For years, Americana singer Grace Potter has been asked whether she would make music to match her sparkly mini-dresses by going full pop a la Katy Perry. She came closer than ever on 2012’s The Lion the Beast the Beat with longtime backing band The Nocturnals, and on solo debut Midnight, she works with producer Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth) to blow out her sound even more.
Willie Nelson, Grace Potter Join Southern Ground Music & Food Festival
But Potter doesn’t totally ditch her blues-rock ways: Amid synth-y disco dalliances (“Alive Tonight”) and soul-funk workouts (“Your Girl”), she leaves room for snarling riffs on “Look What We’ve Become” and acoustic boom on “Empty Heart,” reminiscent of Sheryl Crow‘s “Leaving Las Vegas.” Whether Potter’s hedging her bets or simply too Bonnie Raitt for a Britney reboot, this beat-heavy hodgepodge may not win enough new fans to replace old ones wary of the dancefloor.
Listen to music from Grace Potter, and more artists from this issue, in the Spotify playlist below:
This story originally appeared in the Aug. 29 issue of Billboard.