Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Nothing But The Water CD

Ah, time to slow it down a bit before I’ve got a Smokey on my tail…slip in the chick with the second most famous band from Vermont for a little mellow, second gear vibeage. WRONG. Potter has enormous range—everything from Aretha Franklin to Bonnie Raitt rattles from her pipes and the band cooks behind her; alas, the pedal goes back to the floor and cops be damned. “Nothing But The Water” is a collection of great Americana blues rock infused with so much confidence that Potter exudes a weird sort of ‘Star is Born’ aura throughout the disc—over the fence, far away and gonegonegone.

If you're not in love with Potter's voice from the opening "Toothbrush and My Table," you're either dead or on the way. The tunes rock between blues, country, folk and rave up rock and roll. "Ragged Company" clarifies the band's stance as a wayward yet tight bunch with melancholia dripping from the edges of their portrait and, "Left Behind" and "Treat Me Right" solidifies that vision. "Sweet Hands" just plain rocks with Faces-like outbursts as Potter proves she can belt it out with the best of any old dude--she even has an off-the-cuff Brit Cockney count-off during the band's opening seconds. Slide guitars and Hammond B-3 burn baby, burn during its three and a half minutes dip into Skynyrd dirt laced with Ronnie Wood grit. "Below the Beams" is an instrumental stream-of-conscious bit of improv magic that captures the late eve motif while the double takes of the title track that close the disc feature Potter's a cappella gifts without sacrificing an ounce of soul--and that's a word that will be mentioned quite a bit around the likes of this young singer and a band ready to take on more than just the Northeast. See them in a bar, while you can, won't be long before she's playing a room beyond dimension.

-- Randy Ray