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Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Nothing But The Water

Nothing But The Water

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Ragged Company Records

Available from

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This disc comes with a complimentary DVD in the package, and the sound and presentation opens up some intriguing speculations and comparisons. The written material compared her with Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, and Janis Joplin; however those comparisons didnít hold much water unless you are stretching them to say she sings soul music and so does Ms Franklin, she is a multi-instrumentalist as is Ms Raitt, and both she and the late Ms Joplin scream their lyrics at times. The group biography is already separating her from the group, much as Janis was torn from Big Brother. There are subtle hints in the biographical material such as giving her credit for the lyrics: and for the music it is listed Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, they are not recognized by their individual names! The group seems as talented as she, and adds a great deal to the sound, particularly Scott Tournetís very tasty work on guitar and slide guitar. With that said, there is quite a bit of very good music on this disc.

Potterís voice doesnít have the depth of experience or the emotional maturity that a couple of the songs require to be put over fully. Most notable of these is Joey, there just isnít the conviction in her voice to sell the song about an abused and battered woman. Also, she doesnít have the depth of voice on the a cappella version of Water. But when she works with the group and they do click with a song there are some great results, listen to and feel the emotions in Ragged Company and Treat Me Right, where the song builds in an organic matter and she doesnít try to force vocal gymnastics that are beyond her years. Give a listen to what happens when she lets the band stretch a bit as on Sweet Hands and this is a song with some excitement and life to it. There is real potential here for something to mature and grow strong, but this will happen only if star trips are put aside and the music is allowed to percolate. She does have a good strong voice, but she is trying to push it to limits that are a good way beyond her experiences.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2006, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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