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An Interview with Grace Potter at Bonnaroo 2009

Grace Potter Interview Bonnaroo 2009

by Rob Banagale

In our coverage of Bonnaroo this past week, we had the opportunity to speak briefly with singer, songwriter and downright groovy performer, Grace Potter.

At just 25 years of age Grace, with her band the Nocturnals, has been lighting up stages across the country with her special mix of funky blues, soul and sixties infused rock. In 2008 she opened for Dave Matthews Band at three dates, two SPAC shows and the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA.

Grace did a total of five performances at Bonnaroo, taking the opportunity to perform about a half dozen new songs from the new album which is titled Medicine. The album was created in just two months with famed producer T-Bone Burnett. T-Bone was awarded the 2009 Producer of the Year Grammy award for his work on Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand.

Below is a transcription of the interview.  Also available is the audio of the interview in mp3.


Weekly Davespeak: I wanted to ask you about what you're days like on a day like today at a big festival

GP: Well, today I made sure not to have too many things going on before the show. This was the only real commitment. After the show I have a huge amount of stuff.

WDS: How about before you have to go on stage, what types of things do you do?

GP: We watch a James Brown DVD and we dance. And we sing all of our harmonies.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Bonnaroo 2009 

WDS: I understand you have another album planned with T-Bone this year..

GP: Actually, we've already finished the record. We were in L.A. for a little under two months. We recorded the entire album in a very amount of time. It is coming out in October.

WDS: Do you have a name for it?

GP: I can't tell you yet. [editor note: The album title, "Medicine," was released the following day in the Bonnaroo Beacon festival newspaper]

WDS: How do do you feel about it?

GP: I feel incredible.

WDS: What does it say about you and the Nocturnals?

GP: It takes on a new journey into more of a story teller kind of, tribal, motown voo doo thing. It is really trancy, but also it has lots of vocals and plenty of songwriting. I actually collaborated with a couple of other song writers on this one, including members of my band. So we've co-written a bunch of songs together. Which really, changed the vibe up because usually I write all the material. This made a new experience for us.

WDS: Did you pick up any new instruments for the album?

GP: I did, I picked up that thumb piano. Ya, that's it though.

After this she spoke very briefly about how easy it was to work with and open for DMB. Listen to the Audio below for the complete vibe of the interview.

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 Download Weekly Davespeak's Interview with Grace Potter at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

If you have not, you should check out Grace's music, you can dabble in some tracks on her myspace page or the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals' Pandora radio station. I personally recommend you seek out the song "Treat Me Right" off her 2006 album, Nothing But Water. You can find a litany of videos of her performing live on Youtube.

For the real thing, check her out live! Grace and the Nocturnals are currently touring heavily from Nantucket to New Orleans, and perhaps most notably at the Rothbury Music Festival on July 5th. Here's a link to her upcoming tour dates.

Many thanks to Sharrin and Grace for making this work.  Photos through creative commons courtesy Britney Brush and DifferentDrum.