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Published: 2009/11/16

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Respond To Our Friday News

Bonnaroo 2009

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have posted a statement on their website in response to our news article from Friday on their forthcoming studio album.

Our article on Friday reported:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will release a new studio album this spring. The album, a collaboration with songwriter/producer Mark Batson, is the first to feature the Nocturnals’ current lineup. It is unclear what happened to an earlier series of recording sessions the band did with producer T-Bone Burnett. Batson is best known in the hip-hip/R&B world for his work with Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys. He branched out in 2005 to work with Dave Matthews Band on Stand Up.

After being introduced by a mutual friend, Potter and Batson co-wrote a series of songs in early in 2009.

“I liked the idea of writing with someone who was totally not from my own world,” Potter said in a statement. ““Mark was the first person outside of my band that I’d ever attempted to co write with, and I was excited. We ended up writing one song after another – it was like we could read each other’s minds. He would build drum tracks, basslines and piano chords, and I would write the words and vocal melodies over the top. It was a natural progression, totally organic and magical. I knew he also produced, and after we played Bonnaroo we went into the studio with him for a week to see if we could bring that magic to the band as a whole. When we started laying down tracks, it felt like something really special was happening, and Mark was capturing it. Inside of a week, we had five strong tracks.”

The band entered Los Angeles’ Westlake Studios with Batson in early September. The group recorded a dozen tracks in 17 weeks, bringing her new song total to 17. The group is currently mixing the album and deciding which songs to include, though the Obama-inspired “Colors,” the new “Oasis,” “Tiny Light” and the first Batson/Potter collaboration “Medicine” will all make the cut.

In response, guitarist Scott Tournet explains, “Just want to go on record saying that making the record with Mark was my favorite recording experience EVER!!! The album will speak for itself. To those worried about the hip-hop/R&B background Mark brings, this album sounds more like GPN than ANY other album…Any influence he brought only made us stronger, but to be honest, Mark just kept on saying…”Im just trying to stay out of the way!!? Just play!!!”…He produced us perfectly.”

The group then posted the following press release we offer below, so please glean what you will in terms of any errors and omission on our part

This fall has been a busy one for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, who have been splitting their time between recording sessions for their third album for Ragged Company/Hollywood Records and introducing the band’s new five-piece configuration on a string of tour dates that included five incredible performances at this year’s Bonnaroo festival. Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Norah Jones) is the band’s new bass player, while fellow Vermonter Benny Yurco, who plays in the GPN side project Blues & Lasers with lead guitarist Scott Tournet and Matt Burr, makes the Nocturnals a two-guitar band. Burr continues to anchor GPN on drums. The group has been enjoying “that new-band buzz,” as Grace puts it, since Popper and Yurco came on board. The band kicks off their fall tour with Brett Dennen November 13 in Nashville, TN.

The as yet untitled new album, which will be released in spring 2010, had its genesis early in 2009 when Potter and songwriter/producer Mark Batson got together to co-write after they’d been introduced by mutual friends. Grace says of her original motivation for choosing to work with Batson on this album, “I liked the idea of writing with someone who was totally not from my own world.”

“Mark was the first person outside of my band that I’d ever attempted to co write with, and I was excited,” she continues. “We ended up writing one song after another – it was like we could read each other’s minds. He would build drum tracks, basslines and piano chords, and I would write the words and vocal melodies over the top. It was a natural progression, totally organic and magical. I knew he also produced, and after we played Bonnaroo we went into the studio with him for a week to see if we could bring that magic to the band as a whole. When we started laying down tracks, it felt like something really special was happening, and Mark was capturing it. Inside of a week, we had five strong tracks.”

So Potter and her four cohorts continued on their roll in league with Batson, who straddles the worlds of hip-hop/R&B (Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys) and rock (Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5), taking full advantage of the energy the two new players and the writer/producer were bringing to the creative process. They hunkered down at Westlake Studios in L.A. in early September, banging out a dozen tracks in two weeks, for a total of 17. “It was magical” Grace marvels. The biggest remaining challenge will be what to leave off the album, now in its mixing stages.

Songs sure to make the cut: “Colors,” a big ballad inspired by Obama’s election; “Medicine,” which has the distinction of being the first song the band wrote together, and the Batson collaboration “Oasis,” which showcases the band’s newly mounted dual-guitar firepower, as Tournet and Yurco interweave spiraling lines over a refracted groove deftly laid down by Burr and Popper; and “Tiny Light” (another Batson co-write), a powerful song of resilience and hope during dark times. These songs are a few of the highlights of a work that documents a group of exceptional young players in the very act of taking flight – an album that will herald the arrival of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as a world-class rock ’n’ roll band.

This evening the band is in Baltimore at Rams Head Live!.

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