I never got around to sharing my Best Songs You (Maybe) Didn’t Hear list for 2010 with the internets in general in December, so I’ve decided to mine it for fresh post material in February and March. I’m posting the songs in the order in which they would have appeared in the final playlist, so if you play along at home, you’ll have heard a tidy 80-ish minutes of great music when all is said and done. Today, the rundown continues with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as pleasantly surprised by an album as I was by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals’ self-titled disc. After hearing their last album, 2007’s This Is Somewhere, I quickly dismissed their jammy, hammy brand of blues: stick with opening for shitty bands like moe., kids. I don’t know what happened in the intervening couple of years, but they ditched the jam-band bullshit, tightened up their songwriting, muscled up their sound, and produced the best album of Stones-inflected blues rock since The Black Crowes’ Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. Yes, their jammy tendencies can still be felt in the extended jam that ends “Tiny Light” and the handful of reggae-leaning songs, but they’re held firmly in check by the crackerjack, noodle-free musicianship and Potter’s soulful, Janis-esque voice. Great, great stuff.
The slinky “Paris (Ooh La La)” is probably my favorite song, but it’s been popping up in commercials & movie trailers a lot, so I opted for the epic “Tiny Light” instead for my playlist. The album cut is great, but I’m rather partial to this stripped-down acoustic rendering that the band posted to YouTube — enjoy:
For good measure, here’s the studio version:
Like what you hear? Download Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at iTunes and you’ll get the bonus track “Fooling Myself.”