By The Grace of Rock n' Roll
by: Jeff Hightower
Click here to visit gracepotter.com
Back to the nest...
As I stood there waiting for the Govâ€™t Mule show to start at the War Memorial in Nashville, Tennessee, many thoughts ran through my head. I had a front row seat and a pass to meet Warren Haynes (my personal hero). But not until the opening band walked on stage did I realize what I had just gotten myself into. From out of nowhere, this knock-out with a guitar stepped up to the microphone. And like the shot of a gun, this little four piece band known as The Nocturnals launched into an opening set that threw away any sign that they were a mere opening band. Reminiscent of bands like the Stones and Neil Young, it was an exhilarating experience. The band consisted of Grace Potter (Lead Vocals, B3 Organ, Rhythm Guitar), Scott Tournet (Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica), Bryan Dondero (Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Vocals), & Matt Burr (Drums, Vocals). I should have seen it coming after all the stage was adorned with owl statues and the muppet drummer â€œAnimalâ€� was hanging on to the drum set. And with heart and soul, they bled pure rock-n-roll. Showcasing their new album â€œThis is Somewhereâ€�, they rocked out with burners like â€œStop the Busâ€�, â€œMastermindâ€� & â€œHereâ€™s to the Meantimeâ€� along with Graceâ€™s new political voice in the song â€œAh Maryâ€�. But not only did they rock hard, they rocked your heart to. After the story about how â€œBig White Gateâ€� was written for her grandmother, Grace moved to a very spiritual place and delivered a heartfelt dedication that made everyone choke back tears. I had never heard of the Virginia based band until this night, but when they were done, I barreled myself to the merchandise stand to purchase my first Grace Potter album. I wasnâ€™t surprised when I found Ms. Potterâ€™s music turning up on the national television favorite â€œGreyâ€™s Anatomyâ€�. It was only a matter of time before this steamroller hit high gear and started to take the world by shear force of music. Make no mistake, Grace took no prisoners. She was able to even turn the head of the blind man next to me with her self proclaimed â€œshagginâ€™ shirt. But when it was all said and done, it didnâ€™t matter that she was an extremely attractive young woman. All that anyone saw was a future legend taking her place in the spotlight she so richly deserved. Relix magazine called her Americaâ€™s best kept secret, but at this pace, she wonâ€™t be a secret to anyone for long. Already sharing the stage with icons like Taj Mahal and Mavis Staples they rely on relentless touring and word of mouth to make their name. And from this journalists point of view, it seems the old fashion way seems to be working out extremely well for the band from â€œPottersvilleâ€�. So with â€œThis Is Somewhereâ€� under their belts and an extremely rigourous touring schedule, if you have the chance, go see them live. They are redefining the rules of popular music one city at a time. And before itâ€™s over, donâ€™t be surprised if we all live in the PotterNation!