Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are like a modern-day version of Tina Turner stroking the microphone in a spangled mini-dress while fronting the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers. The proof is there for all to hear on the band’s third album for Hollywood Records, hitting this spring, and marks an artistic breakthrough for a vital young band caught in the act of fulfilling its immense promise. Little wonder that Grace and her cohorts have chosen to title it, directly and emphatically, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Though GPN initially made a name for themselves — and became a self-sufficient touring unit — on the jam-band circuit, the group’s sound was deeply rooted in the golden age of rock ’n’ roll; they cite Little Feat and J.J. Cale as huge influences early on. Burr and Potter formed the earliest version of the Nocturnals while both were students at St. Lawrence University after he introduced her to the myriad joys of The Last Waltz. So it was that the two soon-to-be bandmates and soulmates formed their bond while in the thrall of The Band, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. All in all, not a bad place to start.
Because of their ready acceptance on the U.S. touring circuit, they were able to regularly play as many as 200 shows a year, shaping and sharpening their sound the old-fashioned way, on stages in front of demanding crowds. With the 2009 arrivals of Popper and Yurco the Nocturnals are entering the next phase of their evolution.
The current lineup came together with downright cosmic serendipity during the spring of 2009, when they were asked to cover some songs from the late ’60s for the VH1 documentary Woodstock: Then and Now soon after the departure of their bass player. After accepting the invitation, Potter, Tournet and Burr went into scramble mode. At the suggestion of a mutual friend, they contacted Popper, who agreed to join them for the session as a one-off. Potter then impetuously threw out the idea that they bring down Yurco from Vermont to add a second guitar.
COMING TO ATLANTA TO THE VARIETY PLAYHOUSE FRIDAY THE 25th AND SATURDAY THE 26th – IF YOU DONT HAVE TICKETS, YOU ARE OUT OF LUCK AS BOTH SHOWS ARE SOLD OUT! WE WILL BRING YOU EXCLUSIVE PICTURES AND A REVIEW!