It’s been four years since Midnight, Grace Potter’s last solo outing. On that album, Potter all but abandoned her roots-rock foundation in favor of an electronic pop sheen. Underneath, however, was the same melodic and lyrical framework that made her a 21st-century rock-and-roll torchbearer with her band The Nocturnals. In the time between Midnight and her latest, Daylight, Potter went through a divorce and the dissolution of her band. On the plus side, she had a baby with, and got engaged to, record producer Eric Valentine. She co-wrote much of the new album with Mike Busbee. (A co-writer for hits by Maren Morris and P!nk, Busbee unfortunately passed away in September 2019.)
When so many life events take place in such a short amount of time, it’s understandable why someone would want to stop, take a breath, and evaluate their surroundings. It would also be understandable, under such circumstances, to get lost in one’s work. On the contrary, however, Potter makes her life her muse and her work on Daylight. Diving headfirst into her current relationship and the joy and hope that comes with new love (“Every Heartbeat,” “Everyday Love”), as well as coming to grips with what went wrong in the past, Potter admirably doesn’t pass the buck or shift the blame, but acknowledges that relationships take two to work as well as to fail.
Musically, where much of Midnight sounded as if Potter was working hard to prove herself, Daylight reveals that she has nothing left to prove. The performances are confident — even when they’re at their most vulnerable — and intoxicating. You can feel her joy in “Every Heartbeat,” her lust in “Desire,” her pain in “Please” and “Shout It Out,” and her resilience in “Back to Me” and the powerful, closing title track. On Daylight, Potter uses the familiar comforts of her signature hybrid of organic soul/country/blues/rock to bring herself out of the dark and celebrate the present as well as the possibilities of the future; a cathartic and transcendent listening experience.