PITTSFIELD -- It's been 10 years since Grace Potter and The Nocturnals became a band.
Unless you talk to Grace Potter.
"Yeah, I actually count it as 10 years and a couple months," she said. "That's how long it took [drummer] Matty [Burr] to finally convince me to do this."
Potter and her band will be performing on Monday night at Tanglewood. It is the band's first Tanglewood show, and Potter admits to being more than a little excited.
"This is huge for us," said the Vermont-born Potter. "This is in our backyard. Our families will be there, and a lot of our friends. They're all very excited to see us play there.
"There's a sense of accomplishment for us in playing Tanglewood," Potter said of the gig. "We played Club Helsinki when it was in Great Barrington a ton of times, so playing at Tanglewood is so amazing for us to think about."
Potter and the band, including Burr, guitarists Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco and bassist Michael Libramento, are touring in support of their latest album, "The Lion, The Beast and The Beat," which is already the highest charting rock album (17th) the band has yet produced.
"We just spent about two weeks resting up and gathering our strength, and we'll be out [on the road] until about October," said Potter.
But the story begins when Burr and Potter were both students at St. Lawrence University in 2002, and Burr was attempting to get Potter to join the band.
"At the time, I was playing a piano in a cabaret," Potter said. "And I had played live with a band just once before. It was at a release party for my first solo CD. And putting it together, it was just so much work to organize, I thought, ‘I
don't want to do this on a regular basis!' I really just saw it as splitting up the tip jar too many ways."
But Burr, she said, "saw the potential. I really didn't get it for a long time."
But Potter said she recalled a specific moment in time when she did "get it" and began to share Burr's vision.
It was at a showing of ‘The Last Waltz," the haunting, emotional documentary of the final concert of the original lineup of The Band.
"The first time I saw ‘The Last Waltz' there was an instantaneous revelation for me," she said. "Matt brought me to his bachelor pad, and there were a bunch of guys sitting around. And we watched it and I realized what a band could be. And what collaboration could mean, and camaraderie, and sharing. It really was revelatory."
Potter said she understood what it would mean to be onstage with skilled professionals. In fact, she envisioned herself onstage, performing with The Band.
"Yes," she said with a laugh. "I was Van Morrison. I was singing ‘Caravan' and dancing around. That's when I got it."
The rest is history. The Nocturnals have become a huge critical and popular success, with a total of seven albums under their collective belts, as well as nine singles. The latest, "Stars," from "Lion," is already 13th on the U.S. charts and still moving up.
And eventually, Potter and her band did get to perform with Levon Helm, former drummer with The Band, at one of Helm's "Midnight Rambles," at Helm's barn in Woodstock, N.Y. Helm, who died in 2012, organized weekly jam sessions that featured a different artist or group every Saturday night. The sessions would take place in Helm's barn.
"We were fortunate enough to play at two of the Rambles," Potter said. "And it was transformative. Levon was a singular soul and it was great playing with him."