Grace Potter, a Vermont organist-guitarist and singer, showed up on the indie scene five years ago with a rock quartet and the usual stuff: a strong appreciation for the music of a generation that was not her own. In this case it was the ’70s, and she wanted to play that music again for a newer, younger audience. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals would eventually do a tour of the ’70s, beginning with the recording of folksy rockers and ballads taken right out of some hippie ranch in the pines and arriving, three albums later, at the gritty roots rock that was replacing beer blues by the end of that decade. I wondered if This Is Somewhere was Potter’s answer to Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. By 2007, the Nocturnals were electrified — like Crazy Horse, but like a Crazy Horse that had been let out of the barn.
The word is that Grace is legally blind and can’t see more than 15 feet in front of her. Things stay sharp up to that point and then just blur out, but she told a reporter that she won’t wear glasses. She says she likes the world at the periphery of her vision to be a smear of color and movement.
I liken Grace to Bonnie Raitt, the difference being that Raitt, with three times the experience, knows how to flog your heart with fewer notes and less effort. Grace Potter sends in her emotions on the back of hand grenades. She rocks hard, plays as though she means it, sweats bullets, and is more than up to the task of reviving that ’70s love.
Brett Dennen also performs.
GRACE POTTER & THE NOCTURNALS: House of Blues, Thursday, December 10, 7 p.m. 619-299-2583. $20.