October 21, 2019 Grace Potter – Daylight (Album Review)
Vermont siren Grace Potter is set to release Daylight on Friday October 25th via Fantasy Records. Marking her third overall solo album, it is the second since the dissolution of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, her primary vehicle for almost a decade.
Back when the Nocturnals were still an idea between her and Drummer Matt Burr, Potter released her first solo record, Original Soul, in 2004, but the band came together soon thereafter. The next several records were recorded under the larger name, starting with 2004’s Nothing But the Water, followed by 2007’s This is Somewhere and the eponymous 2010 effort, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
A long road traveled for Potter, the new record also includes input from Co-Writer Mike Busbee, as well as Nocturnals alumnus Benny Yurco, Lucius Vocalists Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, and Keyboardists Larry Goldings and Benmont Tench, the latter of whom was a founding member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Additionally, Producer Eric Valentine, who previously handled 2015’s Midnight, returns here – he and Potter also married in the meantime, and the couple now have a son.
Amidst the life and lineup changes, an album emerged, one that begins, quite literally, with “Love Is Love,” the first track Potter wrote going into he album and the first single released from the final product. The corresponding video shows Potter alone, pouring her heart for all to hear and see. A brash, raw opener, it wastes no time scattering emotions across the face of the table, and both the technique and the honesty is revisited later within “Shout It Out.”
Indeed, “On My Way” is a nice vocal-heavy track driven by a rough guitar riff, one Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones would be proud to claim. It takes a little vacation in the middle, before roaring back refreshed and full of vigor, almost a tripe back to their original Nocturnals sound. “Back to Me” continues into ’70s Rock, and though it features input from nearly every guest, the presence of Potter is almost louder in spite of them, rather than sounding drowned or obscured, or fighting for space.
Later, “Every Heartbeat” starts as an acoustic guitar piece that slowly grows to a backing band. “Release” delivers a stripped, tender ballad, one with just Potter and a backing piano making her case for forgiveness and growth, while “Repossession” has a subtle nod to Patsy Cline, and Potter stands mostly alone here, with Lucius adding a few vocal harmonies toward the latter half of the track; they return in full force on the next outing, “Desire.”
The title track stands out a bit, in that it comes after the soft, perfect closing of “Please,” which helps the album drift off into a proper ending. Instead, “Daylight” announces its presence with a loud instrumental cacophony and one last story from Potter. If this were not the title-track, it would almost smack of a “bonus track” tacked onto an existing release. The album also dips its toes into various pools; tracks like “Shout It Out,” “On My Way,” and “Desire” are swift and upbeat, with instances of Potter reaching her familiar high vocal prowess, whereas solemn fare like “Release” grounds the album with serious tones and higher purpose. Spread amongst these paths are tracks like “Please” and “Love Is Love” which stand in both camps.
In the end the result is a strong resurgence after the personal and professional turmoil that surrounded the last Nocturnals album and the previous solo effort from Potter. Having once considered quitting music entirely, Daylight is a fine return to the existing strengths of Grace Potter as well as an outstanding approach to new challenges. Which is why Cryptic Rock is pleased to give this album 4 out of 5 stars.