Grace Potter and the Nocturnals is the rare country rock soul band that is capable of greatness in the context of their genre. Their self-titled release is one hell of an album, simultaneously capturing vulnerability and full on swagger thanks in part to the drive of Grace herself and the band that’s willing to help her realize her dreams in full.
The record starts off strong with “Paris (Ooh La La),” a song that sets the tone for the entire album. Combining sensuality, old soul harmony, and a semi rocking country feel, it aspires to put itself a cut above their peers. At her best, Grace Potter comes across as being a distinct voice, equal parts Jenny Lewis and Nicole Atkins, with a little Lucinda Williams thrown in for good measure. Each song crackles and fades on the strength of the group’s conviction, which never lets up, and it shows in the songwriting. The Nocturnals are so adept at what they do and so comfortable with being themselves that even more relaxed cuts such as “Oasis” sound masterful and definitive despite the laidback feel.
There are a lot of acts that attempt to combine rock and country, but few do it as well as Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. On par with groups like Ryan Adams & the Cardinals or the Drive By Truckers, Ms. Potter leads her group full charge into her vision. The end result is a phenomenal record that leaves the likes of Lady Antebellum back at the drawing board.