Grace Potter’s New Band/Album: Grows To Five-Piece for Summer


After completing work on their T Bone Burnett-produced third album for Ragged Company/Hollywood Records, which is now in its final stages, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will hit the road this summer in a new configuration. Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Hem) is the band’s new bass player, replacing Bryan Dondero, while their friend and fellow Vermonter Benny Yurco, who also plays in Blues and Lasers, guitarist Scott Tournet’s experimental rock project, will be added as rhythm guitarist on all tour dates.

Writer/singer/keyboard player Potter, guitarist Scott Tournet and drummer Matt Burr had planned on holding extensive auditions for the vacant bass slot in New York and L.A., but they first checked out Popper on a recommendation. “She came in, plugged in and played with us,” Grace recalls, “”and by the end of the first song we knew she was absolutely, positively the perfect person for us. She completely understood the direction we wanted to go in.”

After Yurco sat in with the band, including Popper, during their performance for a special VH1 “:School of Rock” 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival (they played “White Rabbit,” “Woodstock,” Janis Joplin’s “Try” and one original, “Nothing But The Water”), “We all had that new-band buzz,” says Grace. “We thought that if were making a lineup change, why not make it a whole new experience? Because we couldn’t really replace Bryan — he’d been with us too long for that. So having five members has made it a positive transition for all of us.”

Grace laughingly describes the as yet untitled new album, which is slated for a fall release, as “a soul record at its core, like the Velvet Underground backing Aretha Franklin.” Clarifying this improbable set of reference points, she says, “There’s a spirituality — a soulfulness — that’s tapping into the Al Green vibe, but with a youth, a darkness and an edge to it that I wasn’t expecting.”

Potter put her complete trust in Burnett, a studio visionary who was awarded the 2009 Producer of the Year Grammy for Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ modern-day classic Raising Sand. For the sessions, the producer called on three of his go-to guys—drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Dennis Crouch and guitarist Marc Ribot — who formed the core studio band with Potter, Tournet and Burr.” In between recording and mixing the new album, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals will be on the road playing a handful of dates previewing songs from their upcoming album. You can catch GPN in the following cities.

05.28 Baltimore, MD 8 X 10 *headlining
05.29 Millvale, PA Mr. Small’s *headlining
05.30 Lexington, KY The Dame *headlining
06.03 New Orleans, LA The Parish *headlining
06.04 Enterprise, AL Bama Jam (Alternative Stage)
06.05 Live Oaks, FL Wanee Festival (Mushroom Stage)
06.06 Savannah, GA Livewire Music Hall *headlining
06.08 Isle of Palms, SC The Windjammer *headlining
06.11 Knoxville, TN Sundown in the City *headlining
06.12 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival (This Tent)
06.13 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival (Sonic Stage)
06.14 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival (Solar Stage)
06.20 Millville, NJ Southern Shore Music Festival (Carmel Green Stage)
06.21 Croton on Hudson, NY Great Hudson River Festival
06.25 Albany, NY Alive At Five *headlining
06.27 Fort Smith, AK Riverfront Park
06.28 Fort Smith, AK Neumeier’s Rib Room *headlining
07.03 Telluride, CO Red, White & Blues *headlining – free show
07.05 Rothbury, MI Rothbury (Sherwood Court Stage)
07.12 Burlington, VT Quadricentennial Festival
07.17 Alta, Wyoming Grand Targhee Americana Festival
07.18 Park City, UT Mountain Town Stages *headlining
07.24 Floyd, VA Floyd Festival (headline Main Stage)
07.26 Bridgeport, CT Gathering of the Vibes (Main Stage)
08.07 Brooklyn, NY Celebrate Brooklyn Festival *headlining – free show
09.05 New Orleans, LA Project 30-90