Above: The Nocturnals at Bonnaroo 2009. Photo by Adrien Broom
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will release a new studio album this spring. The album, a collaboration with songwriter/producer Mark Batson, is the first to feature the Nocturnals’ current lineup. It is unclear what happened to an earlier series of recording sessions the band did with producer T-Bone Burnett. Batson is best known in the hip-hip/R&B world for his work with Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys. He branched out in 2005 to work with Dave Matthews Band on Stand Up.
After being introduced by a mutual friend, Potter and Batson co-wrote a series of songs in early in 2009.
“I liked the idea of writing with someone who was totally not from my own world,” Potter said in a statement. ““Mark was the first person outside of my band that I’d ever attempted to co write with, and I was excited. We ended up writing one song after another – it was like we could read each other’s minds. He would build drum tracks, basslines and piano chords, and I would write the words and vocal melodies over the top. It was a natural progression, totally organic and magical. I knew he also produced, and after we played Bonnaroo we went into the studio with him for a week to see if we could bring that magic to the band as a whole. When we started laying down tracks, it felt like something really special was happening, and Mark was capturing it. Inside of a week, we had five strong tracks.”
The band entered Los Angeles’ Westlake Studios with Batson in early September. The group recorded a dozen tracks in 17 weeks, bringing her new song total to 17. The group is currently mixing the album and deciding which songs to include, though the Obama-inspired “Colors,” the new “Oasis,” “Tiny Light” and the first Batson/Potter collaboration “Medicine” will all make the cut.