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Band Notes: Q&A with Grace Potter

Ahead of her concert at Wolf Trap, she talks about avoiding band fatigue, being featured on a movie soundtrack, and more.

Photograph courtesy of Wolf Trap.

A Grace Potter and the Nocturnals concert is
memorable thanks equally to their rootsy rock tunes and the seemingly
indefatigable energy of Potter, its charismatic frontwoman.
We talked with Potter, whose band comes to Wolf
Trap August 15.

How did the Nocturnals end up with a song on the
Lone Ranger soundtrack?

Disney called me, and I love
[director] Gore Verbinski’s work—and of course my boy, Johnny Depp. That
experience has happened before, trying to create for a movie
soundtrack—for Tangled, we had an original song. The Lone
was different because they wanted that old, dusty railroad
sound and we’re relatively electrified. I wrote six songs for the movie,
but the one that wound up on there was a Roy Acuff song called “Devil’s

It seems like you’re basically touring all

It’s not nonstop, but it’s pretty close. Once we’re on
the road, we have to harness that momentum, especially in the summer.
People have been saving money all year for favorite bands, and the
excitement grows—it’s hard to let them down and not do a summer tour. This
one is particularly extensive. We’re opening for the Allman Brothers and
Robert Plant [in other cities].

How do you keep from burning out? 

Usually I
sleep till 11:30 or noon—that whole “nocturnals” thing is not a myth. I
take my time to wake up and go slow. I save my energy up for evening, and
then all bets are off—I just go for it.

What are you most excited about with this tour? 

It’s a relief to finally headline [on some dates]. As exciting as
it is to open for people—we know how to compress what we’re capable of
into 35 minutes—the thing that defines us is that every show is different.
Something that’s lacking in so much live music now is they treat their
show like a roller-coaster ride, where you turn the “on” button on and do
the same moves over and over again. As exciting as it is to see once, if
you see it six times you realize you’re getting the same show over and
over. Live music is a conversation between fans and the band, and our job
is to continue that conversation.

Grace Potter and the
Nocturnals. August 15 at Wolf Trap. Tickets ($30 to $40) available at