Earworm of the Week: Grace Potter, “Big White Gate”

Confession:  An old high school boyfriend had to bribe me to see Grace Potter.  If you know me now, this should make you laugh, because I may be Grace’s biggest fan… so indulge me for a minute while I tell the story.

It was 2007 and I was headed home to New Jersey for what seemed like the umpteenth time that year – and the trip happened to coincide with WXPN’s Xponential Music Festival, where my beloved Will Hoge was playing.  I had recently reconnected with my high school boyfriend Pete over a shared love of music.  He was also heading to XPN and had some passes to get into the autograph signing/artist area. He said, “Hey,  I’ve got these passes, you can go see Will…but you have to stay to see the headliner Grace Potter.”

Now, let me explain.  I am not the biggest fan of female singers.  I wish I could explain why, but I guess I just prefer male voices.  But for Will Hoge, I would endure just about anything, so I agreed to stay.

[Aside #1:  Clearly, now I think that Will and Grace should make little rock n’ roll song babies together… not actual children, you understand, but music… a duet with the two of them could possibly cause me to have a heart attack. I once made a mix CD for someone who didn’t know either of them called “Will & Grace.”  I’m clever.  I know.]

And when Grace and her little band of Nocturnals took the stage, it took one song for me to get it, and probably three songs for me to fall in love. Soul.  Energy.  Sass.  And my God, her freaking voice. She had it all. I refused to acknowledge it to Pete since I’d been so obstinate about it, but a few weeks later when her breakout album This is Somewhere was released, I immediately bought it and became Grace’s biggest advocate.  I told EVERYONE about her.  I’m lucky, I caught on at just the right time, as she and the Nocturnals were on their way up.  I got to see her at small venues with 50 people there [Aside #2: Some of the best concert photos I’ve ever taken have been of Grace.  I suck as a photographer, but these are good.] …now, of course, she sells out 1000+ attendance venues.  I’ve probably said this a million times since that night, but I’ll say it once more.  I have never wanted to be someone else in my whole life, but I would love to trade shoes with Grace for just one day (and damn, her shoes…how does she rock those 5-inch heels on stage for hours?).

Tonight, I will attend my ninth GPN show.  I will sing along.  I will dance.  I will envy her shoes.  And I will love every single minute of it.

[Aside #3:  Rumor has it Grace has been covering Bruce on this tour. You should all know that if she does cover him tonight, I will go completely apeshit.]

So, in honor of the show, this week’s Earworm is the first Grace song that I ever loved, “Big White Gate.”  It’s still my favorite.  I think it’s because it’s about loving music.  I kind of know how that feels.  Watch this video.  Listen to her introduction.

Finally, here’s my long overdue thank you to that old, high school boyfriend:  Thanks, Pete Calabrese.  You gave me the gift of Grace.  You will never know how much that means.

More Grace Potter:  Web | Facebook | Twitter

Ahh, Summer … New Music Abounds

In my opinion, there is no better season than summer…I love it.  It’s the season of drinks on the patio with friends, beach trips with my Mom, sailing with my Dad, and long, sticky days by the pool. Bring on 90 degree temps and 100% humidity, and I am a happy, happy girl!  It’s also the season of my birthday, and birthdays are a big deal to me, so … that could explain it.

This year, it seems there’s also a TON of great new music being released just in time to help celebrate my favorite season…and to be honest, this post is just as much to help me remember release dates as it is to spread the word about these phenomenal artists.  Be sure to mark your calendars to pick up these sure-to-be-fab releases!  I’ll keep updating this post as new releases get announced and pre-order or purchase information becomes available.

