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Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

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Potter and her band hail from Vermont, a state with a musically Phishy image, and Nothing but the Water, the title of the Nocturnals' first CD, does nothing to dispel this reputation. But if some of the picking and playing showcased on the album draws from the same well Trey Anastasio drank from long before he became associated with designer ice cream, the disc as a whole doesn't truly fit into the jam-band category -- and Potter is the reason. She's in her early twenties, but her exuberant yet evocative voice has a striking authenticity whether she's getting sassy, as in "Toothbrush and My Table," or embracing the melancholy mood of "All But One." Thus far, she hasn't nailed down her own style, which is why most of her notices name-check a predictable list of bluesy female crooners who've come before her; you know their names. Still, she's got plenty of years ahead of her, and by the time she's done, Potter, who'll share the Bluebird stage with Steel Train, may well help redefine a Vermont state of mind.

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