JAN 25 • 8PMBuy Tickets
Tickets: $109, $89, $79, $69, $30 | Limit 8 tickets per mailing address
DOORS 7PM • SHOWTIME 8PM
Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre • Basie Center Campus • 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank
Back in summer 2021, Grace Potter took off on a solo cross-country road trip that would soon bring a life-saving reconnection with her most unbridled self. Heading out on Route 66 from her home in Topanga Canyon, the Vermont-born artist spent the coming weeks crashing in roadside motels and taking time each night to deliriously transcribe the song ideas she’d dreamed up behind the wheel, often scrawling those notes onto the backs of postcards and motel notepads. After completing two more trips across the U.S. on her own—and partly navigating her way with the help of hand-drawn maps from self-styled historians of Route 66—Potter flew to Nashville for a series of recording sessions that quickly gave way to her most magnificently unfettered collection of songs to date. Equal parts fearlessly raw memoir and carnivalesque fable, the result is a body of work that goes far beyond the typical album experience to deliver something much more all-enveloping: the original motion picture soundtrack to a profoundly transformative moment in Potter’s life, a fantastically twisted odyssey populated by the hitchhikers and outlaws and other lifelong wanderers who roam through the wonderland of her psyche.
The follow-up to Daylight—a 2019 release that earned GRAMMY nominations for Best Rock Album, and Best Rock Performance—Mother Road marks the start of a thrilling new era of a career that’s included turning out seven acclaimed albums, sharing the stage with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, and the Allman Brothers Band, and playing nearly every major music festival (in addition to launching her own festival, Burlington’s Grand Point North). Over the course of its 10 larger-than-life tracks, the album fuses elements of soul, blues, country, and timeless rock-and-roll with masterful abandon, thanks to the vibrant musicianship of Potter and her collaborators: legendary keyboardist Benmont Tench, guitarist Nick Bockrath (Cage The Elephant), bassist Tim Deaux (The Whigs, Kings Of Leon), pedal-steel guitarist Dan Kalisher (Fitz And The Tantrums, Noah Cyrus), Potter’s longtime drummer Matt Musty, and her husband Eric Valentine (a multi-instrumentalist who plays everything from African lute to synth bass on Mother Road). Produced by Valentine (who’s also worked with Queens of the Stone Age, Slash, and Weezer) and recorded at RCA’s famed Studio A, Mother Road fully echoes the ecstatic catharsis of its recording sessions, a process that Potter alternately likens to a tantrum and a haunting. “I didn’t have any real intention of making a record; I just thought I’d get into a room with some friends and mess around with these unfinished ideas I’d been gathering,” she says. “But then an entire album fell out of me, including all the lyrics—the blanks had been filled in, like my subconscious had created finished sentences spoken distinctly from the perspective of all these characters that were living inside me.”
As she reveals, that explosion of creative energy followed a period of emotional crisis for Potter, a turn of events partly triggered by moving back to her hometown with her husband and young son a year into the pandemic. “There was a big piece of my heart that wasn’t ready to go back to Vermont—it all happened about 10 years earlier than I’d expected,” she says. “California had always felt like a new beginning, a place where I was able to step into a community of like-minded weirdos, and through that first winter I started to feel trapped.” After suffering a miscarriage (a particularly brutal medical experience compounded by the fact that she’d unknowingly been carrying twins), Potter began treatment for clinical depression and soon decided to seek the solace and release she’d always found on the road. “I used the rental-car shortage as an excuse to go get our car in Topanga, but the truth is I was going to probably have a full mental breakdown if I didn’t step away from the pressure cooker of judgment, I’d placed on myself and my environment,” she says. “At first, I thought of what I was doing as escapism, and I felt ashamed of that. But eventually I realized I was giving myself permission to do what needed to be done for me to get better.”
Within days of that first road trip, Potter was overcome by memories of past adventures and began piecing together stories set in parallel realities and alternate timelines, each rooted in the unvarnished truth of her emotional experience. “Mother Road is a reframing of my understanding of my history,” she says. “It’s an important and powerful perspective I’d never had until this record, and the heart of it is my journey to self-reliance and a sense of worthiness.”
Even in Mother Road’s most outrageous moments, Potter infuses her songwriting with essential insight into the endless nuances of life and love and belonging. True to the cinematic nature of Mother Road’s storytelling, she’s also immersed herself in creating the album’s elaborate visual components, an undertaking that’s involved expanding her talents as a filmmaker and multimedia artist. “I know now that there’s more depth to my expression, and I feel ready to bring everything into focus under a much larger circus tent than I have in the past,” she notes. And after thousands of miles on the road, countless nights at seedy motels, and a heartrending return home, Potter has made her way to the kind of creative freedom that leaves both artist and audience indelibly altered—a freedom that’s undeniably led to her masterpiece.
Special Guest: Brittney Spencer
As a Baltimore native, Brittney Spencer is known for her free spirit and standout ability to mold life, truth, and wild imagination into songs. She has earned praise by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and others, and she’s appeared on CBS Mornings with Anthony Mason, as well as performed on NBC’s Today Show, The Late Show (After Dark), the CMA Awards, ACM Awards and more. Spencer was featured as part of Victoria’s Secret Global “UNDEFINABLE” campaign, and she appeared in Amazon’s “For Love & Country” Documentary. Deemed a “one to watch” by PEOPLE Magazine, Spencer has shared stages with Jason Isbell, The Highwomen, Willie Nelson, Reba, Bobby Weir, and Maren Morris to name a few.
Presented by Count Basie Center for the Arts
Please note: At the direction of the CDC or local health authorities, the Count Basie Center may at any time institute policies pertaining to COVID-19 transmission, including but not limited to mask requirements. Certain artists and / or touring productions may also require patrons to be masked and / or present proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Masks are not required to attend performances at Count Basie Center venues, though we welcome their use and respect all patrons who choose to continue doing so.