Described by Spin as “one of the greatest living voices in rock today,” Grace Potter has not only played every major music festival from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo and Rock in Rio, she’s created her own thriving music festival, Burlington, VT’s Grand Point North. Additionally, she’s shared a stage with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, the Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples, and The Roots to name just a few. A three-time GRAMMY-nominated artist (two for 2019’s Daylight, one for her multiplatinum duet with Kenny Chesney, “You & Tequila”), Potter has also collaborated with the Flaming Lips for a Tim Burton film, and written and produced music for film and TV, including Disney’s animated feature Tangled and the ABC animated holiday special Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice.
In October 2019, Grace released Daylight, her second solo LP and first for Fantasy Records. Daylight arrives after a turbulent, life-altering 4-year hiatus from music that had the acclaimed singer-songwriter contemplating whether she would ever record another album. Cathartic and emotionally raw, Daylight is the result of that arduous journey, the most emotionally revealing, musically daring work of her career.
“I’ve always aimed to write songs from a universal perspective; so that anyone who heard my music could relate, but that actually made it harder for me to take ownership of my own perspective. These songs were written so I could process – and be accountable for – my own life experience,” Potter says. “I had just pulled the ripcord on my whole life. It was an incredibly jarring, private experience. When the dust settled a bit, the last thing I wanted to do was tell the whole world about it through song. It was a very gradual process of re-framing music and its purpose in my life. So, when I finally started writing songs again – it had to be for myself and myself alone.”
Produced by her husband Eric Valentine, Daylight took shape in the Topanga Canyon home they’d recently settled into. Unsigned and entirely free of any pressure to appease, Potter slowly carved out ideas and the two began laying down tracks. Moving to Valentine’s Hollywood studio, Barefoot Recording, the songs came to life with the help of longtime Potter collaborators including guitarist Benny Yurco and drummer Matt Musty, friends Benmont Tench and Larry Goldings on keys, and supreme vocalists, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the indie band Lucius.
Photo by Michael Weintrob
With Support from Great Peacock
Forever Worse Better, the third full-length release from Great Peacock, is an anthemic soundtrack for a life spent on the move, chasing down brighter horizons somewhere between the blur of truck stops and traffic lights. This is the band’s defining album: a record about the three-way intersection between drive, desperation, and determination, rooted in the epic sweep of heartland rock, the harmonized melodies of amplified Americana, and the hooks of guitar-driven pop music. From the swirling keyboards that kickstart “All I Ever Do” to the gospel-like fervor that fills the album’s closing statement of self-worth, “Learning to Say Goodbye,” Forever Worse Better boldly aims for the same sonic territory occupied by the masters of atmospheric rock & roll. Seminal albums like Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, U2’s The Joshua Tree, and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe are all evoked, as is the gritty grandeur of Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps and the modern rumble of The War on Drugs. The result is an album that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve, yet still sports a sound that’s unmistakably Great Peacock’s own.
While the album’s guest list is admittedly impressive — with everyone from American Aquarium’s former pedal-steel guitarist, Adam Kurtz, to Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit’s lead guitarist, Sadler Vaden, lending their help — most of Forever Worse Better was handled in-house, a move that showcases the strength of a band whose members have not only crystallized their sound, but sharpened their own abilities, too.
Forever Worse Better is a soundtrack for those of us who, like them, are on the road to somewhere better, the windows down, the radio cranked high, songs moving through our head at highway speed.