Grace Potter ramps up the rock on new album

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NEW YORK (AP) — Grace Potter's collaboration with Kenny Chesney on "You and Tequila" was so successful that it seemed natural for the rocker to go the country route on her latest album.

But the frontwoman for Grace Potter & The Nocturnals isn't the type to do what people expect; she's more interested in following her heart. That's why the band's latest, "The Lion The Beast The Beat," ramps up the rock quotient considerably from its last self-titled release in 2010 (though she does have some country-flavored tunes on a deluxe version of the record).

"I had an impulse to not go there. I think it was mainly about wanting to make a record that was cohesive, and the songs that I was the most in love with were pretty far from country, so I didn't want to bend over backwards to try and blend the two," said Potter, who worked with the Black Keys Dan Auerbach on the project.

"The Lion The Beast The Beat" is poised to launch Potter even further into the pop stratosphere. Over the past two years, the group has transformed from its more modest jam-band roots into a frenetic rock spectacle, and the statuesque Potter has glammed up her image, making her just as fitting to be in the pages of Vogue as Rolling Stone.

Potter talked about the band's ascent and more in a recent conversation with The Associated Press.

AP: How did the last record's success put pressure on you during the creation of this one?

Potter: I put a lot of pressure on myself, less about how many records to sell or what kind of a big No. 1 hit song is going to be written and more to show as an artist how we evolve, and show how I grow up and kind of come into myself as an artist. ... You can't just stay the same and keep your feet in the cement forever; you have to be able to move on.

AP: Because you have gotten so much attention for your looks, do you worry about that taking away from the music?

Potter: It's something that I don't like seeing, and there's a lot of musicians that walk that line, dangerously, where the fashion overwhelms the music and becomes the spectacle. It's hard for me because I'm so in love with the fluidity of fashion. ... I have seen my own image be used in a way that I fear can occasionally take away from the music, but I can't be mad at it, because it's a part of me.

AP: You're very entertaining on Twitter. Do you feel like you need to have a filter?

Potter: I have a pretty good filter even when I'm tweeting something crazy. I don't drink and tweet, let's just put it that way; it's a dangerous road to go down, and I think people think that we drink more than we actually do (laughs). I'm pretty careful about what I tweet about. ... There are people out there that don't do that, and I feel like that's a mistake. I think it's good to share a bit of yourself, entertain people with these little tidbits but don't give so much of yourself that it defines you, and that you know yourself as that person on Twitter.

AP: I had no idea you were legally blind. Do you wear contacts?

Potter: No, I can't see (laughs). I really like seeing the world a bit blurry, I think it's really helped me as a songwriter and as a creative person. I was born not being able to see very well, so I think it's reflected in my other senses. I have an acute sense of smell, and my taste buds — I have a pretty killer palate. ... The same goes for my ear.

AP: You've been doing festivals for so long, and now you've started your own, the Grand Point North music festival in Burlington, Vt. How did you tailor it given your own festival experiences?

Potter: It's a double-edged sword because sometimes when the fan is having fun, the promoter is losing money, and a lot of times when the promoter is making money, the fans are completely gypped out of a good experience. So, I really wanted to walk that line carefully. ... We keep the festival reasonably small, and respectful to the local community. What prompted me to throw a festival to begin with, it was the fact that Vermont is such an unbelievable place, and it's the place that I grew up. I was born and raised there. ... As a band, we have literally become the people we've become because Vermont nourishes and nurtures people like us.

___

Online:

http://www.gracepotter.com

___

Nekesa Mumbi Moody is the AP's music editor. Follow her at https://www.twitter.com/nekesamumbi

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