Grace Potter & the Nocturnals playing Mandalay Bay Beach

It was after being busted for drinking champagne in a parking lot outside of prom when she was 15 years old that Grace Potter came to realize that she might have a career in music.

After her arrest, Potter was sent to Diversion, a program where juveniles perform community service in her native Vermont.

Potter had previously recorded a demo of a song that she had written, “Hit the Ground,” to help her in the college application process, thinking that her musical prowess might compensate for her so-so grades.

Potter took the recording and passed it off to the Diversion officials as something she had done as an apology for her drinking.

“I played it for them,” Potter recalls, “and I looked at all their faces. All of a sudden, it went from this kind of mean, discerning group of people who were judging me as this sort of juvenile delinquent to realizing that they were listening to something kind of special that I had gone out and taken the initiative to record — albeit, it wasn’t actually for the Diversion program.

“That’s how I got out of my first really bad brush with the law,” she continues with a laugh. “So I thought to myself, ‘If music can get me out of being arrested, then maybe I should pursue it.’ ”

More laughter ensues.

Potter’s an easy-going presence, a natural entertainer, even in conversation, so much so that before she was even in kindergarten, she says that she was rewriting the pop songs of her youth.

“I remember singing along to, like, Toto’s ‘Africa’ or Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’ or something like that, thinking that I knew a better lyric, I knew a better way that they should have done it,” Potter chuckles.

Music came so easily to her, in fact, that she initially questioned whether or not she could really make a living at it.

“I just thought that a career should be hard, that whatever you do for your career, you have to study it, you have to learn it, it can’t just be something that you’re already good at,” she says. “I really kind of tortured myself through film school and art classes and theater classes and all these different manifestations of performance, thinking that that’s the way a job is supposed to be.”

Eventually, though, Potter would meet up with drummer Matt Burr and guitarist Scott Tournet while still in college and they’d form Grace Potter & the Nocturnals in 2002 (the band’s current lineup is rounded out by guitarist Benny Yurco and bassist Michael Libramento).

After years of near incessant gigging, the group broke through commercially on their self-titled third record, released in 2010, which cracked the top 20 of the Billboard album chart and broadened the audience for their rootsy, homespun rock ’n’ roll.

Their sound is driven in large part by Potter’s powerhouse singing, which sometimes sounds as if she’s expelling a windstorm from her lungs.

That record set the stage for the band’s latest disc, “The Lion the Beast the Beat,” their most adventurous, uninhibited album.

From one song to the next, the record is akin to rapidly switching through different channels on the radio dial, a little arena rock bombast here, a touch of earthy country balladry there, instantly hummable hooks just about everywhere.

“You can’t define yourself by one thing, right?” Potter says. “I actually said at the beginning of the record that I wanted it to play like a mixtape that I would have made for a friend in, like, 1992. I’d think about all my parents’ records and all the pieces of music that have influenced me and the band over the years, and it really is a mixtape. It isn’t just one thing.”

Still, for a record with such an intuitive feel to it, “The Lion” was a struggle to complete.

“I had a bad bout of self-doubt in the middle of the record and actually pulled the plug on the whole project,” Potter says. “I had a little bit of a freakout. I sent everybody home. I had to dig back into what we were really trying to do in the studio. There were a lot of questions in my head about what direction to go in knowing that we were going to be touring on this record for probably a year and a half. It’s a very scary place to put yourself if you don’t think that you’re going to love every song.”

What eventually enabled Potter to regain her confidence in the album was “The Divide,” a stirring, dramatic, symphonic rocker that closes the record.

When Potter was feeling her most bottled up creatively, she hopped in her car and just drove and drove for days on end, eventually finding peace within herself and penning the song in question.

“I drove a lonely distance,” she sings, “ ’Til the road turned to fire.”

And she hasn’t stopped stoking those flames.

“We are a touring band,” Potter says of the group’s constant road work. “We’ve never pretended to be a studio band. We’re not exactly Steely Dan.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@
reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like