Grace Potter and the Nocturnals is an American rock ensemble from Waitsfield, Vermont. The group’s lead singer is multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter, who attended St. Lawrence University for two years before pursuing music professionally. She plays Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer Electric Piano and electric and acoustic guitars. The other members of the ensemble are Scott Tournet, on guitars (which included slide guitar) and harmonica, drummer Matthew Burr, Catherine Popper on bass guitar and vocals, and Benny Yurco on electric and vocals. Bryan Dondero played bass guitar, upright bass, and mandolin with the group until his departure in early 2009.
The group was formed in late 2002 when Burr saw Potter playing folk songs in a student-run venue called “The Java Barn” on the St. Lawrence campus. Burr approached Potter about starting a band, citing James Brown and The ensemble as musical influences he heard in Potter’s voice and original songs. In the spring semester of 2003, Burr invited guitarist Tournet to become a part of the group, cementing the founding members of the band that would become Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.