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Nothing But the Water

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Album Review

While the 22-year-old Grace Potter's vocal influences are obvious — Bonnies Raitt and Bramlett, Susan Tedeschi, and Lucinda Williams — it's what she does with her voice that is most impressive. This sophomore indie album gets all the parts right. Even though the band is from Vermont, there is no denying the Southern blues, gospel and swamp rock that course through its veins. Potter's songs, all co-written with her group, grind through a combination of the Band, J.J. Cale (who she namechecks on the opening "Toothbrush and My Table"), Taj Mahal, and Tift Merritt. Although it is self-recorded, Nothing but the Water exudes a professional sound and the band knows when to play and when to lay back. Lyrically, Potter is stuck on the lost love track, but she makes the most of that overworked concept with smart, savvy words that retain an air of mystery. She's got a terrific, grainy voice, but it's her piano and Hammond B-3 playing that really set her apart from the pack. The organ adds a gospel flavor — part Gregg Allman, part Booker T., part Steve Winwood — that pushes this material from good to great. "Treat Me Right" throbs with a sexuality perfectly echoed in the band's skeletal swamp funk backing. In particular, Scott Tournet's slide guitar pushes the rollicking "Sweet Hands" down Highway 61 as Potter charges through lyrics such as "it's like touch and go without the touch" with a mix of sassy fire and feisty intensity. "Joey" tells the story of spousal abuse with images that are powerful and scary ("He looks me in the eye, he'll hit me 'til I cry"). She goes full Delta blues/Bonnie Raitt mode on the acoustic "2:22," accompanied only by acoustic guitar and subtle standup bass. It's an impressive track and shows she could be a fine traditional blues singer if she wanted to pursue that avenue. The final trilogy of tracks is the album's highlight. Shifting from the spooky instrumental "Below the Beams" to the a cappella gospel of "Nothing but the Water Pt.1" and into the song's rollicking "Pt. 2," the band fires on all cylinders as Potter spits out the gospel words powered by her own keyboards and the band's surging storm of blues-rock. It caps an impressive release that only scratches the surface of what this band can generate live.

Customer Reviews

Best New Singer and Group to appear in years!

Heard Ragged Company on WXPN and had to have the album. Saw Grace and group live at World Cafe Live in Philly -- better even than this terrific studio album. Best tracks are Nothing But the Water II and Sweet Hands, just great rock. Ragged Company and All but One are melodic and heartfelt. They are touring all summer. Make sure you see Grace and the Band!

Go see them ASAP

Great live band playing small venues. Grace plays Hammond organ and sings like an angel. She isn't hard on the eyes either and is sexy as anything. Every guy I know that has seen her wants to marry her. Album is very good check out Toothbrush... and Joey.

If You Haven't Seen Them Live Yet...

...See them! I saw them for the first time last night in a small concert hall ((it only housed about 200 people)). They were INCREDIBLE. On the album, they're much more blues than live, where they literally rock out. Either way, this is a great new band. Most of the songs on this CD I could listen to again and again, and they would never get old! You're not missing out by downloading "Nothing But the Water". My favorite songs are "Treat Me Right", "Sweet Hands", "Joey", and "Nothing But the Water".


Genre: Rock

Singer, songwriter, and Hammond B-3 player Grace Potter grew up in Waitsfield, Vermont, where she began playing piano at the age of seven; informed by her parents' extensive collection of some 4,000 LPs, she was gigging out locally by her late teens. She met drummer Matt Burr at an open-mike session while both were attending St. Lawrence University in upstate New York in 2002, and the two formed Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. The band, by then a trio with the addition of Scott Tournet on guitar,...
Full Bio
Nothing But the Water, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
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Customer Ratings