Album Review

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Nothing But The Water

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Nothing But The Water

Grace Potter is sometimes compared to Norah Jones, and though there are parallels to be drawn between their lightly smoked vocals, they only work on the slow songs. Where Jones tends to smoothly smooch her notes, Potter prefers to drive a nice sporty coupe into hers, and when she and her groovy blues-gospel-rock outfit rev up -- as they do often on their second disc -- there's an easy swagger and plenty of soulful dust in the results. Potter and her Nocturnals -- guitarist Scott Tournet, drummer Matthew Burr, and bassist Bryan Dondero -- met in a northerly and remote corner of New York but their sweetly humid vibe is more suited to the southeastern swamplands. At 22, singer/pianist/organ player Potter is probably too green to have personally endured all the blues-approved hardships she recounts on songs such as "Joey", about an abusive parolee. But she pulls off an engaging simulation by launching herself into meaty tracks such as "Treat Me Right" with a youthful, windows-down abandon ("Get out of my way or I'll start blasting 'Cat Scratch Fever'," she warns in "Toothbrush And My Table"). Potter is a few parts Patty Griffin or Joni, but prays mostly at the altar of Bonnie Raitt and Janis, and she's got skills on the Hammond B-3, which adds plenty of sonic warmth to her blues-rock songs. The band is still feeling its way around, and production-wise Nothing But The Water could use some more air, but Potter provides plenty of fire.