All country doesnâ€™t suck. Just most of it. Because most major label C and W is watered down rockâ€”lame anthems and songs with expected twists and puns that were barely funny when Henny Youngman uttered them, years ago. But Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are an exception. The band eschews Americana and stays true to true countryâ€”without being cornyâ€”occasionally marching close (but never quite embracing) rock and roll.
The band is on a major label, but Iâ€™m making an exception to my general no-review policy because theyâ€™ve been around for a long while and havenâ€™t really caught fire. And I canâ€™t figure out why. Check out the bluesy greatness of â€œStop the Busâ€ and tell me it isnâ€™t better than anything on the CMAs. â€œAinâ€™t No Timeâ€ is reminiscent of Bob Dylanâ€™s â€œIt Ainâ€™t Me Babe,â€ only Grace has a much better voice (obviously), and itâ€™s got more twang. â€œMastermindâ€ comes close to being a barnburnerâ€”I can only imagine how much better this song is when its performed before an eager audience. Then thereâ€™s â€œMr. Columbus,â€ which is almost like an anthem but like most good Grace Potter tunes it balances warily between rock and country, fully embracing neither genre by adopting folky lyrics. All in all, another varied and textured
collection from this seasoned group that deserves more recognition than it gets.
Another reason why I’m making an exception to my general no-RIAA artists ban is because Grace is great and generous with her live recordings. Check it:
From “This Is Somewhere”: