Grace Potter stopped the bus on a breezy Maine July Saturday evening.  Lawn chairs set in the green behind the dance area, bleachers arranged on one side of the stage, and people were everywhere. Everywhere!  The dance party area was standing room only as part of the L. L. Bean Summer Concert Series.

There was palpable anticipation as the crowd waited for the amazingly energetic and talented musician Grace Potter to start her performance. Folks craned their necks as the band entered the stage and greeted Grace enthusiastically as she came into view.

Grace opened the show with her song Hot to the Touch, from her recently released high energy album, Midnight. Following this song she performed Ah, Mary, Empty Heart and Your Girl. In fact she performed many songs from her Midnight album, all very good! Kids sat on their parents shoulders, lovers held hands, folks swayed with the tunes. Really, although space was tight, it was hard not to move with the music!

Grace’s voice and style is reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Raitt, as the range of musical styles she embodies are varied. She is truly a talented musician!  If edgy music that rocks a good base line gets you in the gut, then Potter’s songs Instigators, Paris (Ooh La La) and The Lion The Beast The Beat will be enjoyable for you.

If you are drawn to bluesy sounds you will appreciate  Let You Go, Treat Me Right, Stop the Bus, Your Girl and The Miner. Or, if uplifting and inspiring lyrics are your thing, then you will love Alive Tonight and Look What We’ve Become, both from the Midnight album.

We screamed our bloody lungs out and ran straight for the sun
they always told us we would be nothin’
but look what we’ve become.”

Wordplay in songs with a catchy refrain might be your titillation, and if so, you will love Potter’s song Delirious. Watch out, though. This song could get stuck in your head and you might hear yourself singing, “Another day turns into night, turns into day, turns into delirious.”  Here, reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Grace showcases her unbelievable vocal range! Check out the ending of the song and you will hear what I mean.

Add Empty Heart to the mix, and face it. You will be hopelessly codependent with Potter’s music!  But in a good way! You will never want her to leave your personal space again! 🙂

So, can a person pick a favorite or two from the rolls of Grace Potter’s many amazing songs? Well, that surely is a tough call. For me, I love the acoustic sound and mood of Stars,  from Potter’s album with the Nocturnals, The Lion, The Beast, The Beat. Literally, a perfect tune for an evening outside under the stars in the space of the outdoors.

Her soulful song, Let You Go, highlights Potter’s amazingly effortless pitch-perfect hit of super high notes. Additionally, I love the incredible energy of Turntable with the catchy repeating electric guitar bass line.  The Lion The Beast The Beat is just downright awesome rock with a pounding bass line!  How many songs is that?  I think I am over the limit of two . . . 🙂

As the performance progressed, the sun sank lower on the horizon, and the colors of the sunset matched Potter’s dress, sewn by her own hands.  Ironically, Grace even noted that the sunset matched her dress, which she said does not happen very often.  Potter casually commented that she should turn the stage to face the sunset as she performed!  Now that would be a feat for sure!

Grace was born in and lives in Vermont, which is close to my heart, and did I mention that she can sew?  During the concert Grace said that she thinks of Maine and Vermont as sisters.  I was tickled to hear her say this, because I feel the same way!  During this politically divisive time, her words seemed so poignant, “It is music that brings us all together.” So true!  Stop the bus and start singing!  We were all there to celebrate Grace Potter!

In 2010 Lake Champlain Chocolates, based in Burlington, Vermont, created a chocolate bar in honor of Potter called Grace Under Fire. Ingredients? Dark chocolate, pistachios, and red pepper flakes!

On a recent trip to Vermont we stopped at Lake Champlain Chocolates to learn more about Grace’s chocolate bar. Inside the bustling factory, full to the gills with people perusing and purchasing chocolate, the variety and quality of the chocolate made there was a chocolate-lovers paradise!

Sadly, though, we could not locate the Grace Under Fire bar. We spoke with the counter attendants, who let us know that the bar had been discontinued and the last chocolate standing had been sold the previous week!  Almost!

Well, a six-year chocolate run is nothing to sneeze at. We took the recommendation to try the Aztec Bar, which is supposed to taste something like the Grace Under Fire Bar. It had a peppery taste and the chocolate was very creamy like the other varieties of chocolates sold at the store.

If you are interested in hearing some of Grace’s music and a live interview with her, you can check out Portland Radio Station WCLZ’s Studio Z, where a live performance occurred. Grace sang her songs Empty Heart, Paris, and The Miner.

Awesome, awesome performances, Grace Potter! If you missed her concert but want to see her live, check out the concert dates on her web site. She will be in Burlington, Vermont on September 17 and 18, coming up soon!

Listen to any of her songs and you might, just maybe, find yourself transported into the zone where time stands still and music feels raw for those inspiring few moments!