Firebrand blues, roots, rock, and soul vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Grace Potter has endured her fair share of life changes since the release of her sophomore solo outing Midnight. Forged in the crucible of divorce (from Nocturnals bandmate Matt Burr), marriage (to Midnight and Daylight producer Eric Valentine), and motherhood (she gave birth to a baby boy in 2018), the 11-track feels hard-won but remarkably sanguine. It helps that Potter and Valentine have dialed back some of the slick AOR pop sheen that made Midnight so divisive. Personal upheaval can often have a grounding effect, and Daylight sees Potter attempting to recover some of the bar-band swagger that marked her work with the Nocturnals while keeping an eye on the pop charts. The saucy "Love Is Love" sets a warm, tube-driven tone, framing Potter's smoky croon against a slow-burning, Stax-inspired groove. The fiery "On My Way" follows suit, but cranks up the tempo with a thumping "Jumping Jack Flash" back beat. Both tracks are fine, but Potter cracks the code on the mid-album stunner "Release," which ditches the bells and whistles in favor of a simple piano and vocal arrangement that plays to all of her strengths. Four of the songs feature backing vocals from Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, both from Brooklyn-bred indie pop quartet Lucius, and they add some sweet, gospel-ish textures to soulful workouts like "Back to Me" and "Desire," but Daylight works best when Potter is steering the ship. Even with the considerable and seasoned talents of Valentine, Nocturnals alum Benny Yurco, and keyboardists Larry Goldings and Benmont Tench behind her, Potter commands the room.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger