6:10 AM and Grace Potter

Honestly, the two things have nothing to do with one another.

I woke up at 3 AM and can’t fall back to sleep. It’s 6:10 AM and pitch black outside. Summer is coming to an end and I hate it.

So what does one do when one can’t sleep? Clean out the email inbox that has been stacking up for months with promotional junk. Buy tickets to a few upcoming shows. And listen to the new Grace Potter song on repeat.

Have you heard it yet? If not, you’re missing out. Just watch.

Grace has been on a promotional tour this week to talk about her upcoming new record, Daylight. Read this. And watch this. She was thinking about no longer making music.

That actually makes my heart hurt.

The first time I saw Grace, I was coerced into it. I was visiting at home in NJ and Will Hoge happened to be playing this festival. My friend Pete was going and bribed me with access to a “members only” area where you could meet and greet with the artists.Pete said he’d get me into the meet and greet area, but that I had to stay the rest of the day to see Grace Potter play. I had no idea who she was, and I REALLY wasn’t interested. But I I REALLY wanted to say hi to Will. So I agreed.

And she FLOORED me.

I became Grace-obsessed. Her album, This is Somewhere, came out like a month later, and I played it for everyone and anyone who would listen. She came to Charlotte and played the Visulite to maybe 100 people, and I was a complete fan girl, front row, staring up at her and taking pictures on an actual camera.

A friend and I drove to Greenville once to see her. Grace came out on stage and looked like and angel, wearing this white dress and these chunky sandals with heels. And she said something like she’d been on a bus all day and hadn’t showered and she just needed to put-on a dress to feel like a girl. My friend and I belted out songs at the top our lungs that night…I was so happy.

Almost three years to the day after I first saw her, on the day my Mom told me she had cancer, I drove to Isle of Palms to see Grace play at The Windjammer. It was July. I remember being in that venue and dripping with sweat – July humidity in coastal South Carolina is no joke – and being so emotional about Mom, feeling every note that Grace sang. That night will live with me forever.

There are probably a dozen more Grace memories I could write about…For 12 years now, that woman’s music has been part of the soundtrack of my life.

I cannot imagine my world without her music.

Thanks for coming back, Grace. It’s so good to hear you sing.

 

The 2015 Spring Mix (Otherwise Known As I’m Ashamed of Myself)

Has it seriously been more than four months since I made a blog post? A third of a year? Yes. I’m ashamed of myself… I’m busy as hell with the new job (did I mention I got a promotion?), but that’s no excuse for going MONTHS without posting.

Ugh. I’m tired. you guys. I need some down time.

The good news is, I have a new Mix for you. It’s longer than usual…since I have gone all digital, I decided to hell with length, and just did whatever felt right. This feels right. 27 songs – 3 of which are not available on Spotify (but you can probably find a bonus if you look hard enough). You can get the liner notes here. The best notes I’ve written in awhile, I think – because I didn’t have to limit myself to two pages!

So have a listen. Do me a favor and follow the playlist on Spotify. Trying to figure out how many listeners I’ve lost since going to Spotify. And as always, let me know what you think – what your favorites are, what you don’t like, etc. That’s my favorite part.

As always, please support these artists. I’ve included links to their web pages in my notes. Buy their music. Go see a live show. Buy some merch. Invest in vinyl. You know the drill.

Smooches. Love you all.

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

Grace Potter + Daytrotter: More Than An Awesome Rhyme

Image ©Daytrotter.

Image ©Daytrotter.

If you know me AT all, you know that I have a ginormous girl crush on Grace Potter.  If you don’t know me … well, now you know.  I’ve never wanted to be someone else in my whole life, but I would trade shoes with Grace Potter for a day in a heartbeat (seriously, I would, the woman has killer shoes).

