Nothing gives music reviewers more pleasure than to see a local band make good. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, hailing from my former hometown of Waitsfield, Vermont, has hit the big time with This is Somewhere. While local fans will be a bit surprised (or disappointed) that the blues/rock sound of the band's initial album has given way to more of a pure-rock sound, they should revel in the maturity of musicians who have been honing their skills on the road until the time when they could produce a record that would offer so much to so many. From pop singles like "Mr. Columbus" and "Ah Mary" to the ballads "Apologies" and "Falling or Flying" through the blues/gospel belter "Big White Gates," Potter, on guitar and Hammond B3, and the Nocturnals, on guitar, bass and drums, have covered the bases musically -- and that bodes well for their continued growth and acceptance.
While this recording doesnt have the same live-in-the-woods sound as the locally recorded first album, it doesnt need to run and stick its head in the sand either. Sure, it has a bit of that big-city studio sound -- compression, a flat soundstage, and less-than-distinct instrumental separation -- but it makes up for these shortcomings with good tonal quality and Potters vocals, which sound vivid. This album is sure to please and excite rock fans everywhere who have for far too long been spoon-fed the same old stuff in different packaging. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are a welcome breath of fresh air and prove that if you look hard enough talent is still out there awaiting discovery.
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