If you haven’t yet been introduced to Grace Potter, let me be the one to point your ears in her direction. Growing up in Vermont in a commune type of lifestyle, Grace Potter says she was expected to do something creative every day. She was not allowed to watch TV unless she was doing something else at the same time. So she would turn on Beavis and Butthead, sit down at the piano, and play along to the music videos they made fun of on the show. This is how she learned to play piano by ear. She also plays guitar, she sings, she writes – and she does them all skillfully. But it is her voice that grabs your heart.
Equal parts rock, blues, and soul, Grace’s voice is drenched in experience beyond her thirty-six years. It is controlled and dynamic, with just enough grit to make you take her seriously. Sometimes she squeaks, raw and tortured and human. She’s like Janis Joplin but with more discipline and less booze. She covers Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, Bob Dylan – artists most girls her age aren’t listening to. They are also the artists my musician ex-boyfriend tried to get me to learn when I was in my thirties and we had a band. Alas, being on stage does not come naturally to me. It comes naturally to Grace Potter. And it doesn’t hurt that she looks like a Flower Child Barbie Doll.
Do yourself a favor and listen to her sing this Rolling Stones song.
And this groovy live version of an original song from her latest album, Daylight.
“Back to Me”
And, of course, the song that made her career, and made everybody – including me – sit up and take notice, “Paris”.