Grace Potter and The Nocturnals: This Is Somewhere (Hollywood Records)

CD Review

Jul 25, 2007 at 2:06 pm

When Grace Potter writes a song, steps up to her Hammond B3 and opens her mouth to sing, she drifts through a musical wormhole and time-tunnels her way back to the days of Bonnie Raitt, when Little Feat had her back, and Janis Joplin, when she was contemplating Pearl. Then Potter makes her way to Edie Brickell and Lucinda Williams to pick up a few rootsy Rock-to-Americana-to-Folk-to-Pop tips. Then she races back to the future and ratchets all her lessons from the past up a notch with a Blues-tinged charge and the more than capable help of her sidekicks, the Nocturnals. There's no way that Potter should have evolved this far as a singer and songwriter and performer in a mere 24 years, and it's equally as unlikely that any artist could produce an album as timeless and exquisitely powerful as This Is Somewhere on their second try. Potter and the Nocturnals kick off their astonishingly accomplished sophomore album with "Ah Mary," which hypnotizes with an acoustic lilt and Potter's dusky coo on the choruses, then jolts to attention with an electric assault and the impossibly balanced frontwoman's lioness roar on the verses. In this single song, Potter and the Nocturnals exhibit a dynamic range and emotional depth that is made even more impressive by their ability to sustain it over the course of an entire album. Potter's ethereal Dylan/Band B3 (and occasional guitar), Scott Tournot's ripping Crazy Horse solos and the soulfully thunderous bottom of bassist Bryan Dondero and drummer Matt Burr come together to create an amazing whole that sounds simultaneously effortless and titanic. Grace Potter is already a star; a few million people just need to take notice. (BB) Grade: A