  • June 4 – Quiet Hounds – Megaphona (download free here | purchase on iTunes)
    My love for this artistic and masked quintet from Atlanta is well documented (see posts below.  This exceptional EP is full of lush guitar, dreamy songwriting, and even, yes, a megaphone (and perhaps a garage door?).  Check it out.  It’s free.  You have nothing to lose.
  • June 5 – The Rocketboys – Build Anyway (purchase on iTunes | Amazon)
    Great rock n’ roll from Austin, Texas with strong songwriting to back it up.  Brandon Kinder’s voice is golden, and he’s got a revamped band line up that has produced a really put-together record.
  • June 12 – The Constellations – Do It For Free (preorder on iTunes)
    Atlanta’s funkiest band, The Constellations will not let us down with this record – it will be one dance and sweat to (and that’s however you choose to sweat – running, dancing or otherwise engaged, if you catch my drift).  You can catch them on this summer’s Warped Tour.
  • June 12 – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – The Lion, The Beast & The Beat (preorder on iTunes or Amazon (CD only) | Stream on the band’s Facebook page)
    My favorite sultry songstress, I’m pretty sure that Grace Potter could sing the phone book and I’d love it.  Her smoky voice and high-energy live show are enough to make everyone love her – guys want to be with her and girls want to be her.  Her band is no joke, either…although the new bass player has yet to pass my test!
  • June 19 – Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon (no preorder yet available)
    High-energy indie pop, this way-too-skinny group of hipsters got me grooving last summer with their song “Anna Sun”…and it’s now all the rage.  In fact, you can’t even buy their previous album online anymore!  Watch for them to hit it big this summer….
  • June 26 – Mieka Pauley – The Science of Making Choices (no preorder yet available)
    Probably my favorite female artist ever, Mieka is one of the sharpest songwriters around.  With her sassy Yankee attitude, unique style and straightforward demeanor, she writes incredibly truthful songs that are heartbreaking, edgy, angry and fun.
  • June 26 – Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons – Old Believers (no preorder yet available)
    I’ve got to admit, this is probably one of the releases I’m most excited for.  Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons debut album, Death Won’t Send A Letter, was pure genius (and so critially underratted).  With his gravelly voice and bluesy Americana that is reminiscent of the best 60s and 70s folk songwriters, this Wisconsin-ite will make me a believer ANY day of the week.  You can pick up the first single, “I’ve Been Accused” already on iTunes.
  • July 3 – Jeremy Fisher – Mint Juleps (Pre-order hard copy or preview on Amazon)
    This Canadian songster won me over back in ’07 with his Goodbye Blue Monday album and catchy songs like “Jolene” and “Cigarette.”  He went a little more indie with his follow up release, but word on the street is that this new album hearkens back to his “folk roots.”  I’m pretty excited to hear it!
  • July 10 – Brendan James – Hope in Transition (Preorder hard copy CD here)
    When my bestie Christy – and the woman I have dubbed my “music dealer” – fell in love a few years ago, she grew a soft spot for romantic singer-songwriters. Having always had the penchant for them myself, it wasn’t long before she’d turned me on to Brendan’s music.  After seeing him live, I was a convert – what a talented fellow!  One listen to the whimsical “Anything for You” off his latest self-titled album and you’ll be in love, too.  (Thanks to Robin for the reminder about his new release!)
  • July 24 – The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten (Preorder packages here)
    The modern day answer to punk-infused rock n’ roll, these Jersey boys stole my heart a few years ago with their guitar-heavy sound.  I was late on the train getting switched on to them, but I tell ya what…when Bruce Springsteen gives a band a nod, I will listen.  Next generation of Jersey awesome… And if the lead single, “45” is any hint at what’s to come, Handwritten promises to be worthy of The Boss’s approval!
  • August 28 – Jackopierce – Everywhere All the Time (preview available on Noisetrade)
    If there was a band that defined college for me, it was Jackopierce.  They were probably the first “non-mainstream” band that I fell for, and any time I hear Cary and Jack’s voices, I swear I smell Chestertown and I can’t help but smile.  Emotionally-charged, pretty pop-rock songs.  Cannot wait for this new record!
  • September 4 – Matchbox 20 – North (no preorder yet available)
    First new material in 10 years from a band that was a staple in my life through most of my 20s.  Can you say “excited?”
  • September 4 – Imagine Dragons – Night Visions – (no preorder yet available)
    I.love.this.band.  High-energy, original, and fun as all get out.  But they’re from Vegas, so I guess we should expect that!  Imagine Dragons was all over my Best of 2011 list, and I predicted they were gonna be huge…mark my words…huge!

What new music are you guys and gals looking forward to downloading/buying this summer?