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Potter Rocks the Ryman all the Way Down the 'Mother Road'

A real rock and roll show broke out at the Ryman Auditorium the other day. And we were lucky to be there with pretty good seats.

Grace Potter may have gotten her first big break singing with Kenny Chesney on “You and Tequila” in 2011, but her musical style has more in common with the big 70s blues jams than Top 40 country.

And her mixture of showmanship, authenticity, and ripping guitar riffs had the Ryman crowd on its feet for most of the show.

The theme was “Mother Road”, the name of her excellent new album and the overall vibe of a woman at mid-life who has seen a lot and is still happily searching. The backstory of the album is that she found herself in a Covid funk after relocating to her native Vermont with her family during the shutdown. An old-fashioned western road trip got the creative juices flowing, and the album was the result.


“Down mother road

Once again I turn to you

Cause you know how I feel, mama

You've been run over too

Can I lean on your shoulder?

'Til my feet find the ground, yeah

Wherever I'm headed

Mama, don't let it be down”


That’s from the title track of the new album, which she featured heavily. Early in the show she acknowledged that her songs and style may be a bit spicy for the Mother Church of Country Music. I wonder if this is why she didn’t play “Masterpiece,” which is a great culmination to the new album, and which pulls no punches when recalling youthful bad behavior. She also didn’t play “All My Ghosts,” another racy youth confessional which I would have liked to hear. Those were the only complaints, though.


Potter began the show in a fringe leather jacket, which she replaced with various other glittery fashion choices as the show progressed. But she did it all with a wink and a smile, leading to a moment about half way through the two-plus hour set when she sat down on the drum riser and took off her high-heeled go-go boots, performing the rest of the evening in an unlikely combination of a sparkly checkerboard mini-skirt and two layers of ski socks.

The highlight of the show for us was a rocking new song called "Ready, Set, Go" - played mid-way through the set but destined, in our opinion, to become encore material. The last few lines sum up the sentiment of the song, and "Mother Road" album overall:

"As I wind down my proclamation

I can promise you my friend

There's magic hiding everywhere if you just let it in (ready, set, go)

There's a moral to my madness in this story here, I guess

Is that there's nothing wrong with saying "no" but

Try a little bit of "yes""




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