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Safe but sturdy rock

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals -
This Is Somewhere

(Hollywood Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 2, 2008
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Review by Tony Bonyata

Tapping into many of the elements of '60s and '70s blues, rock and soul on their third full-length album, This Is Somewhere, the Vermont-based quartet Grace Potter & The Nocturnals turn in a stout effort that has afforded them not only high-profile television performances with Leno and Good Morning America, but their music has also been placed on hit shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Kyle XY and One Tree Hill.

The band is led by the 24 year-old Grace Potter on vocals and keys (predominately a Hammond B3 organ), and if there's one thing that could catapult this band even further into mass stardom it's Potter's sensual vocal delivery that's steeped in soulful eroticism laced with just a hint of nicotine and bourbon. Luckily though she doesn't have to only rely on her pipes as the eleven compositions also prove she's a pretty damn talented songwriter. It certainly doesn't hurt matters that her backing band, The Nocturnals (Scott Tournet/guitar, Bryan Dondero/bass and Matt Burr/drums), know exactly when to flex some muscle on rockers such as the opening "Ah Mary" and the poppy "Mastermind,' yet also know when to reel in the slack and let simpler folk arrangements of songs like the gentle "Lose Some Time," "You May See Me" and the soulful balladry of "Apologies" speak for themselves.

While Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' brand of earthy American rock is certainly nothing new, the safe-but-sturdy radio-friendly rockers and soulful folk ballads that fill out This Is Somewhere still sound welcome and will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Tom Petty, Lucinda Williams, The Band, Sheryl Crow and The Rolling Stones. And similar to all of these artists, Potter & Co. know how to properly straddle the line between classic early '70s AOR and a jam-band hoedown without either the arena-rock clichZs or the pungent scent of patchouli oil.

Related articles:

Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Mar. 2008

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals - "Apologies" video

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