes and Dave Matthews Band, and their well-regarded set at 2009’s Bonnaroo was matched only by their guest spots with moe. and Gov’t Mule.
But things were unsettled as well. The Nocturnals’ T Bone Burnett-produced fourth album was shelved and longtime bassist Bryan Dondero left the band. But with Dondero’s departure came the arrival of Ryan Adams bassist Catherine Popper and rhythm guitarist Benny Yurco to make GPN a quintet, additions that sparked the band’s 2010 eponymous fourth album. Nearly a year after the album’s release, the contemporary Blues blast of “Paris (Ooh La La)” has become a potent Pop hit, introducing Potter and the Nocturnals to an entirely new (and bigger) demographic.
Potter and the Nocturnals are still channeling Raitt’s growling Blues sensuality, but there are also touches of Stax Soul and Stevie Nicks’ Pop shimmer in their presentation, and while it might not be winning them any critical cred, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have found a new and powerful audience in the Top 40 crowd.
GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS play PNC Pavilion Friday, July 29. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.