Rock singer continues on Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw's Brothers on the Sun tour.
Potter is on the tour by dint of "You and Tequila," her hit 2011 duet with Chesney. But when she and her band the Nocturnals hit the stage, they stay true to their rock 'n' roll roots. "I think the biggest thing that is surprising to people is how little we've changed our set to accommodate the country crowd," Potter tells Billboard.com. "Really, we just couldn't change it. There's nothing we could do that would make us sound like we belonged there; even if we played our most countrified songs, it would still be clearly be a which-one-is-not-like-the-other situation.
"And, honestly, I love the horrified looks on people's faces. It starts in utter confusion, and by the end of the show we've got fists pumping in the air and hands clapping. So it's been a great experience."
Potter and the Nocturnals will be playing Brothers of the Sun dates until Aug. 25, with some of their own shows in-between. The group will also be part of Zac Brown's Southern Ground Music & Food Festival on Oct. 20-21 in Charleston, S.C., and Potter and company are also gearing up for their second Grand Point North Festival, which takes place Sept. 14-15 in Burlington, Vt., with the Avett Brothers, Galactic, Dr. Dog, the Sam Roberts Band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and others.
"We're super excited this year," Potter says. "Last year was our first annual and set a pretty high bar with Fitz & the Tantrums, Taj Mahal. Kenny Chesney showed up as a surprise. But this year is going to be a big one, too."
Potter and the Nocturnals plan to continue touring in support of their fourth album, "The Lion The Beast The Beat," which came out in June. She'll also be heard on the soundtrack for Tim Burton's upcoming animated film "Frankenweenie" with a song called "My Mechanical Friend," which she recorded with the Flaming Lips.
"I wrote it on an airplane and said 'This is not a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals song,' " Potter recalls.= "Not that the guys wouldn't be able to totally fuck it up and make it crazy, 'cause we're pretty psychedelic, but I listened to the song a couple times and decided it needs something super out-there to set the tone for a Tim Burton movie. And I wanted a man's voice. Wayne (Coyne) had just texted me a funny photo, and I thought, 'That's the guy. I've got to get him to do it. So I sent him my airplane demo, and he and the Flaming Lips put together this great track. It needed to sound like a machine, so they took old radio waves and strange noises, and Steven (Drozd) came up with this amazing, spooky drum part. It's really cool and really different. I can't wait for it to come out."
"Frankenweenie" and its soundtrack are slated for an October release. Potter is also among the artists who recorded songs for "Johnny Cash: Gong By Song," a six-part TV series debuting Oct. 7 on Ovation.