Grace Potter & the Nocturnals release a powerful new album
New CD releases the week of Tuesday, June 12, include a powerful album by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, "The Lion. The Beast. The Beat."; Usher's "Looking 4 Myself"; "Ashes & Roses," by Mary Chapin Carpenter; and Pat Metheny's "Unity Band."
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, 'The Lion. The Beast. The Beat.' (Hollywood Records)
Love takes many turns — and downturns — on Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' powerful new album, "The Lion. The Beast. The Beat."
"Parachute Heart" is a beautiful, bittersweet song with soaring vocals and a powerful refrain: "We had a sky dive love affair doomed from the very start."
Much heavier, and sadder, is "Stars," dealing with the death of a lover: "I lit a fire with the love you left behind." The ballad's piano and acoustic guitar provide the perfect backdrop for Potter's tender vocals.
Potter halted the recording project midway after an apparent case of writer's block. A soul-searching road trip put her songwriting back on track, resulting in a compelling collection of straightforward rock 'n' roll songs about the duality of human nature.
Potter collaborated with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys on two songs: "Loneliest Soul" and the album's first single, the bluesy "Never Go Back." Jim Scott, who has worked with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Wilco, was the producer.
A deluxe version of the album features an alternate version of "Stars" featuring Kenny Chesney, as well as a Potter duet with Willie Nelson of the group's 2005 song, "Ragged Company."
Gene Stout, Special to The Seattle Times
Other new releases
Usher, "Looking 4 Myself" (RCA)
Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Ashes & Roses" (Zoe)
Pat Metheny, "Unity Band" (Nonesuch)
Note: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals perform July 18 at the Woodland Park Zoo.