Last Saturday, not having an idea what I wanted to listen to next, I perused the top 10 albums on iTunes. I noticed that #8 was someone I had never heard of, Grace Potter & the Nocturals. Intrigued and a little bothered (because I should at least recognize everyone in the top 10), I read a couple of the reviews and took the plunge. This all coincided nicely with my first “long” run for my marathon training. My plan is to listen to new music each week for my long runs, which will distract me to the point that I hardly even notice I’m running. I have to admit that I did pay more attention to the music itself than I normally do on a first listen when I’m usually reading the paper on the train or working in the kitchen. The downside is that when I’ve listened to the album since then, I can literally picture where I was on my run when I first heard each song. No!!!! I’ve taken perfectly good music and now associate it with exercise- it’s had the wrong effect!
Anyway, on to Grace Potter and the Nocturals. As I mentioned, I have never heard of them and know nothing about them, but one of the reviews I read quickly described the sound as Janis Joplin meets Norah Jones. What??? I don’t think it’s necessary to take the opposite ends of the female vocal spectrum to describe something in the middle. I would say she sounds like an energized Norah Jones, although I guess the Janis Joplin comes from her ability to hold a note indefinitely. I would compare her most closely to Joss Stone, although she’s a notch calmer. Some of her songs have a hint of country (not good enough at country to tell you who she sounds like) and many have a kind of bluesy feel. She ranges from quite loud to very mellow, a nice mix. I keep saying “she” because I do not hear any vocals from the Nocturals (must investigate).
Again, without knowing anything about her, I would say she’s a single gal who is experiencing (and signing about) all kinds of single gal issues: being excited by new love, not answering the phone when her ex calls, not having enough money, the usual stuff, but the lyrics are a bit unexpected in places, which keeps things interesting, and she’s obviously more mature than a Taylor Swift. I am really enjoying this album. It’s a good mix of upbeat and soulful, and seriously it’s only $7.99 and has 14 songs- you can hardly find a better deal than that! Apparently the group was on Good Morning America this morning, so I can hardly get credit for discovering something new, I guess.
Now that I’ve visited the offical Grace Potter & the Nocturnals website, I’ve learned that Grace herself is 26, is from Vermont, and The Nocturals comprise the band: three hippie-looking dudes and one other girl. When I pay attention, I can hear them backing up on vocals, but it’s subtle- nice. I’m including what seems to be the only “real” video below, although I am hesitant because it gets a little screamy toward the end, which isn’t representative of all their songs whatsoever. Here are my recommendations from the album (although I am thoroughly enjoying the whole thing). I probably should have mentioned earlier that the album is self titled.
· Paris (also the most popular song on iTunes from the album)
· Tiny Light (video below)
· Colors (really pretty song)
· Fooling Myself (second most popular song, also the quietest song)