Anyhow, the fine folks over at Daytrotter recently recorded a 8-song session with her and it is absolutely SICK.  I’m not even sure you can call it 8 songs, since one of them is 12 minutes long.  That particular piece of solid Grace gold could be called “how to get from a mooning love song to a sex anthem in five deft moves” as she transitions from “Stars” all the way to “Paris”  and makes it sound like it was MEANT TO BE THAT WAY.

Daytrotter has a knack for recording these artists in their naked, stripped down beauty, which is, I guess, the point of Daytrotter.  In Grace’s case, it just showcases how truly amazing her voice actually is.  That girl is a vocal powerhouse and listening to her reminds me of just how incredible music can be.

The highlight of the session for me is “Belladonna,” which Grace pulled out of the Nocturnals archives.  It’s gorgeous.  There are a few other non-album song appearances, including “Mystery Train” and “Cinnamon Girl.”

[If you’re a member at Daytrotter, you can download the session for free.  If you’re not a member, you really should consider joining.  For just $24 a year, you can access literally thousands of unique, intimate recorded sessions with some incredible up and coming and established artists. ]

More Grace Potter & The Nocturnals:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

More Daytrotter: Website

The Sunday Funday Playlist – September 25, 2011

Man, rough week.  Coming back from two days off of work sounds like it would be easy, but the work week beat me up this week.  Hoping that the coming week will be better.  Least I’ve got some fresh new tunes to get me through it.   Maybe they’ll power you through this week!

1. Call Up Dad – Damon Smith & The Quality Lightweights
Frickin’ A, Australia.  Can you please stop putting out so much great music?  Balcony TV strikes again; described by the hostess as a “local band,” I was intrigued by their look and OH.MY.GOD.  Instant love. This is alt-country at it’s absolute finest. I’m entranced. Kinda remind me a little of Jakob Dylan…if Jakob went really, really dark.  Their album, I Thought I’d Be Someone By Now, is a little pricey by U.S. standards – $16 – but you can pick up a few choice tracks individually at their Bandcamp page.


2. Reaction – Acres of Lions

Gotta thank my Twitter music buddy RingosMyUncle for cluing me in to this great little rock band from north o’ the border in British Columbia.  This catchy little ditty, complete with whoa-ohs, pops and snaps, is enough to keep me dancing around the room even during a gloomy rainy day like it was on Friday. I’ve only downloaded a handful of their other songs, but I promise you, when my budget allows, I’m going back and picking up their whole Collections album that came out two weeks ago.

3. The Reckoning – Needtobreathe

If you’re not on the Needtobreathe boat yet…well, I just don’t know what to say to ya.  The boys from Possum Kingdom released their new record, The Reckoning, this week and it is just chock full of rock n’ roll goodness.  While “Devil’s Been Talkin'” is probably my favorite track on the album, the title track was probably the biggest surprise for me.  Diggin’ on it big time.  Pick up the new album here.

4. Big Bright Sun – Will Dailey & The Rivals

Appropriate for the first week of fall, I think, to put a song with “Sun” in the title on The Sunday Funday Playlist, no?  One of Boston’s favorite sons, Will Dailey & The Rivals released their new record this week, as well.  Will is one of those songwriters of whom I can never get enough.  He’s a very smart lyricist and he writes the catchiest songs. This song is tied for my favorite track off the new record – there’s clapping, does it really surprise anyone?  It’s a great song about reminding yourself of how great you can be when you believe in yourself…and I kinda need those positive thoughts in my world right now. “Kindness” is my other favorite.  Pick it up on Amazon or iTunes.

5.  Fly Me to the Moon – Grace Potter
The classic song “Fly Me to the Moon” has been recorded by so many amazing artists it’s kind of ridiculous.  Originally written in 1954 by Bart Howard, it’s been sung by classic crooners like Neil Sedaka, Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra (who, in my opinion, has the bestest version).  Well, step aside gang. My girl-crush Grace Potter has covered the song for new Pan Am TV show.  Are you kidding me??? My girl makes this song even better!  OH MY!  Pick it up on iTunes and watch the Pan Am promo here!